Review of Tonia Brown’s “Lucky Stiff”
Peter Lyles has the misfortune of having friends on spring break who can’t tell the difference between sleeping pills and ecstasy. So when he ODs after they give him five pills of the latter when he has never taken a drug in his life, this nerdy virgin looks like he is going to have a pretty unimpressive obituary after leading a very dull life. But that is before he hooks up with Madam Sangrail. One of Peter’s friends knows the Madam, who is a New Orleans Voodoo priestess that has been known to raise the dead (among other things) and they take Peter’s body to her with the hope that she can work her charms on him. Given that she is a Tantra priestess, Peter not only rises from the dead, other parts of him rise as well.
This is the story, told in first person, of a insecure, intelligent, nerdy teenager who has the fortune of dying and coming back for the erotic ride of his unlife. Madam Sangrail not only turns Peter into an intelligent zombie, but she teaches him how to control the hunger for flesh that comes with being undead by feeding off the sexual energies of the women he beds. She tutors him in how to avoid the inevitable rot and unattractive appearance of his dead flesh with a combination of magic and clean living that will allow him to use his endless sexual appetite to his advantage. Understand, this is not a story where the reader is regaled with an endless series of conquests Peter has after leaving the sweet company of his Madam, but instead are treated to the highlights of his journey, which do admittedly include some of his key conquests, but also tells a tale of frustration, sadness, the search for happiness, understanding, and love as he grows to maturity as a man.
I haven’t read much in the way of erotica, instead, I have an affinity for the undead and all sorts of stories about them. I have never limited my intake of different creative approaches to the zombie genre, and this book is a great example of a writer really mixing things up in a wonderful way and giving us something entirely new. Tonia Brown has done a nice job of melding the voodoo and Romero variants of undead for this story. Peter is a zombie, but his brain is just fine-he is intelligent and can function as a normal human being as long as he takes precautions and realizes that he must always feed-he has to devour the sexual energies of his partners or he will end up devouring their flesh. It’s a nice twist and provides us with a story with plenty of twists and turns as we learn about the unlife of Peter, an undead gigolo with a romantic streak a mile wide and a non-beating heart of gold.
Peter, in many ways, is the ideal lover. He never grows weary, has unlimited stamina, and seems to genuinely appreciate woman for both their inner and outer beauty. This is no rogue account of the lusty conquests of Peter, but more of a coming of age story that allows a boy to become a man. A man who must remain in temperatures below seventy degrees so his body parts don’t start to rot off, mind you, but a man never the less.
This is a well written, entertaining novel that will give the fan of romance and the fan of the undead both something new and creative to enjoy.
Lucky Stiff can be found at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1452833974/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1SMSKB3G2JDV3W2D5S8B&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846