Tuesday, August 23, 2011

GETTING OFF by Lawrence Block (writing as Jill Emerson)

Block, known for the hard-boiled Matt Scudder books, the comedic Bernie Rhodenbarr books, the adventurous Evan Tanner books, et cetera, et cetera, also wrote erotic novels under various pseudonyms including Jill Emerson. He returns to the persona of Emerson for his latest book, one of Hard Case Crime's most provocative.

I've always admired how easily Block hops from one protagonist's head to another, zeroing in on what will make readers care about each one. Introduced to sex by her father at a young age, Katherine Anne "Kit" Tolliver becomes incredibly proficient yet desensitized to the act. Though she's slept with countless men by age twenty-three, to her mind, only six "got to her". As that number becomes clear to her, she sets out to kill each one and reduce the number to zero.

I think of Getting Off as a revenge fantasy sex thriller. It delivers plenty of all four, sometimes—pardon the pun—more than I could swallow. But part of the point of this type of book is to titillate and shock. Frankly, if Block hadn't made me flinch, I would have been let down.

If this doesn't sound like your kind of book, it probably isn't. If you think you're ready for it, you probably aren't, but you may be ready to give it a try.

No comments: