To be effective, the act of literary intercourse between horror and erotica should be deeply unsettling. It should leave the reader feeling excited by uncomfortable, overwhelmed by equal parts dread and anticipation.
If you’ve ever read any of his work (and shame on you, if you haven’t) you know M. Christian understands this better than most. With his latest, he has woven a tale that permits the reader but a finger’s breadth of space between fear and arousal. His deft control of the story makes us feel the blade of the assailant, but it’s his subtle manipulation of our emotions that makes us desire the cut of the victim.
The story starts out with simple, if deliciously perverse, premise. A mysterious figure is haunting the underground community of San Francisco, abducting young gay men and cutting off the tip of their little finger. That’s it. No other torture or mutilation, just that missing tip of a finger. With his ounce of flesh taken, they’re free to go.
As creepy and unsettling as the abductions are, it’s what comes after that comprises the bulk of the story. Suffice to say, things get weird, for both the abductees and the community at large, as the story develops in directions that you can’t begin to imagine. It’s a testament to M. Christian’s writing skill that we never question what happens, no matter how weird it gets. Instead, we’re encouraged to embrace the guiltiest of pleasures by indulging in the tale, until we’re so deeply involved that we can’t pull away from the final horrors ahead - and then are left delighted, and deliciously spent.
I had a chance to give this an early read (I’m actually quoted on the publisher’s website, which is very exciting!), and only a desire to take a break and collect my thoughts prevented me from reading it in one sitting. If you’re at all intrigued, then I urge you to give it a read – you won’t be disappointed.