Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Wicked Templeton is not happy. Usually he is in total control of his life and that’s the way he likes it. But lately things are happening all around him that make him feel edgy and unsettled. First of all Ned has disappeared. No calls, no friendly break-ins at his home, no dinners or worst of all no sex. Plus someone is still targeting young gay men, torturing and killing them, putting many of his friends lovers at risk.
Then Wick finds out that his past has returned and is behind Ned’s disappearance. All Wick’s secrets have come back to play and that is a wickedly deadly thing to happen. Wick must first save Ned and then his circle of friends but at what cost to himself? When all the secrets are revealed, Wick’s life changes forever. Who will be left standing at the end?
Wicked Truths is the fifth in the Wicked’s Way series and is a marked departure from all the stories that preceded it. In those stories, Wick Templeton is almost supernaturally great at everything he does. He is quick with a quip or a gun, knows where the bad guys plan before they do and how to outsmart even the smartest criminal. Wick is also seemingly impervious to pain, angst and any form of commitment outside of friendship. A kind of James Bond outlook but much grittier and, of course, definitely gay.
But in Wicked Truths, many of the carefully crafted images we have of Wick is shattered. With Ned’s disappearance, we see cracks in the hard veneer Wick has created for himself over time. He misses Ned and hates that he does so. And as his life starts to spiral out of control, we get to see not only Wick Templeton’s beginnings but how that history has created the man Wick Templeton is today. True to form, this is not a happy past but one so torturous and twisted that everything about Wick and his personality becomes understandable.
Havan Fellows does a terrific job in bringing the horror and banal evilness that is Wick’s past to life. Her descriptions are succinct and perfectly reflective of the depraved personality at work behind the events that occur. Wick’s desperation is made all the more real because we have never seen the character in this mental and emotional state before. It’s a revelation as the truth about Wick shatters our assumptions about him and his character is created anew from the rubble around him.
The ending of the story is heartbreaking but leaves a path open for more. It’s realistic, grounded in Fellows characters and the lives they have built for themselves. And now I want more. So will you. What a tremendous series, what a compelling character! If you are new to the series, start at the beginning. Its necessary to understand the characters and all the events that follow.
Here is a small excerpt:
Wick opened the fridge and grabbed one of his hard ciders. In the middle of his second long swallow, he heard a strange ringing noise. Bottle still upturned at his mouth, he briefly glanced around. It came from the corner of his counter reserved for those uni-tasker appliances that he never messed with. If it wasn’t a toaster or coffee maker, he had no use for the damn things.
After setting the half empty bottle down, he walked across the kitchen to the ominous corner and moved the electric can opener—wasted appliance when he had a perfectly good handheld one.
There, tucked back in the corner, was a landline phone. When the fuck did he get a landline phone installed? He picked up the cordless phone and stared at the face of it as it rang for the umpteenth time. The whole thing lit up with each ring, and he could honestly say he’d never seen this damn thing before in his life.
He set it down ringing and took the three steps over to the other counter, leaning against it as he took another sip of his drink.
He watched that black piece of electronic plastic as he tilted the bottle to his lips, eyeing it like he expected it to do some sort of trick or something.
“That’s thirty,” he whispered as it kept with that damn annoying eighties ringtone. Either it was defective or someone who had a number he never even knew he had wanted to talk to him really badly.
Cover Art by Laura Harner. Perfect for the conflagration that is this story.
Wicked’s Way series in the order they were written and should be read: