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Kicking off Cumberland's Seven Deadly Sins series is Speaking of Lust: Stories of Forbidden Desire, edited by Lawrence Block (Hit Man), with 19 racy and bone-chilling stories. Joyce Carol Oates imagines a conversation between a man accused of rape and his public defender. Block presents a novella in which four professionals in the off-hours share stories of lust gone awry. Ed Gorman and Clive Barker also contribute.
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This first in a series of short-fiction collections based onthe seven deadly sins brings together 18 titillating tales (includingeditor Block's title novella) that are outrageous, explicit, gory, andjust plain fun. The first tale, "Crack," by James W. Hall, about oneman's destructive obsession with a teenage neighbor, sets the tone forthose that follow. Such well-known authors as James Crumley, JoyceCarole Oates, Joan Hess, and Clive Barker are among the contributors,and the wide range of styles brings a fascinating variety to acollection that, given the common theme, might otherwise have sufferedfrom repetitiveness. In bringing together everyday men and women whoencounter lust in extraordinary circumstances, the authors mix realismand mystery with eroticism in a beguiling manner that suggestssoft-porn episodes of The Twilight Zone. All but the mostsheltered readers will waiting eagerly to sample the other sixsins. Mary Frances Wilkens
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