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THE DEVOURED
By JOHN CLEVE (Midwood; 1970)

This novel, one of ten fuckbooks written in 1970 by “John Cleve,” a widely utilized pseudonym for the late Andrew Offutt (1934-2013), is something of a stand-out in the field of adult fiction; unlike most such novels, it’s almost good!

     The subjects are Miklos Vladraku and his sister Sofia, a vampire duo situated in New York City. There they seduce random folk and drain their blood through certain unexpected body parts--specifically men’s penises and women’s vaginas and nipples--and spend much of the rest of their time ecstatically fucking each other. Both are hundreds of years old, with Mikos Vladraku’s true identity, we learn, being quite well known (note the final five letters of his last name).

     Miklos and Sofia’s cloistered existence is threatened by Bill and Julie, an attractive young couple drawn into the vamps’ orbit through The Dungeon, a nightclub Miklos and Sofia own. Julie is immediately smitten with Miklos, and he with her; ditto Sofia and Bill, a dynamic that obviously complicates things considerably.

     The simplistic paint-by-numbers narrative is a problem, and the reason this novel never quite transcends its fuck-book origins. Otherwise, however, it’s fairly impressive: the prose is slick and confident, the protagonists and their many victims reasonably well characterized, and the erotic passages--the book’s raison d’etre--quite striking in their variety and descriptive potency.

     It’s been said that Andrew Offutt kept a voluminous file of sexual terms and phrases for use in his erotic novels (of which he authored around 400 during his lifetime), and his ability to come up with such a varied retinue of sexual passages without ever repeating himself--complete with memorable dialogue like “Get the hell in me! Cram me full!”--and all in a single book, is quite an accomplishment. Again, though, it’s not enough to make for a successful product.

     

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