When presented with a collection of twenty-five short stories by the same author, there is a concern that the book might feel monotonous. This is certainly not the case with Everson, who is fluent in the language of short-story telling. The stories have a nice array of perspectives and voices. The writing is evocative and there are characters that drew me into their narratives—characters that I probably should not have cared about due to their perversions, but Everson’s command of the craft kept me riveted.
A few of the offerings might be appropriate for a younger audience; most were too perverse or graphic (both sexually and in terms of violence). Some standouts: “In Memoryum,” which is as sorrowful as it is erotic. It has all of the markings of an expert short story: there is titillation and a shocking crime, along with a complex plot that creates conflicting sympathy and anger in a reader. “Sacrificing Virgins” and “Faux” have some dark humor which helps to add diversity to the tone of the collection. “Whatever You Want” delves into dark fantasies with characters that push the boundaries in search of the ultimate climax.
Sacrificing Virgins was completely compelling. The stories lingered, poking and provoking when I tried to move on to other things. If you cannot tolerate mentions of necrophilia, this collection may not be for you. If you enjoy unique twists on horror stories, imaginative uses for relics and tools, characters that manage to be neither heroic nor completely immoral, and quality writing, then I highly recommend Sacrificing Virgins.
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