Quote me on this: John Everson is the king of Erotic Horror.
That's what it is, folks. Everson writes Erotic Horror at it's best.
Night after night, Evan walked along the desolate beach, grieving over the loss of his son, drowned in an accident more than a year before.
Then one night he was drawn to the luminous sound of a beautiful, naked woman singing near the shore in the moonlight. He watched mesmerized as the mysterious woman disappeared into the sea. Driven by desire and temptation, Evan returned to the spot every night until he found her again. Now he has begun a bizarre, otherworldly affair. A deadly affair. For Evan will soon realize that his seductive lover is a being far more evil…and more terrifying…than he ever imagined.
He will learn the danger of falling into the clutches of the… SIRENEverson has really reached outside of his usual fare with this one, crafting one of the greatest love-story-gone-awry scenarios and presenting it to a genre that didn't see it coming. The beauty of the story is that Evan's plight is something that every red-blooded man can feel sympathetic to. Eventually - over the course of the story - Evan comes back to reality, but his actions have caused a chain of events that will not be satisfied with the simple utterance of "it's over". The story really ends up being a study about how our lives can sometimes take unexpected turns when we make the wrong choices. Evan is a clear example of a worst case scenario.
The character of Ligeia is by far one of the most mystical and sexy creatures I've come across in horror today. The way Everson writes her, the reader almost instantaneously falls in love, only to find him/herself troubled by the notion that something is definitely rotten in Denmark. Revealed in a sort of back and forth/past and present - way of storytelling, we eventually learn the secrets behind her life, and come to appreciate what it is she actually does. In doing so, I think Everson has created one of the most deadly villains that exist out there: A woman who is viscious, nasty, and yet very easy to feel sympathetic towards.
So that's both sides you feel for, right? Wrong. In the end, you're left having to make a very personal choice. What I loved so much about this book is that it really gets under your skin. Everson has this way of tapping into the very essence of who the reader is, making him/her question what they actually believe deep down in themselves. I know I was shocked when the book ended and found myself gradually re-evaluating my priorities in life. I'm not saying that you'll have the same reaction, but Everson was really able to hit me in a very emotional way with Siren.
The writing is tighter than an airlock, the scenes just absolutely bleeding off the page, leaving you with the taste of saltwater in your mouth, begging for mercy. The musical influence is readily apparent in the storytelling, giving you a sort of inside look at where Everson was coming from with this one. It's almost as if you can really hear the music coming off the pages.
Now, it has to be said that with this whole Leisure/Dorchester business going on, you're going to have a wee bit of trouble tracking this one down in the MMPB format. Luckily, it's also available from Bad Moon Books in a limited edition hardcover. The cover for the Leisure edition is beautiful, but you really have to take a look at the BMB cover. It's something seriously sexy.
Check out Everson's website here, contact him on Facebook and Twitter, and grab a copy of the Leisure edition of Siren while you still can. Being that it's one of two of the last books they'll print in that format, you can bet they'll be collector's items soon.
Also, check out Everson's small press - Dark Arts Books - for some incredibly awesome looking stuff.