Review: Permanent Ink

Permanent InkPermanent Ink by Jaime Samms
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This short story plays off a minor character from “Goodbye Scrooge.” You don’t need to read the previous book at all as there is little to no cross over. Instead this new story focuses on giving a happy ending to an odd couple. The writing is decent and the story has all the right elements: complex characters, minor tension, a graphic sex scene, supporting friends, and so on but it never came together for me. Instead I finished the story glad it was over and not particularly caring for the main couple. I actually liked the m/f couple better.

The narrator is Eric, the minor character from the previous story. Eric supposedly gets bored easily with lovers and has had a crush on his best friend’s cousin, Dwayne. Dwayne has a sketchy past including time in prison which has left scars on his body and heart. Outwardly arrogant, Dwayne puts up a good front to hide his brittle emotions. As Eric peals away the layers he realizes his crush is actually quite a bit more.

The story is character driven as Eric and Dwayne dance around each other than finally get together. The development of their personalities is decent as Dwayne comes across as a complicated man. His past in jail and the affects are well done, but they almost needed more room to grow. He comes across as likable and interesting yet not entirely three dimensional. In the beginning Dwayne is very cocky and self assured, confident in his appeal to Eric. Then this seems to change suddenly once Eric knows of Dwayne’s past and then Dwayne’s confidence comes back. The back and forth is understandable yet feels too rushed and superficial to let the reader appreciate all the subtly involved.

Likewise Eric is decent but I couldn’t quite connect with him. He makes some offhand comments about Dwayne that aren’t flattering but provoke really strong reactions in both Dwayne and secondary characters that didn’t seem warranted. It’s an easy way to create tension and force the two main characters together but never is quite genuine. In fact I like Eric’s best friend and his girlfriend the most as they have the most chemistry and interest on the page. Eric and Dwayne are nice in theory but their chemistry never came across.

One other thing to note is that the cover is just random. While Dwayne is a black man and Eric is white, their descriptions don’t match the cover models at all. This probably won’t matter to readers but I have to say I actually stopped reading to compare the cover to the descriptions and was pretty surprised by how off they were. Overall I didn’t particularly like this offering from Samms but I still like the idea of it.

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