Thriller Guy was reading the stats concerning this blog the other day and noticed a curious thing. There was a short list of keywords that some viewers used to find the site and among them were, “Author of Sexy Page Turner” and “Library Sexy Womenshowing.” Now, TG will be the first to admit that he is pretty uninterested in the labyrinthine ways of the Interweb, but what’s up with that? Even though he knows the vagaries of sexual behavior encompass a vast land of unusual scenery, who the hell sits down at the computer and enters those two phrases looking for some fun? So TG, of course, sat down at the computer to see if he could have some fun with the two search terms.
The combination of the first words, “Author of Sexy Page Turner” resulted in the usual 3 and a half million results, but they were pretty disappointing. The top hit was for a book of erotic poems titled “Libido” by the author J.M. George on a website, the PuRR.com, hosted by PepperBrooks, who seems like an intelligent young lady who says she is a business coach. The entry about Libido is a short interview Pepper conducted with the author of the book. TG rooted around on the site but didn’t turn up much that was steamy other than the cover of the book, which TG reproduces here.it is linked to Amazon. TG will give anyone who would like to review these poems space on this site. Good luck with the book, Ms George, and Pepper, keep up the good work! The rest of the search results were pretty damn tame, so not much fun there.
Library Sex Womenshowing heated up the search, but not nearly as much as you would imagine. The first few hits were of the scholarly/feminist variety before setting into a number of sites about women who shave their fishwhistles, bless their hearts, and like to post pictures of the results. TG decided to sharpen up his search term by separating the word “women” and “showing” and was surprised to learn that rather than making things hotter, this was a real buzz kill. The top article being a news report about a woman who was arrested for soliciting sex in the library in Tewksbury, Mass. Because of the common injunction against talking in libraries, all negotiations between the undercover detective and the prostitute (I think we can safely say that description probably fits) were carried out by passing a piece of notebook paper and a pen back and forth between the two individuals. Cost for the unspecified act was $60, which could be a real bargain or a rip-off, depending on the act. It turns out that this particular library is kind of a sex hot spot, with the emphasis on the word hot, as a homeless man was arrested there several months earlier on the same charge. Hey, Tewksbury, what the hell’s going on up there? Is it something in the water!
The rest of the results over the next three search results pages were really boring. I would counsel anyone looking for sex fun on the Internet to not include the word “Library” in his or her searches. Just a little tip from TG to his readers.
The actual topic TG had planned for this entry was sparked by a silly little article on the excellent site io9.com that reports on science stuff. The article, titled An Architect’s Guide to Famous Villain’s Lairs made TG realize that he hadn’t read any thrillers for the last year or so where the villain had a secret lair, usually an island in some remote corner of the ocean, or underwater in the tropics. This has been a fixed thriller trope forever, one that TG has grown heartily sick of and was glad to see fade out of the thriller landscape. Really, it has become almost impossible to invent one of these mad scientist laboratory hideaways without immediately thinking of Dr. Evil’s lair in Austin Powers series.
But then TG started leafing through his towering stack of old reviews and realized that the secret lair plot hasn’t really disappeared at all, though it has morphed somewhat into variations of that theme. Recent examples include Robert Tanenbaum’s Butch Karp series where one of the good/bad guys has set up shop in abandoned subway tunnels under Manhattan (a classic favorite lair setting); Apocalypse by Dean Crawford has a vast undersea lair in the vicinity of, you guessed it, the Bermuda Triangle; a recent thriller TG can’t remember the name of houses its secret headquarters under the Mall in Washington DC; then there’s Chimera, by David Wellington about a group of genetically designed savages who have escaped from a secret laboratory prison camp in rural New York. And with his memory thus jogged, TG now faintly remembers plenty more of these various takes on the secret lair plot or subplot. So, once again, TG has proved himself wrong after actually looking beyond the surface of one of his fleeting thoughts concerning a possible blog topic.
The truth is, the Secret Lair, or Secret World, is a powerful image, one that springs from 19th century fiction where boys, young men and older adults stayed glued to the page in rapt fascination as evil scientists and maniacal, power-mad, fiends plotted their wars on mankind from the bowels of their underground, undersea, remote mountain, jungle, lairs.
So, ok, go ahead and give us the modern equivalent, thriller writers. But be careful. The slightest misstep and the image that will come to the readers minds will be this one
TG may have spoken of Haggard before, the name and especially the novel She reminds TG of a powerful memory. At about age eleven in West Virginia TG caught scarlet fever, a rather Victorian disease, and was put to bed for several weeks. In the days before the discovery of antibiotics this was a disease that killed many. Thomas Edison’s partial deafness was thought to have been caused by scarlet fever. Or scarteltina as it was known in those days. At any rate, the young TG was in bed and bored, having read every one of the Tarzan books in the preceding weeks, when he heard his mother and aunt talking in the hall outside his room. “Do you think he’s old enough?” TG heard his mother ask. “Well, probably. At any rate, he’s read everything else in the house,” my aunt replied. So pretty soon they came in bearing a book bound in the same red binding that all the Tarzan books sported, and gave me She, which I devoured because not only was it a fabulous, exciting tale, but because I thought there must be some mystery in why one had to be a certain age, and I suspected, maturity, before being allowed to read it. Actually, it was kind of sexy, as the following dust jackets will suggest. In its day it was wildly popular and as of 1965 had sold 83 million copies making it one of the biggest selling books of all time. TG wonders, a bit sadly, if anyone ever reads it these days. Probably not, and we are a poorer world for it. OK, check out the covers, they are hot!