Books by Jeff Gelb

Released: Oct. 1, 2005

"Sadly, nothing here goes bump in the night."
Twenty not-very-scary horror stories. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2003

"For the rest, Dick Lochte serves up an atmospheric triple-cross; Loren D. Estleman spins enough plot twists to make you forget, very briefly, about the low-orgasm count; and eight other tales bring the coupling back up to its normal speed for the series: about Mach 3."
A third helping of the stuff that makes the world go round, along with the stuff that brings it to an end, more often with a bang than a whimper. Newcomers to this goal-oriented series of criminal erotica (Flesh and Blood: Dark Desires, 2002, etc.) will be able to stock their fantasy chests with vengeful stewardesses (Rex Miller), a cop taken hostage by a voracious pair of femmes fatale (Thomas S. Roche), the high-stakes search for a missing pair of panties (Gary Phillips), oversexed spies (Michael Collins and Gayle Lynds), the meteoric rises of multitalented starlets (Gary R. Bush, Robert S. Levinson), and of course vice in old New Orleans (O'Neil De Noux, James L. Traylor) and even older New York (Annette and Martin Meyers, in a gorgeously overblown Prohibition-era piece). Equal opportunity is the order of the day, especially in such notable delicacies as sex with dire consequences is made available to fatalistic Big Apple women (John Lutz's doomy romance), neighborly suburban types (Jack Kelly's postlude to Dick and Jane), plus-size dominatrixes (Gary Lovisi's truly creepy idyll), and enterprising senior citizens for whom nursing homes offer just one more obstacle to surmount (Barbara Collins's geriatric noir). Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2001

"The only major disappointment among the 18 otherwise-new stories is Mickey Spillane's quaint reminder of how little it took to make a mystery look risqué back in 1973."
Somebody must sure like sex capped by murder (few crimes here less weighty than homicide), since this sequel to Collins and Gelb's 2001 Flesh & Blood has appeared with all the impatient haste of a john circling a city block. Whether the kiss-and-kill subgenre is on a firmer basis now or this year's contributors are more in tune with it, it's a pleasure to report how much better this volume is than its predecessor. There are still a fair number of tales that get by, like a movie trailer, on a steamy promise or a single plot twist, like Richard S. Meyers's report from the soft-core industry, co-editor Gelb's account of erotic writer's block, or Matthew V. Clemens and co-editor Collins's jokey dissection of a Lolita complex; Bill Pronzini's peeping Tom doesn't even merit a single twist. But some of the one-trick ponies—O'Neil De Noux's titillating comeuppance for a mob holdout, Jon L. Breen's audition for a role in a nonexistent sex film, and Paul Bishop's TV-drama triangle—are models of their kind; a few enterprising entrants like Marthayn Pelegrimas and Alan Ormsby offer more full-blooded plots without stinting the slap and tickle; and the best of the bunch, John Lutz's sad prostitute who finds true love and Jeremiah Healy's serial killer who likes to play with his female victims, would do credit to any collection. Read full book review >
FLESH & BLOOD by Max Allan Collins
Released: April 1, 2001

"Memo to next volume's contributors: Lust makes a great appetizer between the covers, but a more satisfying entrée between the sheets."
The concept must have seemed irresistible: Instead of using cats on vacation or Sherlock Holmes's Christmas to hang a collection of mysteries on, why not use something people are actually interested in reading about, like sweaty sex? And the 19 mostly-new contributions (Donald E. Westlake's "classic" fable of dream and delusion hails from 1978, Ed Gorman's tale of arson for love was published in Such a Good Girl two months ago) certainly do their best to raise the temperature. But except for sex-and-violence specialists like Vicki Hendricks, whose James M. Cain-flavored tale of marital bliss is more of her usual, the obligatory sex scenes soak up so much room that the plots are starved. The R- to NC17-rated entries by Thomas S. Roche, Michael Garrett, Robert J. Randisi, and co-editor Gelb pile on the flesh and blood but horde twists and surprises like a bunch of misers; Annette Meyers and Wendi Lee are more impressive in showing a new range of voices than in telling memorable stories; co-editor Collins confirms his Mickey Spillane credentials without putting them to much use; even usually reliable Lawrence Block seems muffled and hamstrung. The most successful stories are the frank mood pieces by Terrill Lankford and Loren D. Estleman, the conscientious capers by Dick Lochte and Edward D. Hoch, and Joe Gores's moody tale of revenge tinged, but not overwhelmed, with sex.Read full book review >