Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Oooh, what a twisty and devious book this was! It’s not mentioned in the blurb, and only hinted at in the beginning of the story, but there was a subtle paranormal aspect to it which was not what I expected it to be.
Martin is an artist, a painter, who waits tables in a trendy Miami restaurant to pay the bills. His friend/sometime lover/manager Melissa also works there with him, while she finds ways to promote and encourage his art, and makes sure that he is making money for both of them. One night when he walks into the restaurant for his usual shift, he notices a beautiful new young man working as a dishwasher. Martin is entranced, helplessly attracted, but also has that deja vu feeling that he knows this man. In a matter of a week he has convinced Andre to move in with him, and his attraction starts to turn into obsession. He paints frenziedly, always of Andre, and it is his best work yet. But there are ominous mutterings from Melissa – who has always been a bit mysterious and cagey with Martin – as well as frightening and intrusive new thoughts and feelings that get mixed up into Martin’s recurring nightmare of fire.
The foreshadowing was very nicely done, keeping the sinister impression going through most of the book, even during what should have been a very happy time for Martin and Andre as they enjoy the excitement of a new relationship. It was like having the Jaws theme playing continuously in the background, but in a good way! The uneasiness and disquiet come to a climax about two thirds of the way through the book, and Martin is left devastated and confused, and ultimately makes a deal with the devil (guess who that was?) to make sure he can be with Andre.
The plot was great. The writing was very good, and I really enjoyed how the sex was not presented as a detailed “he did this, and he responded like that”, but rather as a poetic rendering of what Martin saw and felt, both physically and emotionally. Truly, it was some of the most memorable writing in the book, even though the scenes were brief and infrequent. I considered giving the book 4 stars, but in the end, although I was attracted to the writing, I never really did connect with either Martin or Andre, or their relationship.
Despite that, I really enjoyed the book, and this author, who is new to me. I will be looking for more from her!
Cover Artist: AngstyG. Cover art is beautiful, and a fit to the brooding quality of the writing.
ebook, 116 pages
Expected publication: November 16th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163477793X (ISBN13: 9781634777933)