Authors
Alexandros
Carmine
Melanie Abrams
Julius Addlesee
Shelley Aikens
A. Aimee
Jeanne Ainslie
Fredrica Alleyn
Rebecca Ambrose
Diane Anderson-Minshall
Laura Antoniou
Janine Ashbless
Lisette Ashton
Gavin Atlas
Danielle Austen
J. P. Beausejour
P.K. Belden
Tina Bell
Jove Belle
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Ronica Black
Candace Blevins
Primula Bond
Lionel Bramble
A. J. Bray
Samantha Brook
Matt Brooks
Zetta Brown
James Buchanan
Louisa Burton
Angela Campion
Angela Caperton
Annabeth Carew
Julia Chambers
Dale Chase
M. Christian
Greta Christina
Valentina Cilescu
Rae Clark
NJ Cole
Christina Crooks
Julius Culdrose
Portia da Costa
Alan Daniels
Angraecus Daniels
Dena De Paulo
Vincent Diamond
Susan DiPlacido
Noelle Douglas-Brown
Hypnotic Dreams
Amanda Earl
Hank Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
Stephen Elliott
Madelynne Ellis
Justine Elyot
Aurelia T. Evans
Lucy Felthouse
Jesse Fox
I. G. Frederick
Simone Freier
Louis Friend
Polly Frost
William Gaius
Bob Genz
Shanna Germain
J. J. Giles
Lesley Gowan
K D Grace
K. D. Grace
Sacchi Green
Ernest Greene
Tamzin Hall
R. E. Hargrave
P. S. Haven
Trebor Healey
Vicki Hendricks
Scott Alexander Hess
Richard Higgins
Julie Hilden
E. M. Hillwood
Amber Hipple
William Holden
Senta Holland
David Holly
Michelle Houston
Debra Hyde
M. E. Hydra
Vina Jackson
Anneke Jacob
Maxim Jakubowski
Kay Jaybee
Ronan Jefferson
Amanda Jilling
SM Johnson
Raven Kaldera
J. P. Kansas
Kevin Killian
D. L. King
Catt Kingsgrave
Kate Kinsey
Geoffrey Knight
Varian Krylov
Vivienne LaFay
Teresa Lamai
Lisa Lane
Randall Lang
James Lear
Amber Lee
Nikko Lee
Tanith Lee
Annabeth Leong
James W. Lewis
Marilyn Jaye Lewis
Ashley Lister
Fiona Locke
Clare London
Scottie Lowe
Simon Lowrie
Catherine Lundoff
Michael T. Luongo
Jay Lygon
Helen E. H. Madden
Nancy Madore
Jodi Malpas
Jeff Mann
Alma Marceau
Sommer Marsden
Gwen Masters
Sean Meriwether
Bridget Midway
I. J. Miller
Madeline Moore
Lucy V. Morgan
Julia Morizawa
David C. Morrow
Walter Mosley
Peggy Munson
Zoe Myonas
Alicia Night Orchid
Craig Odanovich
Cassandra Park
Michael Perkins
Christopher Pierce
Lance Porter
Jack L. Pyke
Devyn Quinn
Cameron Quitain
R. V. Raiment
Shakir Rashaan
Jean Roberta
Paige Roberts
Sam Rosenthal
D. V. Sadero
C Sanchez-Garcia
Lisabet Sarai
R Paul Sardanas
R. Paul Sardanas
Elizabeth Schechter
Erica Scott
Kemble Scott
Mele Shaw
Simon Sheppard
Tom Simple
Talia Skye
Susan St. Aubin
Charlotte Stein
C. Stetson
Chancery Stone
Donna George Storey
Darcy Sweet
Rebecca Symmons
Mitzi Szereto
Cecilia Tan
Lily Temperley
Vinnie Tesla
Claire Thompson
Alexis Trevelyan
Alison Tyler
Gloria Vanderbilt
Vanessa Vaughn
Elissa Wald
Saskia Walker
Kimberly Warner-Cohen
Brian Whitney
Carrie Williams
Peter Wolkoff
T. Martin Woody
Beth Wylde
Daddy X
Lux Zakari
Fiona Zedde
Messalina, Devourer of MenMessalina, Devourer of Men
By: Zetta Brown
LL Publications
ISBN: 1905091117
June 2008





Reviewed By: Ashley Lister

Eva Cavell likes to go to the movies.  And, when she goes to the movies, she allows desperate strangers to fondle her in the dark.

I once encountered a woman like this at the cinema.  I complained to the manager.  I said, “Manager, there’s a woman in this cinema who allows desperate strangers to fondle her in the dark.

The Manager said, “Are you making a formal complaint?

I said, “Of course I am.  She keeps changing seats and I can’t find where she’s gone.

Sinning in the cinema is not all of the story in Messalina, Devourer of Men, but it introduces us to Eva and a few of the main issues she brings to the novel.  She lacks confidence, she feels she’s a few pounds overweight, and she’s conscious of a class-culture that subjugates her because of her race.  Either Eva is thinking we’re all the same size and colour in a darkened movie theatre, or she’s come across a much more satisfying way of being entertained whilst watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

Without wishing to sound mean, if there had been someone like Eva in the cinema when I went to see an epic showing of those Lord of the Ring movies, there’s a strong likelihood I might have stayed awake through the damned things.  Instead, I watched the first one up to the point where the characters started walking somewhere, and woke up when all the Hobbits were in bed together looking eerily excited and pleased with themselves in a scene that was more camp than a row of pink tents. 

I’ll say now, this is a well-written and entertaining story.  Zetta Brown can tell a compelling tale and she makes her characters rich, real and risqué.  Eva’s journey from being the beloved bane of The DeLuxe Theatre is strong in detail and always filled with sensuous, sexual developments.  Zetta Brown writes exciting erotic scenes but she’s not afraid to inject the fantastical fulfilment of passion with a healthy dose of realism. 

At the movie house, whilst enjoying a Thursday afternoon matinee performance, Eva encounters the smooth and irresistible Jared Delaney.  From there we enter the territory of an unconventional romance.  Jared and Eva begin to discover themselves (and each other) and slowly learn that what they want from life is not necessarily those things they have spent their years chasing.

But Zetta Brown’s eye for credible detail stretches beyond incredible naughtiness in the back row.  When Jared and Eva become an item they bring with them their baggage from her job and his previous relationships.  Their relationship is passionate and intense from the first moment, but this doesn’t mean that Zetta Brown doesn’t force Jared to go through the ritual of meeting Eva’s parents.  Nor does it mean that Eva gets to escape the trauma of having to work on a campus populated by spoilt, rich brats and ivory-tower superiors.  And this tapestry of background detail makes the story richer and more believable. 

Messalina, Devourer of Men is fun from beginning to end.  The characters in this story are deliciously realistic and, even though the situations sometimes border on the fantastical, they are always grounded in Eva’s pragmatic reactions and responses.  Faults are discovered, and either addressed, dealt with or accepted. 

It should come as no surprise that this story completes itself in relation to the cinema where Eva has been spending her Thursday afternoons.  At the beginning of the story she has been watching contrived stories of happiness and excitement whilst struggling to find a place for her own unfulfilled sexuality.  At the climax of the novel, Eva has contrived her own story and finally found the place where her needs can be satisfied.  As to whether or not she’s written her own “Happy Ever After” – that’s something you’ll need to find out from reading the book. 

All that I’m going to say is, if you get a kick out of passionate character interplay, breath-taking realism and well-written prose, then you should find Messalina, Devourer of Men to be a hugely entertaining and enjoyable read.