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Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas

April 1, 2010

I know we’ve said our posting schedule will be a new review every Tuesday, but in light of recent asshattery on the part of the industry, we feel compelled to review as many independent or small press ebooks as we can.

I’m going to start off with Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas.  I’ll say straight up that this is essentially literary erotica or erotic horror, so if that’s not your thing, come back tomorrow, we’ll be talking about something else.  Erotica is not generally my thing either because I often feel that the focus is more on the sex and less on actual, you know, plot.  I have to say, Ms. Thomas doesn’t shirk her duties to the latter.  Here’s the blurb:

Emily Vargas has been taken captive. As part of his conditioning methods, her captor refuses to speak to her, knowing how much she craves human contact. He’s far too beautiful to be a monster. Combined with his lack of violence toward her, this has her walking a fine line at the edge of sanity. Told in the first person from Emily’s perspective, Comfort Food explores what happens when all expectations  of pleasure and pain are turned upside down, as whips become comfort and chicken soup becomes punishment.

I was intrigued by the concept of chicken soup as punishment and that someone could be conditioned using human contact as a reward, so that’s why I picked it up.  Plus at $2.99 it’s a bargain.

I’ll tell you outright that this book is going to mess with your head.  Totally and completely.  It is one of the most psychologically twisted, yet totally believable rides I have ever been on.  I literally could not put it down.  And it stayed with me for DAYS afterward, making me think.

While I don’t necessarily agree with the blurb that he never raises his hand in violence (consensual or not, BDSM is violent to me), it is absolutely fascinating (in the same sick kind of way that Dexter is) how the…I can’t call him a hero…the villain, I suppose, manages to bend Emily to his will.  He breaks her, but you get the sense by the end that she was kind of bent to begin with.  They are a match made in a twisted sort of hell.  I don’t, as a rule, like erotica, but I’m likely to check out Ms. Thomas’ future work just to see how far she can push the envelope.

At about 52k, it’s a little longer than a novella and a little shorter than a novel, but at no point did I feel cheated on length.  The story was exactly the length it needed to be.  I definitely have to call this spicy, with more psychological kink than physical.

4 Cookies for Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas.  Comfort Food is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and Scribd.

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