Overall Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Those who dare to scratch the surface of ordinary, everyday life may be horrified to find a sick underbelly beneath—a nightmare world populated by villains and victims, predators and prey, where the rules of society no longer apply.
Where you’ll find people like Danny, the boy who sells himself to pay for his father’s gambling debts and ends up in a situation more twisted than he ever imagined. Or Troy, the cop whose obsession with saving a brutalized human trafficking victim turns deadly. Or Drew, the mental patient who begins to suspect his nightly delusions of abuse by his doctor are actually real. Or David, the cuckolded husband who decides the best way to get revenge is to seduce his wife’s barely legal son.
Stealing Innocents is an exploration of our darkest human impulses, where sex is power, love is horror, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending.
Holy crap! I mean, seriously folks… this anthology is well-written, compelling, and it will mess with your head. Seriously. Are you ready for that? Cuz if non-con and rape bother you, if you’re squeamish and or if horror keeps you up at night, then I’d say this may not be an anthology for you. It will push your buttons for sure. This is some sick and twisted stuff we have here… at times it made me feel dirty/wrong just reading it. It also also make me think and question. There are twists I didn’t see coming, nuances I didn’t fully experience until I sat back and thought about what I’d just read. And there’s stuff I can’t get out of my head, can’t un-read but maybe partly wish I could.
Gamble Everything – 4 stars
Eighteen year old Danny sells himself to Peter Archer to repay his father’s gambling debts.
I’d read the original version of this as a compilation and had rated it originally as 4 stars. Reading it in this anthology, it did seem to read more smoothly and feel more fully realized, but that could also be just because it was my second reading. This one has kink galore: sounding, fisting, plugging, cock cage, orgasm denial, caning, spanking, enemas, multiple partners, toys, bondage, humiliation, daddy-kink, and more. If you enjoy reading some kink, this book should totally rock your boat. However, it was the twist at the end that made it what it was for me. Damn, Archer is a master manipulator. And is there romance… well, read it and decide.
First and Only – 3 stars
David is pretty sure his wife of less than twelve months is cheating on him and since he’s had the hots for her barely legal son since he first saw him, he decides the best way to get revenge is to him. However, he didn’t bargain for having real feelings for the youth. This one did have love… of a sort. I read it waiting for the twist I sensed would come, but didn’t see what ended up happening coming. Again, this one wasn’t erotic to me, but it definitely drew me in and made me eager to see where it would go. It left me with a ton of unanswered questions floating around in my head though, and also given how it ended, it seemed a bit strange that it was written from David’s past tense POV.
Crazy – 3.75 stars
Drew’s not crazy. The dreams he has at night of his doctor restraining and dominating him can’t be true. Just because he’s a patient in a mental health facility doesn’t mean he’s crazy. Right?
Is it real or is it not? A twisted, intensely harrowing little story that could fly either way, I guess, from how it’s written. But I took it as being real, which left me wondering how in heck his parents could take the doctor’s word over his when he’d went into the facility for mere depression and is now diagnosed with… well, deemed as crazy. Probably once again my issue with trust (i.e. his parents not trusting that he is telling them the truth.) It’s definitely well-written, and it made me feel—revulsion, disgust, anger, even betrayal. So while my initial impulse was to rate it three, that got outvoted (see story reference) as I thought on it. It reminded me a bit of how I felt when I watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I’d classify this little story firmly in the category of horror rather than BDSM or erotica and for the most part, I do enjoy horror stories. Except…
Falling Angels – Cannot Even Rate
Arkady is a legend. Arkady is an angel. Arkady is a slave.
Troy is a voyeur. Troy is a rescuer. Troy may be a monster.
Sex trafficking of young boys… non-con, torture, mutilation. An innocent in the hands of first a sex trafficker which is awful, right? Well, it pales when you go further into the story and meet a monster. This gives new meaning to the idea that things could always be worse. And Troy… the obsessed police officer, the one man would could have possibly have saved him but couldn’t even save himself.
Make no mistake here: this story is very dark with no redemption or love. For me, this is more horror than erotica. I read it with hope, but there was no hope. I finished and just sat stunned speechless. If the point was to horrify, it did that. In spades. Move over Stephen King, Clive Barker and the other masters of horror. Cuz this one freaked me he heck out. Left me feeling disturbing and hopeless, drained and dirty, and overall not really knowing how to rate it.
How do you rate a nightmare? As a horror story, yep… completely horrified so I guess that would be a five. But giving it a five seems to say that I enjoyed it and that it’s a favorite. Can I say that? Hell, no. So I chose not to rate this one at all.
This cover by L.C. Chase is dark, the model is hot and the pose is just incredibly sexy to me. Very nice.
Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon
book, 264 pages
Published January 9th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleStealing Innocents
ISBN 1626493782 (ISBN13: 9781626493780)