I don’t remember what made me pick up this book but damned if I didn’t love it. The editing is atrocious with misspelled words, missing words, and wrong italics littering the pages, but after a while I was so into the story itself I didn’t care anymore. I do think the book would benefit greatly from a decent editor and even a copyeditor, so for any picky readers that are sticklers for such things this book can drive you insane with all its flaws. Thankfully, the story itself engaged my attention to such a degree that I could not only forgive but also overlook such problems. The strong, stoic, morally bankrupt assassin protagonist usually works for me and Chance Assassin played him so very well. I think this will work well with fans of this type of protagonist.
Vincent narrates the story in first person, a young pretty teen that has gotten by on his looks after his parents died. He’s traded blow jobs for temporary places to stay after a disastrous relationship with his high school track coach ended with him on the streets. Now he’s gotten mixed up a bungled robbery turned homicide. Gravely injured Vincent must rely on a nearly silent Frank and his handler Charlie. Yet Vincent is not one to stay quiet and unassuming for long and soon his fascination with Frank changes his life. On the road and away from Charlie, Frank starts to teach Vincent to be a killer in his own right. Now if only Vincent could seduce Frank as well then life would be perfect.
This was a really interesting story and I honestly never wanted to put it down. In fact I almost called in sick to work simply so I could read uninterrupted and it’s been years since I felt that way about a book. To start the characterization was stunning. Vincent was rather annoying as the narrator but then again I assume a teenager with his life and past would be that way. Frank really stole the book for me but again I’m partial to those types of characters. I found the story’s ability to paint Frank with such depth and complexity really impressive given that the character doesn’t speak much for almost a third of the book. Even then most of the story was told through Vincent’s motor mouth but Frank has such intensity that he usually stole all the attention. His chemistry with Vincent is off the charts and the rare sex scene was dark, rough, and usually tinged with violence. This was actually one book I would have loved to have more sex scenes, something I *never* say.
The plot involves a fair bit of action and I liked how Vincent’s training to be an assassin mixed in with the jobs Frank was doing as a working assassin. Frank sometimes came across slightly too much of a luddite but I wasn’t bothered by this since Vincent was clearly much more knowledgeable in anything pop culture. The writing was warm, dark, and evocative. The story never shied away from blood and gore, going into detail about the various assassinations and honestly I loved it. This from a person that doesn’t even watch horror movies. The author did a really stunning job of balancing the inherent revulsion to such violence with the reaction of the characters that not only enjoyed what they did but also reveled it. These two have no moral qualms about killing but predictably have their own code of conduct they adhere to. I especially liked that the people who were killed were a mixture of good, bad and neutral. Sometimes they did bad things to be killed and other times not so much. It made up for a much more realistic look at humanity.
If the editing had been better this would be a five star read for me. As it is, it’s one I’ll definitely read again and highly recommend to readers who like darker erotica. Although, I will add the caveat that there’s not very much erotica to be honest. There’s one or two sex scenes with a few more references alluded to without being shown. Instead the story relies on the action of their profession and how the characters develop their relationship to advance the plot. In my opinion it worked incredibly well and I am looking forward to re-reading this one and hope there are more books on the horizon from this author.