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Lethal Kisses: 19 Stories of Sex, Horror and Revenge

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Lethal Kisses: nineteen acts of vengeance inspired by slights real and imagined, in the office, at home, in bed.. A collection of truly horrifying tales of revenge from the finest writers of short fiction. Includes eighteen brand new stories commissioned for this collection, plus a classic reprint from Ruth Rendell. Gus gives to his girl the most beautiful gift she has eve Lethal Kisses: nineteen acts of vengeance inspired by slights real and imagined, in the office, at home, in bed.. A collection of truly horrifying tales of revenge from the finest writers of short fiction. Includes eighteen brand new stories commissioned for this collection, plus a classic reprint from Ruth Rendell. Gus gives to his girl the most beautiful gift she has ever been given, but she cannot see its true worth and pays dearly for her mistake. A city wideboy plans yet another coup against the planners and conservationists. But London and her ghosts turn his greed to sacrifice.. A philanderer spends a night with one nameless woman too many and lives to regret it: his last hours are spent having his eyes well and truly opened to the error of his ways.. Lethal Kisses is a companion volume to the World Fantasy Award winning Little Deaths.


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Lethal Kisses: nineteen acts of vengeance inspired by slights real and imagined, in the office, at home, in bed.. A collection of truly horrifying tales of revenge from the finest writers of short fiction. Includes eighteen brand new stories commissioned for this collection, plus a classic reprint from Ruth Rendell. Gus gives to his girl the most beautiful gift she has eve Lethal Kisses: nineteen acts of vengeance inspired by slights real and imagined, in the office, at home, in bed.. A collection of truly horrifying tales of revenge from the finest writers of short fiction. Includes eighteen brand new stories commissioned for this collection, plus a classic reprint from Ruth Rendell. Gus gives to his girl the most beautiful gift she has ever been given, but she cannot see its true worth and pays dearly for her mistake. A city wideboy plans yet another coup against the planners and conservationists. But London and her ghosts turn his greed to sacrifice.. A philanderer spends a night with one nameless woman too many and lives to regret it: his last hours are spent having his eyes well and truly opened to the error of his ways.. Lethal Kisses is a companion volume to the World Fantasy Award winning Little Deaths.

