“Intimate Little Secrets” by Rechan – book review by Summercat.
by Patch O'Furr
Thanks to Summercat for this guest post.
Intimate Little Secrets by Rechan
March 2017, Furplanet and Bad Dog Books
Intimate Little Secrets is a collection of 9 short stories by Rechan. After randomly encountering him in a non-Furry location I promised to review his latest work. I went into reading this book expecting a collection of erotica and was blind-sided by well written stories that I connected with emotionally, if not erotically.
Fanservice – Robin, frustrated with her coworker Dean’s missing of her signals, decides to seduce him by cosplaying as a character from a show he likes. The quick pace from flirting to office sex raised an eyebrow. One issue I noticed is that while Robin’s species is put in early enough, Dean’s is not mentioned until after he is first mentioned and we are brought down Robin’s memory lane. However, even when one character is indistinct, I was still able to get a sense of the action playing out. The emotions and reactions of the characters are fairly real and relatable, alternating between awkward inexperience and passionate confidence when they forget to be worried.
Strange on a Train – Marjani, a serval, reads some erotic fiction on a train and enlists another passenger to assist with her arousal. This story is very well written, we’re given imagery exactly where we need it and when we need it. Marjani’s actions are not out of character for her established personality. We’re given only information about the other passenger, a skunk, that Marjani notices on her own; the name used for him is a nickname she mentally calls him. The sex itself has multiple stages; the skill with which Rechan shows rather than tells is apparent throughout. Setting aside the smut, this is a well constructed story with good progression and even a Chekov’s Gun. Despite the lack of time to develop the skunk character, he’s still given enough personality that he’s more than a two-dimensional cardboard extra. This was a fun and engaging read that I’ll be thinking back to in the future.
Missed – Janine Pendigrass is a collie school librarian in a BDSM relationship with teacher Beth, a mink. While in a lunch-break session, a complication in their relationship arises when Beth asks permission to date a man. Though BDSM is not my cup of tea, I’m still able to mentally see how the scene is playing out. Both characters are displayed with emotion. Despite my initial dislike for Pendigrass, the end of the story has me sympathetic towards her.
Fireworks – A first person story told from the viewpoint of a gazelle, Desiree, an escort hired by Jacob, a deer, to pretend to be his girlfriend for a family gathering. This isn’t exactly ‘guy gains confidence after night with a hooker’ because these characters come across as people and not tropes. The sex scene was well constructed and showed rather than told how the movements went. It also easily explained some items that would have tripped my suspension of disbelief. However, I feel it was overshadowed by the rest of the story. As a piece of erotica, Fireworks does not do well; as a story with an erotic scene, it does.
Teeth – Another first person story, this one is a sex scene between the lioness Carli and an unnamed female wolf. This story is very short, and has some structural issues that give it some flaws. We’re not told what species the POV character is for almost the first third, and we don’t get a clear answer for what gender she is until halfway through. This makes the mental imagery hard to form. Though the action is still well put together, the details and context clues needed are buried too deep in the text. Of course, this is a 750-word story, so “too deep” isn’t that far in page-wise.
When The Paint Dries – Luis the cacomistle gets a surprise call from his remarried ex-wife asking for a major favor. This is not erotica. But it is a good story, and I cannot give an explanation as to why without spoiling it.
Rickety V – A follow-up to Missed, where Conner, a golden retriever, is a spanner in the works in Beth and Janine’s relationship. There is a sex scene that fits and works with the story, driving the plot forward, but a majority of the story covers the relationship between the three characters. Conner’s character is delightfully wholesome and innocent, forcing the issues at hand to be confronted. Rickety V resolves a lot of my concerns with Beth and Janine’s relationship as shown in Missed. I am glad that a follow-up was written.
Three to Tango – A follow-up to Strange on a Train, featuring Marjani’s husband Amadi. Still at her family’s house, the serval woman wants to make up to her husband about bending their rules on the train by hiring chipmunk Kahlua to entertain Amadi while Marjani is on the phone. There’s not much character development here, but there doesn’t need to be. There’s also no real plot or story; the text is nearly all erotic action. While not nearly as engaging as “Train”, Three to Tango has a decent pacing and evokes a good mental image of the action.
TLC – Margaret and Henry, an elderly fox couple, deal with how Henry’s illness has impacted their lives and lovemaking. This is a heavy story, and I found it difficult to read it the multiple times needed for the review. It is a good story, and we feel a strong connection with the two characters, both in their despair and pain, and in the mutual joy they feel. It ends on a somewhat happy note.
I have to say I enjoyed Intimate Little Secrets. “Fanservice” and “Strange on a Train” mislead my assumption of what to expect but I guess you could say that I “Missed” the mark. This is not a collection of erotica so much a collection of stories about people and relationships, with erotica in them. In that sense I feel that “Strange on a Train” and “Three to Tango” don’t quite fit with the others, as they are pure sexual romps rather than stories with plot development. Thematically speaking, I would have preferred to see a follow-up to “Fanservice” and “Fireworks” in this volume, but I don’t feel this disqualifies the book as a whole (especially as I was engaged by “Strange on a Train”).
This anthology is a slice-of-life selection of stories, giving the reader an intimate glimpse into the lives of characters that feel real. The plot flows nicely, and Rechan has a mastery of imagery, giving a clear picture of the action going on, be it sitting in a Chinese restaurant or having raunchy sex in the living room. What weaknesses he has is often not putting important descriptors before said imagery, but this is only an issue in two of the stories and may be me being picky.
If slice of life stories that contain erotic M/F or F/F sex scenes something you enjoy, I would recommend giving Intimate Little Secrets a read.