Category Archives: erotica

“Buy Guys” by RP Andrews— Working the Sex Trade

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Andrews, RP. “Buy Guys”, Wilde City Press, 2015.

Working the Sex Trade

Amos Lassen

Pete is a good-looking young gay man who is convinced by Blaze, his roommate to leave New Jersey and go to Fort Lauderdale with him. Blaze is anxious to get to a place with lost of sunshine and lots of gay sex. They decide to work as male prostitutes on the escort site, Buy Guys. At first, all goes well for them until Pete realizes that he has fallen in love with Blaze and this leads both of them into a dangerous world that can destroy what they have and them. I hesitate to call this a love story even though the two main characters do love with other. There is a lot of sex here as well as drugs and we enter the world of Pete and Blaze, a world of meaningless sex and murder. I naturally assumed by the title that the story would be about two guys in the sex trade but I had no idea that this would also become a kind of mystery.

The sex scenes are quite graphic and certainly not for everyone but if this is what you like to read, it is there in abundance. Blaze and Pete use sex and a way to bolster their finances and get out of debt. More importantly, they try to deal with their pasts and it is with this theme that they find themselves involved in kidnapping, murder and drug use.

The book is well written but it deals with topics that I usually do not read about and things do not all come together at the end to give us a happy ending. But then, this is a look at a world that most of us are not a part of nor do we want to be. Nonetheless, there are lessons to be learned here. RP Andrews gives us two characters that represent what can happen when the wrong choices are made and he does so in a way that they hold a fascination for us.

“Love”— Invitation

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“Love”

Invitation

Amos Lassen

“Love” is a celebration of heterosexuality with a few adventures thrown in to keep things interesting. We have a threesome, a bit of S&M and a rather pointless interlude with a trans hooker. Take the sex away (which you cannot do) then this is a story of a young man’s self-imposed self-loathing because, his penis rules him. He makes a series of bad choices and silly decisions.

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“Love” is about love and sex and how both sexes interpret, compare and practice them. We learn that infidelity is not infidelity when both partners are present. Director Gaspar Noe has opened the door on sex that some will label immediately as porn. But this is a step above porn in that the sex is handled with style and sensitivity. “Love” is a love story with great passion, lots of sex and addiction. We also hear director Noe’s philosophies on life and love and he shares that love is clearly the meaning behind many of life’s prospects.

Electra (Aomi Muyock) replies to Murphy’s (Karl Glusman) question, “what is the meaning of life?” with the simple answer, “love”. The film is a treatise of love and perhaps a nostalgic love that not all of us are familiar with. Here we see an attribute that makes love the complex sensation that it seeks to be. Love is the foundation of our desires and heartaches as emotional human beings; no one learns these lessons harder than the character of Murphy.

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It is hard to watch this film without feeling something. We see magical moments of first love and the first night with a new partner are overwhelmed by the futilities of life’s needs and complications. The expression is bountiful and sticks with us.

Murphy is an American living in Paris who enters a highly sexually and emotionally charged relationship with the unstable Electra. Unaware of the effect it will have on their relationship, they invite their pretty neighbor into their bed. I have no doubt that there will be those who will criticize the film because of the sexual content. However, it is so much more than just sex. We see its importance and that it is natural in any loving relationship. Noé indulges in the fantasies of a young couple, in what is an honest attempt at the intricacies of the sexual relationship within the hunger of love. These scenes can be explicit on the eye, but they are without doubt thoughtfully and breathtakingly crafted sex scenes.

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Murphy himself is an aspiring film director and has his own philosophy on the medium that he wishes to share with Electra. He wants to now why no one has made a film of partners in love having explicit sex. Of course, there is irony here especially when we see Murphy’s own desires through Murphy himself. He also believes that blood, sperm and tears formulate the essence of life and can’t understand why movies don’t reflect this. These aspects of the human being certainly stand true to many manifestations, notably the tears that come with one’s outward suffering, the sperm with an essential private pleasure, and the blood as the component fuelling the interior toxins of life. We see an explosion of such fluids in the film.

