Flesh & Blood: Erotic Tales of Crime and Passion

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9780446677776: Flesh & Blood: Erotic Tales of Crime and Passion

Sex and violence. They go together like greed and blackmail, and jealousy and murder. Now acclaimed masters and rising stars of today's crime and mystery fiction offer erotic tales, luring you into the seductively dangerous realm of flesh and blood.

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Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CRIME IN THE FLESH

An Introduction by Max Allan Collins

My co-editor Jeff Gelb and I would like to welcome you to the first volume of an exciting new anthology series from Mysterious Press-Flesh and Blood, tales of erotic noir.

Jeff is co-creator of the bestselling, long-running erotic horror anthology series Hot Blood, which took two of life's biggest mysteries-sex and death-and mixed them into a potent cocktail of erotic horror fiction. I was a frequent contributor to that series and, when Hot Blood finally came to a close, expressed to Jeff that the next logical step was a new series that shifted to noir. I proposed that we invite the top names in mystery fiction to let their hair down with an erotic crime story.

At the heart of Flesh and Blood's darkness is the reputation for sex and violence that American crime and mystery fiction has deservedly earned, ever since Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler wrested the genre out of the manicured fingers of the Philo Vances and Miss Marples and into the two fists of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, and their descendants. Hammett and Chandler and their pulp-fiction contemporaries redefined the all-American detective story as one of hard-bitten males and dangerous females- hot passion and cold blood.

Not that the protagonists of noir fiction are always the detectives: Sometimes they are the perpetrators, and steamy stories of adulterous lust and criminal greed-descending from James M. Cain and the scheming murderous lovers of his Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity-have become the American equivalent of opera.

Mining those two parallel veins of crime fiction, each volume of Flesh and Blood will present new stories... with one exception, a sort of "classic crime corner," where we select a previously published tale from one of the giants of the genre. (In this volume, one of my mentors, Donald E. Westlake, fills that honored position.) We have made an effort to invite long-established authors as well as the more current crop, and to seek out up-and-coming writers, as well-three generations of crime, men and women who write today's mysteryfiction, and who have leapt at the chance to write this kind of story, without inhibition or fear of censorship.

Since sex and violence are at the heart of the genre's darkness, the Flesh and Blood series strives to present the hardest hitting, emotionally riveting fiction the mystery world has ever seen. The degree of overt sexuality may vary from tale to tale, but these are stories whose carnal content is key to the conflict at hand. Whether the protagonist is a private eye, a cop, a crook, or just some average Joe caught up in the web of fate or his own self-destructive patterns, the stories in Flesh and Blood aim to take noir to the next level.

Copyright (c) 2001 by Max Allan Collins and Jeff Gelb

From Publishers Weekly:

Patterned after the long-running anthology series, Hot Blood, which Gelb cofounded, this collection offers 17 original tales and one "classic" that combine "hot passion and cold blood," as Collins describes it in his introduction. Although the original contributions were invited, the anthology often reads like a classroom assignment, with some stories hitting the mark and others missing badly. Several old pros prove adept at using the theme without losing the tight focus required. Donald Westlake's "The Girl of My Dreams," the collection's classic, is a high point. Edward D. Hoch, a master of the form, sets a mini-mystery in a club for the sexually adventurous in Paris in 1933. Stuart M. Kaminsky's tale has a hook so clever it will elicit grins and groans. Loren Estleman has no trouble acing the assignment with his story, "Evil Grows." Lawrence Block, another master of the short story, unfortunately isn't up to his usual form. Other authors include Gelb, Michael Garrett, Ed Gorman, Vicki Hendricks, Terrill Lankford, Wendi Lee, Dick Lochte, Annette Meyers, Gary Phillips, Robert J. Randisi and Thomas S. Roche. Despite some good efforts, too many of the stories offer plenty of sex or violence or both but seem forced and artificial as they wrestle with theme and form. With some highly recognizable names as well as potential crossover from Hot Blood fans, however, this anthology should prove once again that sex and violence sell.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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