I’m not sure I should be advertising the competition but I asked to review this book after reading a guest blog, on The Novel Approach, by Rafe Haze. In this post he mentioned that the book is being called a gay Rear Window after I stopped punning, I rushed to read this novel, as I love Hitchcock films and that one is particularly involved. So here is what I discovered…
Author: RAFE HAZE
Publisher: WILDE CITY PRESS
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
He never thought he’d become one of the agoraphobic sludges of New York City—trapped with one view of a courtyard and a head full of wrenching memories. Dumped, disconnected, and depressed, he surrenders to spying on the neighbors as his only entertainment.
Until one day, without warning, the lascivious and suspicious behavior of the closeted lawyer in the huge apartment across the courtyard leads him to a spine-tingling conclusion… his neighbor is a murderer.
Perhaps collaborating with the beautiful and fierce Detective Marzoli to catch the killer can finally breathe life back into a man suffocated by the stranglehold of a tragic past. Unless the killer across the way decides to make him… The Next.
The first few chapters of this novel are scene setting, and in particular showing us why this otherwise healthy but down on his luck songwriter, is confined to his apartment. In the film the MC is confined to a wheelchair with a broken leg, but this disability would not have worked in this novel, or in these modern times. The author’s description of a descent into agoraphobia and depression is creative and expresses the emotions beautifully,
Sergeant Flunky tried calling back and received my voicemail, which was the equivalent of tossing message in a bottle down a dry well.
This novel is written in the first person, which it would have to be as the Main Character is alone so much, and it lets us look into his thought processes. In chapter three, one reason for the title ‘The Next’ is explained and as the blurb mentions being the next victim of a murderer is another. However, he is steadily becoming ‘the Next’ lost soul in New York, possibly ‘the Next’ lonely eccentric, ‘the Next’ homeless person or suicide victim. Chapter Three is where things begin to change as he reaches rock bottom,
…pointing my sunken eyes at the television and imagining the sound and sight of the impact that evil glass and metal apparatus would make if I dropped it off a gargoyle at the top of the Chrysler Building. Or imagining dropping myself off that gargoyle…
He also attributes his resulting agoraphobia to his waiting for ‘the Next’ thing to happen,
Perhaps waiting for the Next is what eroded my desire to exit. Then my ability to exit. The gradual dismissal of all external stimulus, inch by inch, imprisoning me within a six-hundred and fifty square foot cell…
The irony is that the deaths of two young gay men indirectly saves our main character’s life because it brings the police detective Marzoli, forcibly into his life. Marzoli replaces the female character, played by Grace Kelly in the old film, and is, crisply turned out at all times, and it seems interested in our hero. Marzoli is obviously ‘the Next’, but after all the waiting, our MC’s low self esteem and disgust at what he has become, does not allow him to believe this or accept it. The fact that he has just broken up with ‘Johanna’ his girlfriend, does not seem to be an obstacle to his acceptance of attraction to another man. His greatest obstacle is more that he cannot believe that such a man would seriously want him.
The sexual tension between the MCs is incredible, highly enjoyable and underlines their whole relationship. The writing style is reminiscent of film noir at its best, and the storyline and relationship twists are layered so that the reader is drip fed information and kept in a permanent state of tension and wanting to know more.
There are so many quotes and incidents I could put in this review, but I came upon this novel knowing very little which, meant I could enjoy it as the author intended and I would like you to as well.
One last intrigue…you may have noticed I never give the main character a name and that is because I don’t know it 😉
I would like to thank Wilde City 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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