Crisp, energetic scenes of sex, comedy, and suspense set apart this proudly randy title, which navigates a tricky, shifting tone between liberated erotica and pained disgust at sexual exploitation, especially as Jenson reveals the abuse that men have inflicted on Deliah, Paul, and other characters. Eventually, inspired by that abuse and by Deliah’s own ahead-of-the-game scheming, Paul helps launch a crusade to round up and punish a circle of rapists. The lovemaking, after that by-design disappointing first encounter, tends toward the inventive and lightly comic, especially as Paul discovers new approaches and abandon with professional submissive Alex.
Jensen’s scene craft and voice at times suggests a hip, sharp-elbowed how-we-live-now comedy in the vein of old Vintage Contemporaries paperbacks (a pricey new car is described as the “ultimate mashup of ostentation, viciousness, and absurdity”), but with a twisting mystery/vengeance plot and regular eruptions of explicit content. Much is made of the hero’s inability, before her disappearance, to satisfy Deliah or even to recognize that she’s not satisfied, a tendency he comes to regret. The mix of elements, here, will not be palatable to all audiences, of course, and the world of this fast-paced novel isn’t always convincing, but Jensen writes it with sincerity, wit, and the understanding that being provocative mean more than just including lots of sex.
Takeaway: This snappy, explicit erotic thriller builds to a psychedelic conspiracy to take down predatorial men.
Great for fans of: New Erotica for Feminists: Satirical Fantasies of Love, Lust, and Equal Pay, Chuck Palahniuk’s Beautiful You.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-