Author: David Connor
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Cover Artist: London Burden
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/29/2015
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Crime Fiction, Drama, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, Historical, Horror
Years ago, Penn’s lover was attacked in the woods, and most think Penn is to blame—including Penn. Ever since, he’s been a prisoner in his home and his mind. When world renowned architect Ewan Parish arrives to construct a secure, enclosed walkway through those woods, Penn is surprised, suspicious, and also fearful.
Ewan finds himself intrigued by the mysterious, reclusive Penn, his journals, and the beautiful artwork he’s drawn, which Ewan recreates in iron scrollwork. Determined to free Penn, Ewan sets out to unravel the mystery that has resulted in Penn’s imprisonment by his family and conscience all these years…
You have no idea what you’re getting into when you start this book. At least I didn’t, not for this improbable fairytale of sorts, with major family secrets, unexpected twists, aspects that border on the order of a horror story, along with love and never ending hope, something that literally couldn’t be stopped.
In the beginning, the writing felt like it was trying too hard, but then it quickly fell into place and good pace. This, like many things about this story, the details, the characters, gave it a dreamlike quality. You know when something, a detail, feels just slightly off, yet definitely right enough that it just has to be real? That. All up in this joint. Most of all, once the writing settled, I was firmly inside Penn’s head, and his heart.
Speaking of, Penn is Pennsylvania Aloysius Dupree, while Ewan is Ewan Parish, famous architect brought to the family homestead by Penn’s sister to build… well, something. I know that’s vague, and it won’t be the last time that happens in this review, but I don’t want to give a single thing away.
”You’ve been spoken with so little, but told too many things.”
This is the crux of it, of Penn’s existence, for a very long time. It’s also what made me angry for him, for his life that is a result of ignorance on the part of others, and ignorance on his own because he was fed a false line by those very others. Penn is caring, and understanding, so strong, he feels so much. He’s a good person made to hide from everything, treated like a monster who can’t be killed because, ya know, he’s NOT a monster.
As I mentioned, the beginning got off to a bit of a rough start but quickly found its way. It flows well, with a few instances of word choice creating a stumbling block to intentioned meaning. A reread of that sentence usually solved that.
This story is definitely a strange brew. Odd and beautiful and sad, with a bit of horror mixed in. So many secrets. Family secrets. The kind that never manage to remain unrevealed forever, most of the time not even surviving one generation before they explode in ugly, mind-blowing, sickening ways. The hope is that, once the flames burn out, something is left to salvage, to love. My head was spinning!
This is emotional, with fear, uncertainty, devotion, and so many other things radiating off the page, especially from Penn himself.
It’s safe to say I haven’t read a story exactly like this ever before in terms of presentation, setting, and certain details. At the same time, its easily recognizable in the ways and whys of the characters and how they feel.
This is the second story that I’ve read by David Connor and, despite being completely different, it gave me a great reading experience and left me thinking about it long after having finished, just like Herm I.T.
I would like to thank the publisher 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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