Title: King Perry
Author: Edmond Manning
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
A book from The Lost and Founds series.
In a trendy San Francisco art gallery, out-of-towner Vin Vanbly witnesses an act of compassion that compels him to make investment banker Perry Mangin a mysterious offer: in exchange for a weekend of complete submission, Vin will restore Perry’s “kingship” and transform him into the man he was always meant to be.
Despite intense reservations, Perry agrees, setting in motion a chain of events that will test the limits of his body, seduce his senses, and fray his every nerve, (perhaps occasionally breaking the law) while Vin guides him toward his destiny as ”the one true king.”
Even as Perry rediscovers old grief and new joys within himself, Vin and his shadowy motivations remain enigmas: who is this offbeat stranger guiding them from danger to hilarity to danger? To emerge triumphant, Perry must overcome the greatest challenge alone: embracing his devastating past. But can he succeed by Sunday’s sunrise deadline? How can he possibly evolve from an ordinary man into King Perry?
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
Who the hell is Vin Vanbly and why is he messing with my mind?
Those of us old enough will remember a cool television show in the early 1960s called Burke’s Law. Mr. Burke drove around Los Angeles in a gold Rolls Royce and did something each week to make someone’s life better. Just because he could. At eight years old, I watched it mostly for the car, but clearly the point of the story didn’t escape me.
Well, Edmond Manning’s King Perry is sort of the same thing. Vin Vanbly, a Minnesota auto mechanic, is on vacation in San Francisco again, and he happens to meet a thirty-four-year-old investment banker named Perry Mangin at a chic gallery opening. After a little harmless flirting, Vin realizes that Perry is a Lost King.
Vin Vanbly, auto mechanic, saves Lost Kings. He kings them. Therein lies the germ of the narrative: Perry Mangin, like it or not, is going to get kinged.
In the course of a weekend, Vin will lead Perry on what is a cross between a wild goose chase and a comic walk through the nine circles of hell. He will manipulate his heart and his mind. He will make love to him and fall in love with him without ever for one second letting up on the mental and emotional manipulation intended to save him.
The entire novel is written—and elegantly written—from Vin’s point of view. He is both folksy and poetic, alternately making us smirk at his schemes and gasp at the tender psychological buttons he pushes. He talks to us constantly as if we’re in on the whole plan; but the deceptive thing here is that Vin doesn’t really tell the reader much more than he’s told Perry. Thus we are never much more than a step ahead of the poor befuddled investment banker as we are dragged along with him from one unlikely adventure to another.
This is the genius of this book. Manning’s tale as told through Vin’s thoughts begins with dark generalities and feeds us with bits of light and truth as he shares what Vin knows, both about his date for the weekend and about his own checkered life. Like Perry, the reader is gradually pummeled into something like submission, as our vulnerabilities are laid bare and our emotions are tweaked and plucked until they’re stretched as taut as the strings of a cello.
The cello is important.
This remarkable novel is a bittersweet romance. There is no tragedy in this book, other than past tragedy. But neither is there a long-term relationship being built here. Vin himself is broken and, he would have us believe, too damaged to fix. He, too, is a Lost King, and apparently plans to stay lost. The strong undercurrent of compassion and tenderness that drives the narrative catches you up in its gentle grip and leaves you emotionally wrung out at the end.
While King Perry is not about happily-ever-after, it is about the healing power of love and trust. It is about the possibility of happiness. It is a strange and disorienting book, and more moving than my words can express, if only you’re open to Vin’s magical realism. All through Manning’s novel I kept asking myself Who is Vin Vanbly? At the end, some of my questions were answered, but only some. I am hoping that with the second of these books, King Mai, I’ll get some more answers.
I would like to thank Dreamspinner Press for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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