30 review for Lethal Kisses: 19 Stories of Sex, Horror and Revenge

  1. 5 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    ** Warmer - A. R. Morlan Third-rate model is called to the office of a notoriously sleazy record producer. She's understandably nervous about the meeting, but it turns out that his proposal is something different that she expected. I wasn't won over by this story. The dialogue between the two characters didn't feel authentic, and the 'horror' aspect of of the story was all jammed up into the very end, feeling unnecessarily rushed and glossed-over. *** Anamorphosis - Caitlín R. Kiernan Hard-boiled n ** Warmer - A. R. Morlan Third-rate model is called to the office of a notoriously sleazy record producer. She's understandably nervous about the meeting, but it turns out that his proposal is something different that she expected. I wasn't won over by this story. The dialogue between the two characters didn't feel authentic, and the 'horror' aspect of of the story was all jammed up into the very end, feeling unnecessarily rushed and glossed-over. *** Anamorphosis - Caitlín R. Kiernan Hard-boiled noir morphs into something weirder and more strange. Deacon is a psychic, reluctantly helping the police with crime scene investigations. His ambivalence is well-depicted, as he's caught between a sincere desire to help victims, and the horrors and pain the job forces him to confront. Here, the case involves a missing little girl, known to have been abducted by the worst kind of abusers. ** A Grub Street Tale - Thomas Tessier An editor grants an interview to an attractive young woman who is working on a biography of one of his former writers. The author has gained popular acclaim subsequent to his suicide some years ago - unfortunately, the editor fails to agree with the public's opinion. He signed the guy for his early genre books, and didn't think much of the later, more 'pretentious' literary works that are now lauded as unsung genius. Of course, there's a twist at the end. Perhaps I'll sound a bit like the editor, but I'm not finding the 'genius' in this tale - it felt a bit like a writing exercise to me. *** Back in the Dunes - Terry Lamsley An odd bit of synchronicity leads a young man to rent a trailer in an isolated seaside town for a holiday. Recently single, he's got an eye on the hippie chick who's been hanging around. But she seems weirder than your average alternative type - and the vandals who seem to be a problem locally are getting more and more threatening. There are a few good chills in this story, but I didn't find the 'reveal' at the end convincing. **** Leave Me Alone God Damn You - Joyce Carol Oates Oates is a respected writer for a good reason. Here, she gives us a woman who's a college professor, who seems a bit lonely after taking a job in a new city where she knows no one and lives far enough from the center of things that it effectively prohibits getting involves in a social life centered around her work life. It seems, perhaps, understandable that she seeks solace & companionship by inviting strange men back to her place. But as things progress, we realize that the situation is more twisted than it seemed.... **** Butcher's Logic - Roberta Lannes Well, that was really upsetting. A woman tells us a story of growing up in the racist suburbs of 1950s America. At first, the tale seems like it simply deals with what might be considered the normal troubles and travails of childhood, dealing with the imperfection of families, and the tragic difficulties of maintaining a friendship with someone of a different background in a prejudiced society - but as it turns out, it's quite a bit worse than that. Extremely well-structured piece of writing. *** A Lie for A Lie - Pat Cadigan In general, I like Pat Cadigan - but this short piece didn't drag me in; I think mainly because it was too short for everything in it. Cadigan introduces a cyberpunk future which is socially very different from our present - and simultaneously introduces a main character who is unusual even by the standards of her society. Explaining all the details of the technology that these people take for granted and how they use it as well as what they want from it takes up so much time that the plot gets a bit lost. The narrator is a woman who is helped to communicate by a technological accessory, as she is affected by aphasia. She is not-entirely-legally employed as someone who can get "pieces of souls" for a client. This 'soul' thing is a big trend, and seems to be sort of like tech-assisted gene-splicing for personalities. (You, too, can buy a simulated package that will make you more like your favorite celebrity!) The ideas are all great, but the execution just seemed a bit hasty, to me. **** Keeping Alice - Simon Ings Graham Joyce fans take note! Seriously, if I had been told this story was by Graham Joyce, I would've believed it. It's got that same kind of elegiac, almost lyrical portrayal of British life, where the contemporary acquires a certain strange timelessness. As the story opens, a barkeep is emotionally shocked to unexpectedly encounter a woman from his past. Flashing back, we're unsurprised to discover that he and she were a teenage couple. Both from the same rural town, at first they seemed perfect for each other. But as happens with so many couples, as each of the pair matures, they discover that what each wants out of life may be very different. And then... well, what happens here really doesn't happen with many couples. (And thank the heavens for that!) Really well done. Really disturbing. * A Punch in the Doughnut - David J. Schow After he comes out as gay, a man is plagued by a now-former friend who cannot stop a vicious deluge of homophobic vitriol and gossip-slinging. Will he keep letting it go - or will he eventually seek revenge? This story contains quotes attributed to a character which are directly, word-for-word lifted from this source: Maxwell Hutchkinson, The Poisoner’s Handbook, Loompanics Unlimited, Port Townsend, WA, 1988. The material copied from this poorly-researched 'Handbook' is misinformation, taken as fact by this story, as well (It's a key element). For the record (view spoiler)[ingested diamond dust will NOT kill you, although it has been rumored to. http://www.nanomedicine.com/NMIIA/15.... (PS, powdered glass isn't actually a good murder weapon, either). http://www.snopes.com/horrors/poison/...) In addition, even IF swallowing diamond dust would kill you (which it won't) you couldn't administer it by slipping it into coffee. It would just sink to the bottom of the cup immediately. (hide spoiler)] *** Unforgotten - Christopher Fowler The development of a