When a film has such a strong vision and an abundance of things to say, it is difficult to review. The sex we see is not gratuitous. It is justified in a story that focuses on the trials of young love. “Love” was filmed in 3D because it is designed as a completely immersive experience. In the opening scene, Murphy wakes up and announces that “I wish I didn’t exist right now.” His ex-girlfriend and love of his life, Electra has gone missing, and the news knocks him into a state of complete unrest that aligns perfectly with the film’s artful style. We get a suggestion of the perverse. , Electra and Murphy, as well as Omi (Klara Kristin), the woman he lives with at the start of the film and his child’s mother, are constrained by Noé’s predetermined vision of the way that people talk, fight, and have sex, only here the talk is stupid, the fighting violent, and the sex unsimulated. It seems that the film is trying to represent on screen Noe’s nostalgia for the lack of inhibitions when there are few cares aside from sex.

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It is easy to discuss the film just through the lens of the movie’s sex. There’s a lot of it, and it’s explicit, with unsimulated sex scenes making up a significant portion of the film’s two hour running time. However, to only discuss the sex would mean ignoring the aims of the film that love is really just a act of provocation. What little narrative there is tells the story of the love triangle between Murphy, Electra and Omi and Murphy’s determination to find Electra after her mother (Isabelle Nicou) informs him of her disappearance. As a result of the news, he begins reflecting on their relationship, and the film becomes a non-linear exploration of the romance between the two.

Murphy and Electra’s relationship is interrupted through the inclusion of Omi who joins their life via a threesome. Soon after, Electra leaves town, and Murphy uses her absence as an opportunity to sleep with Omi without Electra’s interference. In the midst of their affair, a condom breaks, and Omi gets pregnant. The roles reverse, and he ends up in a relationship with her, with Electra as the subject of his adulterous desire.

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What the three-way demonstrates, as does much of the film, is just how much of a narrative one can tell through sex. Noé uses his sex scenes to delve into the relationships between characters. There are clear narrative implications when, for example, Murphy decides to pleasure Omi rather than Electra, and the scenes wouldn’t be able to convey the same meanings without this explicitness  Rather than merely featuring the scenes for the sake of depicting graphic sex, Noé uses the graphicness to get into a level of detail about the relationships between his characters most films are unable approach. Using these very details, Noe creates a somewhat disturbing look at gender relations.

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Noé then combines these details within the wider structure of the film to create a disturbing and powerful portrait of gender relations. We see many variations of sex and the differences are used to give us an intimate look at the arc of a relationship. What this does is make the film a story told through sex. As a result, “Love” becomes an all too rare thing in cinema: a story told through sex. Noé treats sex with the importance and reverence it deserves. Too many filmmakers simply gloss over it through elision and this deprives us of learning about the nature of a relationship. The use of 3D punctuates the action and allows for a powerful connection between film and viewer. This connection is only possible through explicit sex like we have here.

“CRUEL”— A Murderer’s Mind

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“CRUEL”

A Murderer’s Mind

Amos Lassen

Pierre Tardieu (Jean-Jacques Lelté), a day laborer, lives with his sick father. He reminisces about his childhood and his mother but he cannot free himself from thoughts of her. The only way that he is able to understand and realize his existence is by murdering strangers. Then he meets a pianist named Laure (Magali Moreau) in a bookstore and falls in love with her.

Pierre is a very quiet person and the only way he can escape his lonely existence is by thinking about the past and his childhood and by murdering strangers. What one has to do with the other is for you to decide. When Pierre meets Laure, his murderous inclinations subside, but not for long. There is tension between his tender, burgeoning romance and his homicidal urges and these drive Pierre to the brink.

We see Pierre as a child in home movies and we hear a voiceover that relates his dreams— where he wants to go, what he wants to be, how he wants to marry his mother — but the man recalling these images seems to have achieved none of the goals of his youth. Instead, he works menial jobs and lives at home with a father who suffers from severe Alzheimer’s. He’s broke, he’s lonely and he only knows one outlet for his cycle of depression; abducting, toying with and ultimately killing carefully selected victims. When he meets Laure he discovers the urge to kill may no longer be a problem. But the promise of a new future for himself is no guarantee that the past let him go so easily.

