I Tell You It’s Love

by Joe R. Lansdale

“The beautiful woman had no eyes, just sparkles of light where they should have been–or so it seemed in the candlelight.”

I Tell You It’s Love is the macabre tale of two lovers and their dangerously escalating pain fetishes. When their desires rise to the point they’re no longer able to satisfy each other, they begin including others in horrific ways. Although the story was originally published in 1983, if reading it for the first time here in this edition you’ll be tempted to look at the production as mainly an art book with an accompanying short story.

The story contains a few great lines but is not one of Lansdale’s popular, rip-roaring barn burner types, and it’s impossible to get on the side of either of the two lovers considering the story length and the sadistic subject material.

The artwork is another matter altogether. Daniele Serra’s dark swirls of watercolor paint a dismal world, but a world that’s intricate and alive. Nearly every frame has a bewitching quality. A number of them, especially some of the larger, full-page pieces, are quite stunning.

In the end, if looking strictly at story this is somewhere around a 2. It’s not bad at all, but doesn’t seem to be the heightened storytelling we’ve come to expect from the mind of Mr. Lansdale. If you’re looking for art, this is a 4 at minimum.

There’s a lot to like in this well-produced, full color hardcover, but mileage will certainly vary.

3- stars

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