London block is being held up by a group that wants to renovate an historic building, rather than sell it for demolition. But when the developer and his assistant visit the old place, they find a hidden secret - and, for at least one of them - more than they bargained for. ** O, Rare and Most Exquisite - Douglas Clegg An old man in a nursing home tells the young attendant a story of his youth. Many years ago, when he was a gardener having an affair with his employer's wife, he wanted nothing more than to find a beautiful flower for her, that would convince her of his love, and to leave her husband for him. But while perusing florists, he encounters a lovely and enigmatic young woman who sets her sights on him. The way everything goes down eventually destroys any idea that this might be a wistfully romantic story. Overall, this story had a good idea (apparently, it was based on the author's own experiences with nursing home residents who were sometimes not-so-nice people), but the way it (literally) objectifies women on the way to making its point was just a bit weird, and not in a good way. *** Martyr and Pesty - Jonathan Lethem Bit of a gimmicky little short, leading up to a punchline. One member of a well-known comedy duo becomes enraged when he sees his former partner on a TV talk show, giving an interview that is apparently full of lies and character-assassinating insinuations. How will he be able to counter these claims? **** Foreign Bodies - Michael Marshall Smith A guy tells us about how his buddy's 'friends with benefits' arrangement seems to be turning into a relationship. 'Cause you know how women are, right? Always trying to railroad men into commitment. They arrange a double-date, ostensibly because the buddy doesn't want to be stuck alone with her again. But when our narrator meets this woman, something seems odd. Although he can't remember who she might be, she seems more-than-familiar. He's convinced he knows her from somewhere. And then, she starts calling... I wasn't immediately won over by this story, but there are some nice twists, and eventually you realize it's not really quite about what you thought it was going to be about. Effectively creepy. *** Ships - Michael Swanwick and Jack Dann The editorial notes let us know that this piece was written in a bit of an email back-and-forth between the two authors. Unfortunately, the fact that there was no overarching plan or point to the story shows. The writing is good, and I liked the scenario involving damned New England sailors in their own version of Hell. (Moby Dick meets Paradise Lost?) Violent and nasty, but I kind of liked that too. It just felt a bit unfocused. *** The Dreadful Day of Judgment - Ruth Rendell A mismatched and motley crew of cemetery groundskeepers plugs away, not all that assiduously, at ill-defined tasks. But little do they guess that they're headed for a weird tragedy. ***** A Flock of Lawn Flamingos - Pat Murphy Eccentric anthropologist vs. stick-up-the-ass Homeowners' Association chairman... which do YOU think would win? The itinerant scientist, newly arrived from abroad with a collection of oddities and a wealth of fascinating facts, is ready to give this staid development a good shake. My enjoyment of the story was probably enhanced by the fact that I've visited places quite exactly like the one Murphy describes, and I could definitely see aspects of myself in both the anthropologist and her next-door neighbor, a librarian. But objectively, the story is both hilarious and uplifting. Loved it. *** Touch Me Everyplace - Michael Cadnum Alien abductee - or garden-variety lunatic? After getting this glimpse into one disturbed man's psyche, the reader can decide on the answer. ** The Screaming Man - Richard Christian Matheson By the son of THE Richard Matheson ("I Am Legend" &c). I'm not a huge fan of allegory, and that's what this mostly is, regardless of the little Twilight-Zone-esque twist at the end. A man hears voices of pain and agony emanating from inside his body. The experts are stumped. Eventually, he must just learn to carry on, regardless. **** Rare Promise - Mike O'Driscoll [as by M. M. O'Driscoll ] I can't say I *liked* this story. It's a dark and terrible exploration of secrets and abuse, and the long-lasting effects that such can have on victims, leading to further horrors. Tied in to the real-life Irish sex abuse scandals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_C...). It's beautifully - even exquisitely - written, but it's certainly not pleasant. Full disclosure... when I requested this book, I thought it was a new publication (it's not) and I thought it was vampire stories (also not). That's what happens when you just see the name "Ellen Datlow" and stop right there and hit "request." Nevertheless... ! Many thanks to Open Road Media, who has re-released this as an e-book, and NetGalley, for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are solely my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley for a fair and honest review. Upon seeing this book I was under the impression that it would be a collection of horror short stories, but in reality it is a mixed bag of different genres. I think there were only 3 stories that were even remotely entertaining. Maybe I'm not the proper audience intended for this collection. I did find it to be a very tedious read and even skipped certain stories.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    When I saw that Ellen Datlow was the editor of Lethal Kisses, I was excited. I've read many of her anthologies, including Snow White, Blood Red and all the other volumes of that series, the Best Horror of the Year series, and After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia. These were all great reads. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by this collection. Perhaps it was the fact that the included stories were commissioned specifically for the book, or maybe it was too many stories on the same When I saw that Ellen Datlow was the editor of Lethal Kisses, I was excited. I've read many of her anthologies, including Snow White, Blood Red and all the other volumes of that series, the Best Horror of the Year series, and After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia. These were all great reads. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by this collection. Perhaps it was the fact that the included stories were commissioned specifically for the book, or maybe it was too many stories on the same theme, but the book did not hold up to the other works cited above. It's an okay collection, but wasn't up to my expectations.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Drpsychorat

