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by Max Allan Collins and Matthew V. Clemens
Twilight Tales, November 2006
211 pages
ISBN: 097798561X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

I have always been a big fan of short stories and tend to read them on the train into work. However, with MY LOLITA COMPLEX this was one book I knew that I would not be reading on the train. Not because I did not want to but because I am sure that the title would have elicited even wilder looks than I normally get. As for the cover, it reminds me of the cover of the Russell James novel NO ONE GETS HURT.

MY LOLITA COMPLEX is a collection of nine short stories written together by the authors. The stories include a British spy a la James Bond in LIE BESIDE ME and SAND ON THE BEACH where we see him fighting two different types of foes – his enemies and his newly married status; STAKEOUT ON RUSH STREET involving a sexy vampire slayer that will no doubt be a favourite of Buffy fans; and A PEBBLE FOR PAPA, a religious-gangster story where an aging crime boss gets a hard lesson in betrayal and redemption. Not only is it brutal but also dramatic and earnest. The reader can also indulge in a sexy version of Dashiell Hammett’s THE THIN MAN Nora and Nick. With the other stories, we discover that love and lust is no longer a boundary that cannot be crossed.

I enjoyed this collection, but do not fall into the trap of believing that they are new stories. They are not. Each of the stories has been previously published in anthologies between 2000 and 2003. The subtitle is also a bit disingenuous. This is not to say that there is no sex and violence in the storie – of course, there is. It is just that with a subtitle AND OTHER TALES OF SEX AND VIOLENCE, the reader would have expected slightly more. Compared to some other stories that I have read these are pretty tame. The sex is not hard core in the slightest, while the violence is just violent. The collection would have been sharper if the stories had been edgier. My favourite story, however, was the title one, MY LOLITA COMPLEX. These are, though, some of the most entertaining, sardonic, and racy tales that have been available for quite some time.

The one thing that was off-putting in this collection was the typos, which were extremely distracting. I hope that they are corrected before this collection reaches the bookshops.

Reviewed by Ayo Onatade, November 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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