by N, contemporary (2007)
Phaze, $2.00, ISBN 1-59426-956-4

N is supposed to be this cool Russian debonair mistress of erotica and Coquette is translated by Nelli Rees, an UK-based jazz singer and translator. All I can say is, wow, these two make themselves come off like cool sophisticated top-secret James Bond type that I'm impressed. It is somewhat anticlimatic, therefore, to discover that the main characters in Coquette have such generic names like Sally Smith and her husband George. I'm expecting names like Natascha Hamushkaya and Donovan Perrineau.

Fortysomething Sally is the wife of the very busy British politician George whose first love is obviously his career. George is not happy when his daughter Laura gets involved with Viktor, an artist with apparently plenty of credibility in the underground scene, because he's a Goth while George is the Minister in charge of the Prime Minister's anti-drugs campaign. What will the tabloids say when they discover Laura's boyfriend?

It turns out that Viktor Lazarev isn't just a Goth type, he's, according to the besotted Laura, the owner of the coolest jazz clubs in town and an upcoming arty-farty film director to boot. I hear one of his films is called Lick My Russian Supremacy Boots, You Lily-Livered Brits. Viktor is also very, very interested in Sally, which should be a no-no given that he's sleeping with Sally's eighteen-year old daughter. When it becomes apparent that Viktor is really bad news for Laura since he's actually a pornographer who treats his women like dirt, Sally feels that she has to find a way to get Viktor to stay away from Laura before he makes Laura star in a pornographic film and worse. Viktor is a truly amoral man, how delicious, and tells Sally upfront that he'll stay away from Laura if he gets Sally in return, not just for sex but for anything that he wants her to do, which could mean anything from playing Viktor's games to performing in his films. Ooh, what will Sally do now?

Coquette is marketed as an erotica but to be honest, I'm not sure if I would call it a work of erotica since there is only one genuine sex scene in this story. It's a very hot one though, and I wish there is more. I don't want to say anything more about Coquette because there is a delightful twist in here that has to be read to be savored, so let just say that this story is more like something out of that old TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents rather than a conventional erotica. If you want non-stop kink and sex, you may appreciate the hedonistic sexual background of the amoral Viktor but the amount of sex in this story probably won't be enough be enough to please readers looking for a smutty good read. But if you are looking for something dark and noirish with some explicit sex, Coquette may fit the bill.

I really enjoy this most amusing and twisted little romp. N, huh? I'll remember that name and keep an eye out for her future books.

Rating: 88

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