I got an e-mail from my younger sister last night. Something along the lines of "Glad it was good. I like my erotica with an actual plot, can't wait to read it." Yes, being the good older sister that I am (I'm more subversive when it comes to corrupting youth), I'm sending All U Can Eat by Emma Holly to her. Yes, I am an excellent sister.
Whenever I give a talk or do a presentation on romance and her "sister" genres I always mention erotica. Mostly because most librarians are terribly clueless about it. I mention to them that if they want to take a walk on the wild side they should try Emma Holly. In my esteemed opinion, if Emma Holly doesn't work for you, chances are erotica as a whole ain't going to work for you. I'm just saying.
With her last several books Holly has really been dipping her toes in more mainstream waters, and All U Can Eat is the pinnacle. She's got it down to a science now. I'm thinking world domination in next.
Frankie Smith runs a diner in a small Southern California beach community. She's young, she's sexy - and her clueless male model boyfriend just dumped her for another woman! That's OK though - there are plenty of men in town who would love to console our girl in her hour of need. But when a dead body of a wealthy socialite is found in the back alley behind Frankie's diner, she finds herself in the hot seat - with Chief of Police Jack West trying to decide if he should arrest her or tie her up in bed. Ooh La La
So there's the plot, and Holly does an admirable job with it. I figured out the mystery, but I hadn't quite worked through the motive until all was revealed - so it hums along at a good pace.
Oh right, you're reading this post for the sex. Forgot myself there for a minute. The sex here is vintage Holly, hot stuff, erotic and adventurous. Lest readers forget that we're talking erotica here - our girl has sex with like 4.5 guys (the .5 is for a threesome, and technically that guy's attention is not focussed on the heroine if you get my drift). But don't be confused - Jack West is our hero and the reader does get a happily-ever-after. I would have liked a bit more focus on this developing romance - but it does work well despite that, so it's more like a minor quibble.
My final grade? An A-. Really, Holly just keeps getting better. Lord I hope she never abandons erotica outright. I think it might kill me.
Sidenote: I like the cover. Let's call it Retro Sleaze.