Personals: Stories from the Sex Wars

R M Burke, Author
R.M. Burke, Borgo (www.wildsidebooks.com), $14.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-4344-1178-5
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Misogyny and explicit sex scenes are the hallmarks of the eight mediocre stories in this collection of erotica. The opening tale, "Kevin's Mom," about a horny high school student who forces himself on a friend's mother, is typical, featuring stick figures rather than real people, and ending with an abrupt revelation that fails to inject psychological depth into the proceedings. "One Too Many" is perhaps the most repulsive of the lot, as a professor narrates his series of sexual assaults on women, including a teenager, that escalate into murder. With its pointless sadism, the story fails to achieve the author's stated aim of rising above "cheap titillation" to say something profound about human darkness and desires. More than half the book is devoted to a short novel, "Cassandra's Plan," which only demonstrates that more Burke isn't necessarily better. (Dec.)
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