Writer/director Eric Cherrière, a celebrated crime novelist, brings us in his directorial debut a depiction of a sociopath whose only outlet is murder. Genre elements come into play as the police enter the picture, but the majority of the film is focused on Pierre’s thoughts and behaviors.

Pierre’s madness is methodical. He researches his subjects carefully before kidnapping them and keeps a detailed journal of his time with them. When it comes time for them to die he spends one final meal with them before pulling the trigger, slicing their throat or bashing their head in. The only person he confides in is his father because he knows the man is unable to betray him in his current state, but the isolation and lack of attention that seem to be necessities for a serial killer in some ways actually cause his downfall.

This is more of a dark drama than a thriller, but the look, feel and performances make for an engaging and frequently suspenseful watch. It’s intentionally paced and focused on Pierre’s sad obsession with a time he spent with his mother that exists only in his head. Viewers are never abandoned in the man’s bleak psyche. Scenes of Pierre at work or hanging out with Laure offer a respite aided immensely by a playful musical score.

We see Pierre’s journey in and out of his own personal hell—planning and doing horrific acts — although the film prefers to avoid graphic depictions and we also see him clearly relaxed and in love when he’s with Laure. Lelté makes Pierre a convincing killer, but he never crosses into the realm of creepy. This actually makes for a more effective performance as he balances the “normal” and the unsettling with frightening ease. Early scenes of him and his victims highlight a severely scary lack of emotion, and they contrast beautifully with the actions of a man who finally finds love. He may not fully understand the feeling, but it changes him.

This is not a cruel film as the title might lead us to suspect. It is actually about the cruelty we find in ourselves. We realize by watching Pierre that his actions are certainly more damning and damaging than our own but it is revealed that all of us are capable of inflicting pain.

We see Pierre as an almost-banal serial killer and certainly not the kind that movies are made about. The fact that he is simultaneously unremarkable and monstrous is fascinating to writers and filmmakers, even if it often only appeals to a relatively specialized audience. “Cruel” is admirable and intriguing, although the story can be a rough one to swallow.

Lelté plays Pierre as a sort of everyman with just the tiniest bit of exaggeration around the edges in most cases, although his detached and asocial nature is noticeable. Sometimes it just comes off as being bored, though and this is very noticeable in contrast to the sense of humor that starts to emerge when the police finally start to suspect him of a crime. He also has a nice chemistry with Magali Moreau, who makes Laure seem a little more tentative than she actually is.

The best performance in the film, though, may be Maurice Poli as Pierre’s paralyzed father, a man whose life is already so twisted by pain and helplessness that the torment that comes from being in the care of a serial-killer son must be too much to bear, but he has no choice in the matter. He can’t speak, he can barely move, he’s trapped just as completely as the people Pierre kidnaps and locks in the hidden basement, the same basement that Pierre’s grandfather used to hide Jews during the war. In this, Pierre perverts his family’s legacy.

There are several riveting moments when Pierre spends time with his victims like something social and that is a difficult intensity to match. Cherrière builds a decent story of a serial killer who is successful because he takes great care to be invisible, but does not initially seem to put a hook in to really make it singular.

“Skin Effect: By the Award Finalist Author: More Science Fiction Erotica” by M. Christian— Original and Fresh Erotica

skin effect

Christian, M. “Skin Effect: By the Award Finalist Author: More Science Fiction Erotica”, ADS, 2015.

Original and Fresh Erotica

Amos Lassen

Christian is one of the freshest and most original erotica writer these days. I have been reviewing him for about eight years now and every time he sends me something new, it is a surprise. “Skin Effect” is the sequel to “The Bachelor Machine” that I reviewed some time ago and that that really showed the skills of the author. I asked myself then whether he would ever be able to top that and he has. ”Skin Effect” is a new collection of short stories that both stun the reader and arouse his/her libido. Christian breaks the rules here—his erotica is innovative and totally original. He goes beyond bondage and sado-masochism, he continues past fetish kind and arrives at a new spot and possibly a new genre in erotic literature. He writes of the here and now and of the future as he explores the nth degree of sex and arousal. Below are the titles of some of the stories included here:

“[Title Forgotten]”

“Prêt-À-Porter”

“The Subsequent State”

“The Bell House Invitation”

“The Potter’s Wheel”

“Double Toil And Trouble”

“A Kiss Goodnight” and M. Christian gives us an informative and thoughtful afterword.

