cover image Intrusion


Charlotte Stein. Avon Red Impulse, $2.99 ISBN 978-0-06-236508-8

An unexpectedly effective vulnerability simmers in the heart of Stein’s novella of salvation through submission. The spookily not-cute meeting of unlikely protagonists Beth and Noah is loaded with sharp edges and taut emotions, and it becomes an unusual and effective launching point from which to navigate the emotional side of sexual communication. With suspense and even horror lurking at the edges, the amped-up anticipation is both organic and beguilingly arousing. Stein gives Beth a clever wit that helps to mitigate the undercurrents of physical and psychological trauma, and reclusive Noah’s bluntness is both entertaining and endearing. The sex, when it arrives, does so in a torrent—and with a twist. Unable to physically express his desire, Noah talks about it while Beth enacts it. Her response to his words leads to the giddily disorienting passion that only a vivid imagination can provide, and a cathartic release from his self-imposed isolation. By seizing on the power of erotic language and allowing it to range from rhapsodic to raunchy, Stein (Beyond Repair) has written a radiant ode to the mind—the biggest erogenous zone of all. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Nov.)