cover image Engines of Desire

Engines of Desire

Livia Llewellyn, Lethe (, $18 trade paper (214p) ISBN 978-1-59021-324-7

These 10 powerful stories mark relative newcomer Llewellyn as a writer to watch in the genres of dark fantasy, horror, and erotica. Lush, discursive, elliptical writing weaves scenarios of women confronted with a horrible other, as in the title story, where a woman faces down a destructive childhood love, and in "At the Edge of Ellensburg," where sex-charged attraction destroys a woman obsessed with a serial killer. Deeply disturbing imagery marks several stories: in "Omphalos," original to the volume, a family vacation revolves around incest; infanticide underpins the dark fantasy story "Her Deepness"; and forced pregnancy and childbearing simmer into violence in "The Four Hundred Thousand." Plot sometimes gets lost in the wordplay, and the promised emotional climax doesn't always deliver, but readers ready for a challenge will gladly sink their teeth in. (Apr.)