by Nathalie Gray, futuristic (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-727-0
Nathalie Gray's Killing Silk is set in Tokyo in the 22nd century. This story also involves Shibari, incorporated into the story in a most memorable manner.
In Tokyo's infamous red light district Kabuki-cho, someone is on a killing spree, leaving behind dead bodies bled dry of blood and bound in a complicated manner using rare silk. Our bad boy hero Detective Keveri "Kev" Newman's prime suspect in this case is the Shibari practitioner known as Azalea.
For twenty years, Azalea Silla has applied her skills to give both men and women who could afford her services plenty of sexual pleasure. She doesn't service them, don't get me wrong. She ties up her clients and then leaves them alone to let them do whatever they want. Her services go as far as to tie them up and allowing her super mad Shibari skills to enhance their sex sessions. You know, I'm starting to think that perhaps I should take up Shibari myself. It doesn't seem so hard a job, tying a couple of people up and standing back to count my money as they get themselves off all by themselves.
Anyway, Azalea believes that her problem extends so far as to being the receiving end of unwanted attention from the mayor's son. When she learns that someone is using her trademark ultramarine silk to tie up dead bodies, oh boy.
Killing Silk has all the groundwork to become a fabulous and very sexy futuristic romantic noir. Kev has all the makings of a bad boy cop with plenty of delicious ambiguity in his personal moral code while Azalea is a memorable heroine who is confident and sexual. Unfortunately, this is also a pretty typical example of a short story that couldn't really achieve its full potential due to its short length. The plot hurtles to a denouement at an unrealistic speed, the characters pretty much force themselves into bed shortly upon meeting, and the identity of the villain is crystal clear from the start.
All in all, this a readable and fun short story that is at the same time lacking in depth. Sigh, this one should have been expanded into a longer story.
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