Disclaimer: This is an extended version of a review that is also to be posted on Amazon. This review is based upon an advanced review copy.
To people of a certain age (Hello thirtieth birthday; no I’m not ready for you yet!) those two words immediately conjure up images of glossy, ultimately unfulfiling, pre-internet late nights of badly scripted badly acted soft porn of the least impressive variety. The very finest the brand new Channel 5 had to offer.
These were films that by and large fell into the Richard Curtiss trap (Romantic comedies that are neither romantic nor funny) of being tediously un-erotic. But there were boobies… occasionally… if you looked hard enough.
But seriously, the ice-cave scene in Logan’s Run had more boobage (Yes I’m re-watching Logan’s Run. No I haven’t got a complex!)
So when I read the blurb for this book that included the words “dark erotic thriller” my heart sank.
And then I started reading.
I’ll admit that, as thrillers go, this isn’t like John Le Carré or Tom Clancy. But what this book really does have in buckets is atmosphere. Lloyd brings a very real sense of place to her writing that comes to the fore in some of the most sensual scenes, really bringing to life the feeling of lying in the woods or sitting inside a cocktail bar whilst the rain forms puddles through an open doorway.
The other thing this book has in spades is eroticism.
many erotic novels fall into a sort of ‘one chapter at a time’ read, where every chapter culminates in a sex scene of some form or other. Not so with Undone. It doesn’t force sex in where it doesn’t fit and the number of couplings is fewer than most of the Nexus books I grew up on. But the sex isn’t limited to the sex scenes. Instead they bleed out into the rest of the narrative like blueberries in a muffin, till even the most disparate paragraphs feel like a long, slow build-up to the next bout of sex.
And the sex is good. Yes it’s kinky, but not in an overly mechanical way. There’s bondage, but it’s all relatively incidental to the psychology and sensation of the piece. Although, that said I’ve never read anything that’s made me quite so eager to go out and buy a hundred pound pair of handcuffs before (although that might be something to add to the birthday list… for the birthday that is not going to happen, I can;t hear you LALALALALALALA!)
So, enough gushing, what about the bad points?
Well it does take a little time to get going. Also, the narrator’s voice, particularly in the early stages, feels a little overly florid. The author’s use of a first person format through journal entries is effective and plays well with the slightly disjointed feel of the narrative although, again, as the book settles into its stride these issues either go away or I simply tuned them out (your mileage may vary).
Lloyd also continues to build on her reputation for slightly ‘problematic’ erotica. There are sequences that fall into an uncomfortable borderline between arousing and chilling and this made me question the narrator’s judgement more than once but, at the end of the day it’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things and, well, it says “dark erotic thriller” on the blurb, so you can’t really complain if it sends a shiver through you every now and then.
Overall this is a solidly paced, well written and very arousing book that works as both erotica and, you know, a book.
Next on the reading list:
- The Perfect Submissive by Kay Jaybee.
- Wrapped Around Your Finger by Alison Tyler.
- Stately Pleasures by Lucy Felthouse.