They Came To Sin
By Don Holliday
Publisher: Corinth Publications
Series: Nightstand Books NB1806
To enjoy They Came To Sin, I had to rid myself of preconceptions about where the story was supposed to go. Like many people born after 1960, I was raised on a diet of teen slasher films. When presented with a tale of oversexed college kids who go on a trip and veer off the beaten path, I expect most of them to die horribly at the hands of some guy in a goalie mask.
But this is not a flick, slasher or otherwise. These four kids, thumbing their nose at bourgeois morality go on a two-week journey and…who cares? They’re annoying and the best parts of the book are enhanced by their absence. Don Holliday seems to agree as these characters make themselves scarce for about half its length. Sure, they arrive at the inn, act smug, and do their share of fornication while there. The real story though, at least what did it for me, was of the people running the place.
Proprietors Mrs. Cabal and her daughter Rebecca hate sin because it is, well, sinful. They are none too pleased about the arrival of their libertine young guests but are content to vent their displeasure with a few derisive sneers behind their backs. When it comes to lashing out at wickedness, the two have plenty to keep them busy without involving outsiders.
Rebecca’s younger sister Elizabeth has gone insane, leaving her feral and decidedly lacking in sexual restraint. She is locked in a cage stark naked to keep her on the straight and narrow.
This may seem like an effective tactic but in practice, the victory of family values over indecency is far from total. Ajax, the mute, deformed, and retarded porter visits Elizabeth when his sexual urges get the better of him. Though the young woman is an eager participant, neither mom nor sister condone the encounter. Ajax must be punished.
They keep a whip handy in the basement for just such occasions. While Elizabeth watches and howls like an animal, Mrs. Cabal and Rebecca take turns torturing the man. The daughter is by far the crueler of the two and aims the whip straight for the groceries.
Lest you think that Rebecca is motivated only by sadism, the author gives us a clue that her own shame and guilt over her own lust are at work here. On occasion, she masturbates (gasp) and when she does, her penance for the deed is to leave her door unlocked so Ajax can lumber in and have his way with her. She makes a point of protesting the dullard’s advances but not enough to dissuade him. Her words may say no but her body is pulling his neck wallet and begging for more.
Then the story gets weird.
We learn about the father, no slouch himself in the special-needs department, who mistakes his daughter for his wife and does something really inappropriate as a result. Mom walks in on the two of them and he dies in the ensuing battle. We discover what chain of events drives a wedge between the sisters’ once sapphic closeness, reducing one to a naked beast in a cage and turning the other into a pillar of sadomasochistic puritanism.
When the guests finally do reemerge toward the end of the book, they understandably find themselves out of their element. College can only prepare you for so much.