“Punk rocker and sadomasochist Denny Bowie, a legwork guy for a private investigation firm, is out to find the killer of five masochistic men, as well as his childhood friend, fetish photographer Tommy Heat. He gets back with Penny Dallion, the goth-girl of his dreams, and is enthralled by his hot and androgynous new boyfriend Erin Marr. While investigating Tommy’s murder, Denny discovers pictures missing from Tommy’s meticulous collection. These photos not only hold the key to the killer’s identity, but may also prove Penny’s involvement in the murders. Embroiled in New York’s vibrant S&M subculture, Denny revisits old haunts: fetish clubs in Greenwich Village to find the killer who’s a step ahead of him – and maybe right behind him.”
Two things: I got a free copy of this book to review and I read this a week ago and I am still speechless. There is so much to say about this book, I have no real idea where to start.
I guess I will start with BDSM representation in the book, since that so often goes horribly wrong and goes into abuse territory really fast. This book had a great deal of consent and discussion before any sex happened with the main characters. It was even a general plot point that Denny and Nike were friends for years and got to know each others’ kinks well before they did anything at all. I liked that there was a great deal of variety of kinks that were discussed and used in the sex scenes that weren’t just basic bondage or blindfolds. However I hated that there was blood play shame in the book non-stop from Denny. He had a thing against HIV, but did not mention any other STD. The kink community is much more aware of other STDs and STIs for the most part because of what some of the kinks can entail.
I also didn’t like that the Denny said really transphobic things. There was no need to call the club a “tranny bar” or explain things the way he did. He was really homophobic and transphobic when it came to being with guys, despite being labeled as a bisexual character. And of course, the bisexual character had to date a man and a woman at the same time or he wouldn’t actually be bisexual.
Outside of my normal rants about representation of bisexuality and BDSM, this book was amazing. The plot advanced quickly. There were a lot of characters that didn’t blend together. The descriptions were done in a way that was in depth, but not overly flowery. It was a book that was well written, but also had a plot. Neither the plot or the writing style bogged down the book. It has been a long time since I have found a book that I would describe as smooth.
There was such a detailed description of the characters that I even made the mistake of thinking the dog, was a human. Dennis described one character as having a shark smile, so when he described the dog as the character’s dog I expected it to be a lackey or a person into puppy play. It sure made me laugh when the dog was actually a dog! That was all my own mistake, but the experience made me enjoy the book more.
The actual plot of the book is Denny comes into town to help solve the murder of his friend. Nike, his new girlfriend, sets it up with her high ranking police father to have Denny brought in. Then there is a side plot about the relationship Denny had with the photographer that got killed that was just killing me. I wanted to know more about that than anything else (well besides more sex scenes). The characters had such rich back stories and development that I just loved it.
Despite my whole two issues with the book, this book was fantastic.
4.5 out of 5 stars. I would highly recommend this book.
You can buy this book here.
Cross-posted on Amazon and Goodreads as promised to the author.