Book Review – Closet Monsters & Horny Devils

Daniel Kelly is the mind behind fellow gay-horror site, Boys, Bears, & Scares. He pumps out so many reviews and brings up so many homo-related films that he’s a top contributor for the “Need to Watch” list I have saved on my computer. But he’s also an author, with both novels and anthologies out that mostly plow deep into the world of gay horror erotica.

Kindly, Mr. Kelly offered me his anthologies. I received.

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Closet Monsters was up first, and the titular story of the anthology (Closet Monster) opened the book with no reservations, guardrails, or safety words. To be frank, after I read it, I wasn’t honestly sure if I liked it. The subject matter made me feel so… icky, and disturbed. But when you think about it, what else are stories within the realm of horror supposed to make you do?

It was almost strange to think that with one single story, Daniel had successfully made me feel both uncomfortable and shocked. It reminded me of Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted, and the opening story Guts, another anthology that basically just dropped its pants and told the reader, “This is what I’ve got, and you’re going to take it.”

The second story in the antho to make my eyes go wild was Woof! As a gay man, I was already apprehensive of the title because with that one word, I think I knew what to expect. Actually, let me add on to that sentence. As a gay, sexually-vanilla man who enjoys cleaning, being clean, manscaping, and making gross faces when humans smell like natural humans… I was apprehensive. And sure enough, the story covered me in sweat, bodily fluids, rough mantastic sexual pleasures, and dog drool.

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I feel almost no shame, but then total shame, in saying that Daniel’s stories were making me feel like I was some uptight, never been on a plane before, where’s my anti-bacterial soap, God Warrior from Cornflower, Kansas, population a modest, respectable 1,879.

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Congratulations Daniel. You win this round.

The novella in the collection was probably my favorite story. It was a small town zombie apocalypse tale but with a twist: Only the gay are immune. I did question a few choices the characters made – “Everyone needs to stop trying to bang each other and focus on banging nails into shelter reinforcements!” – but overall the story was a fun tale that kind of reminded me of a sexual, queer Night of the Comet.

The second anthology I had at my disposal was entitled Horny Devils, and by the title I knew I was about to feel uncomfortable again. Dirty. Concerned. Probably a little aroused. Then confused and scared.

I was correct.

From baseball bat demon sex, slutty amnesiacs, and gay conversion rape therapy that creates monsters from men, Horny Devils had a range of horror erotica that once again had me clutching my pearls and saying, “Oh my lawwwd!”

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Everything was well written, but I couldn’t force the common sense fun-ruiner in me to shut up. Laughable because I know fully well that erotica isn’t meant to fully make sense. It’s meant to tease and titillate… which it did, a little, I’ll admit. Still, there I was. Internally screaming at naked people in a book, “You’re never going too unravel the mystery of who you are if you keep fucking every random stranger you come across! Also, aren’t you tired!?!”

Leave it to me to be the person pointing out the lack of sense in a porno.

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Despite apparently being the worst at reading erotica, I still enjoyed the anthologies. It was a nice change of pace from what I’ve been reading lately and I liked having a whole antho with a range of stories focusing on gay characters.

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If you’re interested, or strangely aroused, by my review, head on over to Boys, Bears & Scares at danielwkelly.com and check out Daniel’s musings, reviews, and bibliography! And don’t forget to follow him on Twitter either at @BoysBearsScares! 

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