    These were stories written around the theme of revenge. Several were subtle and intuitive, one was so boring I couldn’t finish it, and the rest of the stories I liked. A very interesting collection.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Excellent collection of short stories. Nearly every story was really good. My favorites were by Terry Lamsey, Michael Marshall Smith, and Caitlin R. Kiernan.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    I reviewed this book for NetGalley. The short stories in this anthology all deal with revenge in one form or another. They range from the whimsical ("A Flock of Lawn Flamingos" by Pat Murphy) to gory justice ("Anamorphosis" by Caitlìn R. Kiernan), covering the spectrum of that most obsessive of emotions, revenge. I found the stories to be well-written and entertaining. Though the anthology was published in the 90's, revenge is a timeless topic and is always pertinent. I enjoyed the different style I reviewed this book for NetGalley. The short stories in this anthology all deal with revenge in one form or another. They range from the whimsical ("A Flock of Lawn Flamingos" by Pat Murphy) to gory justice ("Anamorphosis" by Caitlìn R. Kiernan), covering the spectrum of that most obsessive of emotions, revenge. I found the stories to be well-written and entertaining. Though the anthology was published in the 90's, revenge is a timeless topic and is always pertinent. I enjoyed the different styles of the various contributors - variety is so important in an anthology. And none of the stories were too long, which I really liked. All in all, a worthwhile read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    An anthology of acts of payback that will show you revenge. The stories are about evening the score. Is it really possible to get even? The stories are deadly. Even though I could give a review of each story, I won't as I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I did. The authors did an excellent job writing the stories in this anthology. Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book free from the author/publisher from Netgalley. I was not obliged to write a favorable review, or even any review An anthology of acts of payback that will show you revenge. The stories are about evening the score. Is it really possible to get even? The stories are deadly. Even though I could give a review of each story, I won't as I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I did. The authors did an excellent job writing the stories in this anthology. Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book free from the author/publisher from Netgalley. I was not obliged to write a favorable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Trina

    I received this arc from Netgalley. One thing that I like about anthologies is that chances are good you'll find a few stories you enjoy. In this anthology, the bad ones outweigh the good. A lot of these stories made little or no sense at all. I did enjoy four of the stories, which kind of makes up for the duds. Overall a just passable read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    Not for me

  10. 5 out of 5

    Micah Horton hallett

    Stand outs by Joyce Carol Oates, Micheal Marshal Smith and Ruth Rendell

  11. 4 out of 5

    Leah Polcar

    Eh. Pass. Nice collection, but I wouldn't go out of my way.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jane O Saurus

  13. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Roden

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  16. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beitris_

  18. 4 out of 5

    Glen

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cyber

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Wittenberg

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jerie

  22. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl Proc

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ashok Banker

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Jane

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kyla Li

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meconopsis Lingholm

  27. 4 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amy Baker

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sari Koskinen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

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