Review: The First Cut (Gushers Series, Book 1) by Chuck Buda [audiobook]

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do you like a little bit of horror in your pornography? Or maybe a lot of pornography in your horror? Because if so, hoo boy, Chuck Buda has got a doozy for you with the first in his aptly titled Gushers series, The First Cut.

What ever are a bunch of sex-starved high school seniors supposed to do as they bide their time for graduation and the start of college but form a secret society among themselves to get their rocks off? What seems like a good idea quickly escalates into something more as power-hungry Zoe leads them off into darker realms with some cult-like practices, with some support from her second-in-command Spencer, a young man with a strong interest in the Dark Arts, and a lot of hot tub orgies. A lot. Of hot tub. Orgies.

The First Cut comes with a reader advisory warning, and Buda ain't messing around there. This sucker is explicit in its erotic endeavors and nothing is left to the imagination as Zoe leads all the boys around by their nether regions, and even a pair of the kid's parents engage in some secret extramarital shenanigans. There's plenty of taboo titillation throughout, but since this is a horror book some scenes veer pretty far from the Penthouse Letters style as these characters' hook-ups go from amorous to aberrant. All kinds of bodily fluids gush and spill and mix together as the group seek new thrills and new highs.

Cutting through all the sex and violence is a surprisingly sweet center in Aiden and Leah, the quiet ones of the group who find their friendship deepening and blossoming into something more meaningful as their closest friends grow ever more hedonistic. Their relationship isn't without its fair share of complications, obviously - being in an insane sex cult presents its own fair share of hurdles - but Buda makes good use of their position in the story as the moral middle, their mostly-normal relationship providing a necessary and much-needed break from the more extreme craziness.

Narrating all this madness is Lillie Ways, who delivers an even-keel and professional reading. She differentiates character voices enough to make those conversations lacking dialogue tags easy to follow, and keeps the book's 54 short chapters moving along a nice pace for its six hour run-time. All in all, The First Cut provides a pleasing, at times surprising, aural experience.

Readers looking for some hot-and-heavy erotic horror in the split veined style of the Hot Blood anthologies should have a good time with The First Cut. These cherry-popping cultists will do you right...just before they do you very, very wrong.

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Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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