This novel is essentially gay porn doubling as wish fulfilment. The hero Brant is both beautiful and intelligent. There are explicit sex scenes. There are some very mixed-up emotions. Brant is beaten and whored out by a vicious gangster; Brant adores him. Most of the characters are brutal thugs or victims; Brant is usually submissive victim but can turn thug. The author's psychological insight seems to be that people can be trained like unruly puppies and that when, once beaten or cowed into submission, they lick the hand that feeds them the expression in their eyes is one of love.
It is a self-published book and it suffered from the lack of a good copy editor: there were misspellings and some sentences that didn't make sense. And perhaps curtail the author's use of the expression 'toasty warm'.
There were some haunting scenes:
- The confrontation in which Brant offers to be a prostitute in the place of his sister
- The family reunion where Brant's past is revealed to those of his sisters who were unaware of it; their shocked reactions.
- The lovers' tiff after which Brant is left in the street: "Now, I think I know what a family dog feels like when it gets dumped off on the side of the road." (p 58)
There were also potentially brilliant scenes:
- Brant's first porn film. Up to this point, so far as the reader is aware, Brant has never experienced gay sex. In the film he is penetrated both orally and anally. This must have been a traumatic experience yet the author is more interested in the plot.
- The family reunion. His sisters have just found out that Brant has been a male whore for five years so that they could live normal lives. Yes, they might be disgusted but this should have been a lot more grand opera than the little tiffs we had here.
All of the mixed up morals needed far more exploration than given here.
I did at one stage think that this was a retelling of the Faust story. Perhaps it was. It could have been a fantastic story; I read it on the basis of the premise and the premise is great. But I was too disappointed by the potential not met to enjoy it properly.
With a less perfect central protagonist and a slower telling of some of the key moments this could have been a great book.
July 2017, 250 pages