In this book’s precursor, “The Bachelor Machine” that I reviewed several years ago, we had dark erotic stories of desperate individuals. Now, this new collection is more hopeful and that seems to be because of new technologies that include data that streams constantly, sensors that are worn, the cloud that now called the media-sphere and that allows for every thought and action to be available to everyone. Add to that that a human being is looked upon solely based on the number of people who follow him/here electronically. Quite naturally, what comes out of all this can be different for different people and there has not yet been any evaluation as to whether or not this is good for the people. It seems to me that we are asking the same questions today. Does technology challenge individualism and make our lives open books and if so, it this good for us? Memory here becomes fluid and can be changed or done away with at will. Sex is affected also in that gender indeed becomes fluid and be changed at will.

We have the example in one of the stories that a character buys a piece of clothing that becomes whatever the wearer wants it to be and therefore is suitable for all occasions.

I can certainly see how what is written here can be upsetting but we must never lose sight that what we are reading is fiction and this is not necessarily how things will be (but we said the same thing about Dick Tracy’s watch way back then). I found the stories to be charming but also, without exception, highly erotic even though this is not quite the kind of erotica that we are used to. The writing and the erotica are both raunchy (for lack of a better word) and hallucinatory and the stories arouse us while at the same makes us worry about what the future may bring.

I am not much of an erotica reader except in the cases of M. Christian and a couple of others and that is because I concentrate more on the writing than on the sex. I must say that M. Christian is one of the most inventive writers I have ever read and when we combine with good plots, we become more than satisfied with what he has to say. He manages to take us into the future in exciting, provocative ways yet the does not lose sight of how important sex is in our lives.

“TOBY ROSS VINTAGE COLLECTION”— 10 Toby Ross Theatrical Features From The Golden Age

toby golden

“TOBY ROSS VINTAGE COLLECTION”

10 Toby Ross Theatrical Features From The Golden Age

Amos Lassen

The “Toby Ross Vintage Collection” is a collection of the following ten films that were made in the 1970s and early 80s.

*“Schoolmates”

*“Do Me Evil”

*“Reflections of Youth”

*“Boys of the Slums”

*“The Last Surfer”

*“The Diary”

*“Twins”,

*“White Trash”

*“Golden Years”

*“Cruisin 57”

“THE TOBY ROSS ANTHOLOGY”— Ten Hot Films

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“THE TOBY ROSS ANTHOLOGY”

Ten Hot Films

Amos Lassen

Coming on DVD is Toby Ross’ ten-film anthology. The blurb says that these films are “loaded with hot young dudes – both gay and straight – who have stripped down and acted out for legendary erotica director Toby Ross over the last decade!” There is plenty of nudity here.

The films included are:

*“Get a Life

*“Homosexual”

*“Moon Over Hong Kong”

*“Paper Dreams”

*“Peyton Collins: Serial Rapist”

*“Rock n Roll Dreams”

*“Straight Boys, Gay Boys”

*“Straight Boys, Gay Boys 2”

*“Straight Boys, Gay Boys3”

*“Toby Ross and the 70s”

I understand that this boxed set will only be available for a limited time. All of these films have been reviewed separately at this site.

“THUNDERCRACK!”— The Wait is Over

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“Thundercrack!”

The Wait is Over

Amos Lassen

We have been hearing about the release of the remastered “Thundercrack!” for a long time and come December it can be yours. “Thundercrack!” has been regarded as “the world’s only underground kinky art horror film”. It begins as an atmospheric gothic tale— a dark and stormy night breakdown featuring a creepy old house on the hill and then it turns into an eerie and different movie. The plot is almost impossible to describe aside from saying that it is wonderfully trashy with amazing dialogue.

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In 1975, Curt McDowell and writer/actor George Kuchar created a film not recommended for those with tender sensibilities. It soon became a true cult classic that has shocked, excited and amazed audiences worldwide for 40 years. This DVD presentation is the first ever-official North American video release.

