Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lady Sings the Blues by Mallery Malone

TITLE: Lady Sings the Blues
AUTHOR: Mallery Malone
PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 14k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $2.50

Alina Gabriel, aka Miss Scarlet, has had a thing for Joshua Hanover, the blind guitarist in the band she currently has booked at her club, The Scarlet Lady, almost since he arrived. When he plays, she melts. Especially when he launches into “Red-Letter Woman,” the song he wrote especially for her. She tries to dance the sexual tension away, but one particularly erotic encounter – dancing alongside him onstage – leaves her so hot and bothered, she flees to her private office afterward in order to get off. It also leaves Joshua hot and bothered, and this time, he’s not letting her run away…

My expectation going into this short story was an emphasis on the erotic, since its length and the way it’s sold suggests that, and for the first couple chapters, that’s true. Alina and Joshua are both introduced in bold, hot prose, and the first chapter practically sizzles with their chemistry. So does the second, when things get consummated. It’s after that the story starts to fall apart a little for me, when the author attempts to move beyond the walls of the club.

Joshua is clearly after more than sex, so when he asks for a real dinner date, I was a little surprised when Alina was reluctant to accept. The author still had me at this point, though, so I accepted the seemingly flimsy excuse that if he saw her outside of the club, he’d see what a fake she was. But that excuse wore thin as the story progressed. Alina keeps playing the race card to push him away, and while it’s obvious at the end that it’s just as much a front for the real source of her insecurities, I had no sense of that throughout the story. Her constant objections and pulling away didn’t mesh with the woman I’d been introduced to at the top of the story. I needed to see why she was so insecure long before her explanations came out, because without that insight into her character, she simply looked like a whiny, shallow woman to me.

A very nice touch was the use of music as a language for their sexual explorations.; the prose in those sections worked the strongest for me. Joshua, too, is a nice hero, though some of his insecurities seem to come out of the blue at the end of the story as well. He and his skills made the story for me, much like – I imagine – they did for Alina.


9/10 – Easy prose with a smooth flow.


7/10 – More understanding and believable than the heroine


5/10 – I never understood where the insecurities where coming from

Entertainment value

5/10 – Good for as long as it focused on the erotic aspects; it failed for me on any level of depth

World building

7/10 – Immediate sensory information is very good; it’s the larger picture I had problems with



No comments: