Amber Quill Press, $5.99, ISBN 978-1-60272-309-2
Fantasy Erotica, 2008
I didn’t realize just how many titles from this publisher that I’ve bought and stashed away in my hard drive, until now when I decide to explore the depths of the device to at least read some of the things stored in there before the device meets its demise one of these days. Maybe this is a case of not realizing how good something is until it is gone, but so far what I have seen is pretty intriguing.
Of course, intriguing and incredible are not the same, especially not when it comes to Lee Avalone’s Light My Fire.
Lieutenant Craig Faulk is a member of the Chicago Department of Demon Control—the enforcement agency against demons that are increasingly preying on humans in this world. He dresses like a cowboy, and struts like he knows he has the biggest fully-loaded pistol in town. When this story opens, he encounters an oddity: a victim of a demon attack that is still alive, albeit barely. Steven is badly injured and his pee-pee is almost dismembered. Still, there is some kind of emotional connection that occurs between these two men while Craig is standing there looking at Steven’s injured figure, and you know how it is. Once the mind connects, it won’t be long before the bodies connect too.
It sure doesn’t take long at all, because these two are going at it before I can even blink and wonder whether it’s even healthy for Steven to be pushing his body like that so soon after his vicious trauma. Won’t that thing fall off, or won’t he accidentally tear some tender tendons or something by twisting his legs like that? Then again, that’s something this story suffers a lot from: the “things just happen—like that!” syndrome. The characters fall in love, like that—just imagine the author snapping some fingers here. Steven is suddenly the key to the destruction of the demons—just like that. He is a demon hunter now, just like that. The how’s and the why’s seem to be given a backseat compared to making sure that the sex scenes are far more detailed than everything else about the story.
The thing is, this isn’t a long story. Hence, the author should have made this story either pure erotica or pure urban fantasy. Given the length of this story, everything needs to super tight. Instead, the author wastes time setting the stage for an intriguing urban fantasy premise, only to leave things underdeveloped because the sexy scenes eventually become the main priority. While there can never be too many sexy scenes in this world, those here are pretty much wasted because the space spent on setting up the urban fantasy elements could have been used instead to set up the chemistry between the two men, have them sizzle and simmer a bit before ripping off their clothes to get down to business.
What Light My Fire ends up being, at the end of the day, is a bizarre splicing of an urban fantasy story and the porn parody of that story. Take some pages from the former, shove in some pages from the latter here and there, and voila! The result is a Frankenstein’s monster of an urban fantasy and demon porn that are both underdeveloped and hence unlikely to please fans of either type of stories. Seriously, the author should have picked a lane and stuck with it.