It is what a ‘70s porn flick would look like if it is indeed porn. Shot in black-and-white, it has a weird dreamlike atmosphere and long-winded soliloquies that are mixed with graphic sexual intercourse. You have not seen anything like this before. Using the old horror film cliché of travelers becoming stranded in a mysterious old house, it goes much further and blows the minds of the viewers.

Synapse Films has been working on a fully restored, 180-minute director’s cut for some time and it’s taken forever since (as one of their agents has stated) “this thing looks like it was shot on toilet paper”.

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Now it is being released in time for its’ 40th Anniversary, this is a restored BluRay release with the Bonus Features fans have been dreaming of for years including outtakes and audition footage.

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The story begins during a storm with lots of thunder. We see a house with the name of Prairie Blossom and a visitor named, Willene Cassidy, pays a visit to the house owner, Mrs. Gert Hammond, who is totally drunk. She insists that she make herself presentable before she answers the door and puts on makeup in the worst possible way and then forces herself to vomit so she will seem to be sober. Willene is shocked at the disheveled appearance of Mrs. Hammond and insists on giving her a bath. Willene explains that her husband is a very famous country singer, Simon Cassidy, whose music is heard on the radio during the later scene and is terrible. During the course of the bath, Willene unintentionally masturbates Mrs. Hammond. It is also revealed that Mr. Hammond died and that their son “no longer exists”.

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As the night goes on, more and more visitors appear— Chandler, widower of the incredibly wealthy Sarah Lou Phillips. The House of Phillips owns the largest girdle factory in the United States. Their popularity is such that few American women are without one. Chandler relates the story of his wife’s death. She burned to death at a cocktail party, where there was a freak accident and her girdle caught fire. This caused burning rubber to envelop her head, and finally she fell dead into the swimming pool, her head steaming. This causes Chandler to have a bizarre sexual dysfunction. Although initially attracted to women, they would invariably prove to be owners of House of Phillips girdles. When they took off their clothes before sex, he would be reminded of the death of his wife and would not be able to perform sexually. For this reason he had been having sex with other men, as they don’t wear girdles that would remind him of his wife. Rather strangely, during the telling of this story, Chandler is being orally serviced by Sash and has no apparent erectile problems.

Chandler and Sash, while in the basement, discover that Mrs. Hammond had pickled the remains of her husband and kept them in a jar. She tells of the death of her husband, who had been working one day in the grain bin and got covered with grain dust. Locusts dived on him to eat the dust and in the process devoured much of Mr. Hammond’s body.

During the course of the night, many of the guests have sex with each other in various combinations. Mrs. Hammond explains that her son collected sex toys that would be delivered in plain brown packages that she would take to him with his morning breakfast. One of the guests, a man named Toydy, becomes obsessed with finding the key to a locked door in the house. One of the female guests, Roo, finds the key but will not give it to Toydy unless he agrees to come in her mouth. Despite not finding her attractive, Toydy agrees and manages to stay aroused by watching Bond and Willene have sex.

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The final human guest at Prairie Blossom, Bing, arrives in an agitated state. He had come from the circus in a vehicle containing a toothless lion, a near-blind elephant, and a female gorilla named Medusa. He explains to the group that Medusa is extremely dangerous and is likely to kill anyone she comes across. It is revealed that Bing himself is the cause of the ape’s murderous tendencies. If you can guess where this is going you will be wrong because there is no way to anticipate anything about this film. I have stopped summarizing and tell you that this is one you must see for yourself…if you dare.

“CHASING THE M– USE”— A Film Diary About Porn

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“Chasing the Muse”

A Film Diary About Porn

Amos Lassen

The French filmmaker Jean-François Davy’s documentary is a kind of film diary about porn casting, art and taboos. This is a film that shocks with its direct language and visuals. We hear philosophical thoughts about desire and pleasure and while once this might have been quite shocking it does have the same bite that it once had. We do see a lot of naked women but there is really not much sex that appears on film. This made me wonder why I would want to watch a documentary about sex when I could easily just watch the sex itself somewhere else.

