First published back in 2007 by Biting Dog Publications as part of their limited edition novella trilogy, John Paul Allen’s disturbingly erotic tale ‘Monkey Love’ was the final instalment into this beautifully presented collection. Utilising the same artwork by illustrator Keith Minnion that donned the covers of the two previous releases, together the novella’s form an impressive looking set for any collector. As with the two preceding titles, ‘Monkey Love’ was available in either a limited to 400 copies signed (author & illustrator) hardback edition, or a lettered leather-bound and tray-cased edition. The novella also includes five beautifully presented black & white pencil illustrations, incorporated at set stages within the tale.

DLS Synopsis:
Richard and Sandra Rixx enjoy a very healthy and fulfilled relationship; both of a physical and emotional nature. However, whilst Richard was on a business flight, Sandra learns that the plane was the target of a possible act of terrorism. And then her life is shattered as she learns of the death of her husband.

Grieving for the loss of her one true love, Sandra takes the decision to become utterly immersed within her work – studying gorillas in the tropical depths of Uganda. And so the anthropology professor plans to set down disciplined scientific tasks on the behavioural nature of the gorillas, which would be undertaken and recorded by her small team, and the findings subsequently relayed back to her on a daily basis.

The project is going well, with the gorillas bringing together interesting results for analysis. Amongst the gorillas, Sandra Rixx notices one particular subject whose fur sports a startlingly similar design to that of her deceased husband’s tattoo, both of which are positioned in the exact same spot upon their right shoulder blade. Sandra’s interest is only marginally whetted by the matter; that is until she notices the same guerrilla spitting out fig seeds in the exact same way that Richard used to. The similarities don’t end there. Whilst taking a shower she notices that this exact same gorilla is watching her with deep blue eyes – the same eyes as of her late husband.

With memories of Richard’s promise that if he were to die, he would come back in search of his loved one, Sandra is now fully taken by the idea that this gorilla is in fact the reincarnation of her late husband. And in order to help bring the memories of their passionate love flooding back to the gorilla, Sandra sees a clear path ahead of how to accomplish this very task...with the power of seduction.

DLS Review:
For his second published novel, John Paul Allen once again revisits the concept of reincarnation that was the predominant thrust of his previous full length novel ‘Gifted Trust’ (2003). However, unlike the graphically violent content utilised within ‘Gifted Trust’ (2003), Allen’s novella instead focuses on the unsettling premise of bestiality from the reasoning of a potentially unsound mind.

As the tale progresses, the reader knows what is coming; the storyline is somewhat casually building towards the inevitable finale of such a taboo idea. Allen expertly toys with this mounting suspense, throwing moral confusing justifications, to pave the way for an inner-understanding of such a seat-squirming act. The writing itself shows a vast improvement from that of ‘Gifted Trust’ (2003). Allen keeps a tight grip on the direction of the story, with strong, well-developed characterisation drawing together the all important emotional turmoil portrayed within the plot. Whether intentionally fabricated or not, the clever understated play on Richard Rixx’s death creates a cunning void in the storyline, subtly reflecting the definite void that has taken place within the life of Sandra Rixx.

The novella concludes with an utterly unexpected twist-ending that hits the reader like a sledgehammer, with a heavy hand of black comedy thrown in to exit the novella with. Allen’s maniacal desire to plunder into the morally questionable depths of erotica and then throw the whole twisted understanding back at the reader in one fell swoop is what elevates the tale into a true master-class in perverse fiction.

Also included within the book is the short story entitled ‘House Guest’.

The short begins with the introduction of Chastity Bream whose life took a sudden unfortunate downfall after she was hit by a Honda Civic which left her in a completely paralysed bed-ridden state. Following the accident, Chastity’s secret lover decides to remain with Chastity in the house where her parents also reside. His hidden life is spent peering from behind closet doors and stealing food from the kitchen when the coast is clear. However, his affections soon shift to that of Chastity’s mother - Mrs Turner. The only obstacle that appears to be in the way of a blossoming relationship is her husband - Herb. But that can soon be fixed...

For this skin-crawling short, Allen once again plays with the idea of obsession gone careering off the tracks at a mile a minute. Our lead character’s voyeuristic nature is set down from the outset, laying out what is to become a short tale of perverse lusting twinged with sexual deviance and a final smattering of murder. The result is a short story that bounds along with the joviality of a surreal comedy, whilst digging further and further into another unsettling taboo.

The short ends with a wallop, concluding with the same no-holds-barred approach that Allen stands proudly aside with each piece of work he unleashes. At only eleven pages in length, Allen crams in a monstrous psychological extravaganza to thrill, unnerve and amuse his ever-hungry readers.

The book runs for a total of 97 pages, of which the story ‘Monkey Love’ takes up a total of 82 pages.

 © DLS Reviews

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