The erotic horror novella Biker’s Haunt, is a true dark fantasy. But its triumph as a horror story is its erotic undoing. Nevertheless, it’s worth a read.
What Drew Me In
Horror is my favorite genre, with erotica being a close second. Naturally, I’m always thrilled to come across a story that intertwines the two; a feat not easily accomplished.
It can be difficult to shift your reader’s mindset from anxiety to arousal, and back again. So, whenever I come across a book that tries to do it, I’m happy to go along for the ride. When I came across Alex Eldrich’s erotic horror novella, Biker’s Haunt, I was genuinely excited.
Setting the Scene
As you might expect from a book entitled Biker’s Haunt, the story is gritty from start to finish. Our journey begins fifteen years in the past, with a fifteen-year-old Ronald, later called Skull, masturbating over a toilet.
Fortunately, the scene is short, and as far as I can tell, the purpose of the description was to illustrate where Ronald was at, at the point in his life when he had a fateful encounter, rather than to get the readers’ juices flowing.
Ronald quickly meets one of the four major characters in the story, Taylor, later called Trash; a reference to the Trashcan Man from Stephen King’s The Stand, although the two characters bear no real similarity. Unlike the rubbish the moniker infers, Trash seemed the most wholesome of what would become our biker quartet.
The story jumps ahead three years, and Ronald and his friends have reached barely legal teen-hood, thus rendering them ripe for sexual exploitation in written form.
After a high school football game, Ronald reunites with Taylor, who invites him to a party. Upon arrival, Trash meets Lilith, the third member of the quartet. The trio wastes no time getting down to sexual business. Mid-coitus, they’re joined by the last of the group, Jezebel.
The four quickly become inseparable and decide that after graduation, they’ll buy a tattoo parlor and go into business for themselves. Unlike most plans laid by high-school seniors, our quartet’s ill-conceived scheme goes exactly as planned, with the addition of the four joining a biker gang.
The majority of the story takes place later, when our protagonists are in their mid-twenties. We’re informed that over the years, the group has bonded through copulation.
What I Liked About It
The ominous tone is present throughout the book. While the idea that bikers in the 60s and 70s were tolerant of bisexual men was a little hard for me to swallow, I had an easy enough time immersing myself in the story.
The quartet was what you’d expect from sex-crazed twenty-year-olds who wake up late, party all night, and do it all again the next day. This realism lends to the story’s quality, and is perhaps its greatest strength.
I found the plot genuinely interesting. I kept telling myself that I would just read a little more, then a little more. But despite my plans to set the book aside, I just kept turning the pages. I wanted to know what was going to happen next, and it got progressively more interesting with each chapter.
There was legitimate suspense; true twists and turns. I do all of my reading in the evenings, and I found myself reflecting on the story during the following day. As I read, I kept checking to see how much was left in the book; my mind filling in the remaining percentage (I read it on my Kindle) with possibilities.
My favorite thing about the story was that it was legitimately dark. There were no moments of joy; no pageantry or glamour. It felt the way a garage full of motorcycles might feel; pulverous, and smelling of stale beer, semen, and motor fluid.
Its sebaceous feel pulls you deeper into the story, resulting in true malaise. One particular scene made me feel physically ill, and I had pause for a moment before I could go on. I love gore; it was brilliant!
But Biker’s Haunt’s success as a horror story is its undoing where the ‘erotica’ is concerned.
What Could Have Been Better
From start to finish, Biker’s Haunt is full of sex. However, save for an intimate moment shared between the two male protagonists, there’s nothing particularly erotic about it. The sex is just sex; just sort of there, like the empty beer cans and full ashtrays I imagined must litter our quartet’s home.
There’s a scene late in the story which at the time, I thought unnecessary, but it proves analogous now.
Ronald (now Skull) wakes up, still a little intoxicated from the night before. With no orange juice to sate his thirst, he’s forced to make lemonade from a powder mix. We’re taken through the process from start to finish: searching the barren cupboards, finding the lemonade canister, mixing the powder with water, chugging it sloppily, and cringing at the acrid taste. Ronald’s thirst wins out, and he resigns himself to swallowing the bitter mixture.
As I read Biker’s Haunt, I went through a similar process with each sexual encounter. A character had a need, there was a beginning, the encounter itself, then it was over. It was wet and messy, and at times a little cringy, but such is life.
Truthfully, I don’t know that it could have been any other way. The main characters are bikers. They’re not poets or artists. They’re not wealthy businessmen or nobility. They’re just regular, horny people. There really wasn’t a place for romance or sensuality. It was raw. But the realism strips the intercourse of any sex-appeal.
But just because it wasn’t particularly erotic, doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. As we discover, the main antagonist is no other than the demoness Naamah, of the Kabbalah, and her efforts to return to the mortal realm. I’m a fan of religious history, so I found this a thoroughly interesting premise. It didn’t matter to me that the sex, plentiful as it was, was a bit dull. A lot of sex in real life is dull; which is why we read and write erotica.
So enthralled was I that when Biker’s Haunt ended suddenly at what my kindle app told me was only 66% of the book, I was crushed! The story had just taken a sudden, and in my opinion brilliant turn, only to come to a rapid, albeit happy conclusion.
On an aside, if you’re an aspiring indie author, please don’t fill the last portion of your book with excerpts from your other works. I know it’s becoming more common in eBooks, but imagine how heartbroken you would be if you were reading a 300-page paperback, only to have the story to end at page 200. You’d be devastated. And I was.
But my disappointment speaks to the overall quality of the story.
Anastasia’s Parlor Rating
I give Alex Eldrich’s Biker’s Haunt four out of five stars, because while it was a dark, gritty horror story, unless you have a biker fetish, it’s not particularly erotic.
It’s worth a read. You can buy it on Amazon here. I’ll definitely be checking out Alex Eldrich’s other work.
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