Unfortunately the people we see (including the director) are average. I did find this to be in any way sexually arousing but that is my opinion. Everything seed rather mechanical, cold and certainly not erotic. I really wanted to like this movie but it just did not do it for me. Yet there is another feature on the same DVD by the same director that I found much more enticing even though it was made in 1975.

“Exhibition” is a documentary on the 70’s French porn industry and I learned something right away— there are generally two kinds of porn documentaries–those that actually take an insightful look behind the scenes, and those that are just an excuse to show a lot of nudity and XXX porn footage. This is actually somewhere in between. It’s generously seasoned with porn footage, but there are also a lot of (fully-clothed) interviews, and they even talk to the owners of porn theaters, some typical porn customers as well as a guy who makes promotional billboards for porn movies although he claims never to have seen one. And of course they also talk to porn directors and (usually naked) porn performers. The most interesting are the males who all cheerfully admit to bisexuality and demonstrate how they can “get it up” on camera with or without female help. Like many of their 70’s male counterparts in America, the male actors actually have some talent beyond porn. One Italian actor comes in singing an operetta, sits down for a long, cheerful interview, arouses himself for the camera, calls a female co-star to finish him off and then dances with her!

The females come off less well. Some are neophytes without much to say while others admit they’re only in it for the money. Claudine Beccarie, who was quite famous at the time, comes off very badly as she insults her male co-stars on camera during their (attempted) sex scenes. Soon after this doc was made, she would turn vehemently against the porn industry (but you get the idea it’s only because it didn’t take her where she thought she should have gone). Generally though, both the performers and directors seem much less delusional about their careers than their counterparts in America did during the heady 70’s “porno chic” days.

“xoxo: Sweet and Sexy Romance” edited by Kristina Wright— Lukewarm

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Wright, Kristina (editor). “xoxo: Sweet and Sexy Romance”, Cleis Press, 2015.

Lukewarm 

Amos Lassen

There was a time when I looked forward to reading something from Cleis Press but then the company changed hands and the wonderful Brenda Knight walked in search of greener pastures. It now seems that any press other than Cleis is greener pastures. Someone, the press has managed to hold onto some of its regular author of which Kristina Wright is one but I suspect that she and the other will also be looking for new presses to publish their work. This collection of 38 stories consists of selections from two-to four pages but they are lukewarm as compared to what we used to get from Cleis. Here is what one reviewer had to say about this anthology: “The stories are amazingly cheesy, and there’s very little “sexy” in it. Or rather, it’s what a teenage girl might find sexy”. It really hurts to see one of the presses that has published LGBT literature take a nosedive into mediocrity but we can hope that either this will change or the press will disappear completely.

“Straight Up: A Dan Stagg Novel” by James Lear— Finding the Killers

straight up

Lear, James. “Straight Up: A Dan Stagg Novel”, Cleis Press, 2015.

Finding the Killers

Amos Lassen

I have long been a fan of James Lear and it was with his books that I first used the term “literary erotica”. I am a bit pained and sad to see that he is still publishing with Cleis Press, once of the great publishing houses for LGBT books but that was recently sold to another company that has little or no respect for its reviewers. Perhaps Lear too will look for greener pastures and better representation. Ordinarily I would not review a book printed by Cleis but since I have reviewed all of Lear’s work, I have chosen to defy my own rule and give it a go.

Someone is trying to off the members of an elite special ops team that worked off the radar in Iraq in the ’90s. Dan Stagg has the job of tracking down the survivors; the very same men with whom he stormed an undefended surveillance station, killing everyone inside. Now it is many years later and the team is being targeted in what appears to be a series of unrelated attacks.

Al Benson, an old comrade of Dan’s teams up with him. Al had once been regarded as arising stat in the Marines but now he is married and domesticated with no secrets. However, as they begin their investigation and find secrets from the past, Dan sees that Al is looking for something else besides answers and soon there is uncovered an affair that is so explosive it threatens the future of everyone in any way related to it. Here was the past that Dan thought was indeed the past but it has returned.

For those of you who do not know Rupert Smith is James Lear. He used this name for his erotic writing when he was earning his living from the BBC and thought they might not take kindly to his erotica. However, James Lear has taken on a life of his own. The books keep on selling. He introduced us to Dan Stagg in 2013 and he is back again in this new book.