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By Collin Kelley
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
Regular readers will of course remember Collin Kelley; I was a fan of part one of his "Venus" trilogy, 2009's Conquering Venus, in which an American school chaperone in Paris stumbles into a mystery involving young gay hustlers and aging '60s radicals, and then became an even bigger fan with part two, 2012's Remain in Light. And so while we wait for the concluding volume in this trilogy, in the meanwhile Kelley has recently released a new book of short stories as well, last year's Kiss Shot which was part of that giant glut of books we got way behind on last winter, and that I'm finally getting around to finishing and reviewing here this summer. (45 books down! Only 25 to go!) And I have to say, for a format like short stories that I'm not usually much of a fan of, I ended up really enjoying Kelley's book; and that's because the stories in this collection tend to be well thought out, surprising in their details, and with a healthy dose of unhealthy subversion baked into them all. I mean, just take the title story for a good example, in which we follow a teenage compulsive masturbator as he struggles with his sexual identity, attends a party with a girl he thinks is his date, ends up being pressured to participate in a gang rape of said girl, and ends up falling in love with a fellow male student who once groped him in the gym shower when no one else was looking, eventually moving with said lover to New Orleans on a whim after they are outed during the rape investigation. All the stories in Kiss Shot are like this, shocking sometimes in their plot turns but always grounded in reality and solid in their fundamentals, and it comes particularly recommended today over most story collections I normally review here.
Out of 10: 9.0