cover image FLESH AND BLOOD: Guilty as Sin

FLESH AND BLOOD: Guilty as Sin

, . . Mysterious, $13.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-446-69039-3

This all-original anthology of 23 rather explicit erotic tales, the third in the series (after 2002's Flesh and Blood: Dark Desires), is designed, its editors say, "to shock, titillate, and thrill," but meets those goals only occasionally. With a lineup anchored by such veterans as Loren Estleman and John Lutz, readers are guaranteed some entertaining stories. Dick Lochte's leadoff tale, "Low Tide," is a solid hit about a bank robbery with some unusual aftereffects. A number of couples are represented, either writing as a team or with separate contributions. Barbara Collins has a sly story about life, death and sex in an assisted-living home ("Dalliance at Sunnydale"), while husband Max partners with Matthew V. Clemens for a sexy spoof of a retired James Bond–type agent ("Lie Beside Me"). Michael Collins (aka Dennis Lynds) teams with wife Gayle Lynds for a spy vs. spy story, in which sex seems to be the weapon of choice ("A Delicate Mission"). And Annette and Martin Meyers, who sometimes write together as Maan Meyers, get together for a tale of New York's bad old days of Polly Adler, Legs Diamond and Jimmy Walker ("The Daffodil"). Deborah Morgan's exceptional "The Windsor Ballet" features a bride-to-be who gets much more than she bargained for after visiting a male strip joint with her co-workers, while Lutz's "Nighthawks," about a deadly misunderstanding, concludes the book on a strong note. (Apr. 1)