"Lust" Book Review
Written by Douglas Vance Castagna
2012, 118 pages, Fiction
Released on September 28th, 2012
Succubi might not be as popular as vampires or zombies, but these sexy female demons have nonetheless suffered from all kinds of usage in the horror genre. It's been enough to make me cringe when a book description includes them. Thankfully, Douglas Vance Castagna's Lust steps away from what's been done and is a wild, gory ride with echoes of things as diverse as actress Angie Everheart and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.
In Lust, artist Kevin Morano creates a painting of a beautiful woman. The piece is unveiled at an art exhibit and creates quite a buzz. Instead of happiness and success, Morano finds himself flying out of a window that same night. He survives the fall, but the story he tells the police sounds like the ravings of a madman. According to the artist, the woman in his painting was responsible for his accident. He's also convinced she will come back to finish the job. In fact, he is so convinced of it, he leaves a will giving his friend Adam Kensington the cursed painting and asking him to destroy it. Unluckily for Adam, Morano was not crazy and the woman in the painting is real and out for blood. What follows is a fast-paced, good-versus-evil story that packs as much sex and action as it does gore and tension.
There is a wonderful place where sexy and gory meet, and Castagana seems to be comfortably sitting in the middle of it. The erotic portions of the book are decent if taken alone (how can you dislike a sensuous redhead with blood-red lips?), but what makes them great is the fact that they're always followed by a brutally bloody act. This mixture of titillation and mutilation makes the narrative more interesting and keeps things balanced.
When it comes to the good-versus-evil battle, Castagna again deals with a worn-out theme in a way that makes it fresh. Instead of classic demons and angels, Lust delivers a likeable femme fatale with a sense of humor and a trio of hipsters who look at the world as a somewhat alien place.
Ultimately, Lust works because it combines sex, death, mystery, and gruesome acts of violence in a very reduced space. Since the author had a lot to tell in a little over 100 pages, there's no superfluous writing anywhere and the narrative moves along at breakneck speed.
If the thought of a beautiful succubus ripping a man's testicles appeals to you, and if you're reading this review it probably does, then check out Lust today.
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