Desert Isle Keeper
Suede probes the delicate line between childhood and adulthood in this romance using the incubus Scratch that Suede created for his paranormal novella Horn Gate. This time around, however, it’s Scratch’s comic book creator Trip Spector and makeup genius Silas Goodsby who reign in a spritely romance that cuts to the bone.
Trip and Silas bump into each other at a Central Park zombie run which Trip is filming for a friend’s blog site and for which Silas is dressed as one of the zombies. Their attraction is instantaneous, so in the hands of other romance authors after they hook up, this would be the end of the story.
But Suede has so much more up his sleeve than boy-meets-boy, boys-fall-in-love, boys-live-happily-ever-after.
Trip and Silas are modern-day Peter Pans, and their jobs help them stay that way. But relationships, real relationships, take more work than simply being in love and compatible sexually as they find out. Since neither has even been in a relationship before, understanding the concept of working together and supporting each other take a while to figure out. This is particularly true of Trip who is such an introvert that he has built up mechanisms to keep those who really want to get close to him at bay. It takes a particularly precocious child to blast Trip from his comfort zone and make him responsible for his actions.
While the outgoing Silas might seem the more grown up of the two, he also has his hang-ups. When a rift threatens to separate him from Trip, Silas refuses to make the first move at reconciliation. True, he’s the offended party, but like Trip, even though he’s never been in a true relationship, he should be more open to understand and forgive.
The outward trappings of the central story might be a little mundane and predictable, and if this made up the entire package, the novel wouldn’t be as remarkable as it is. Fortunately, Suede is a more accomplished writer who transcends the merely mundane.
For one thing, not only are Trip and Silas characters that readers will instantly know and respond to, but the supporting characters – Trip’s and Silas’ close friends, co-workers, and bosses – are so true to life that readers will think Suede has peeked into their lives. Since the novel takes place in New York City and is peppered with people who want to get ahead in the cut-throat worlds of creativity and illusion, not all the peripheral characters are nice, but they sure are ruthlessly real.
Also, Suede studs the tale with jargon, quotes, quips, and anecdotes from the worlds of comics, television, movies, and popular entertainment. Trip and Silas are the magicians producing the illusions we wallow in throughout our lives, and Suede knows how to build both the glamour and the disillusionment that drive people in the industries to keep going. Readers will relish the pop culture allusions they are familiar with and eat up those they aren’t aware of, coming away thinking they’ve peeked behind the curtains and seen what actually goes on.
In addition, Suede’s blunt, nearly cryptic writing style mirrors the volatile, creative work worlds so closely that even if readers miss all the pop culture allusions, they will still feel the excitement of creation and the terror of putting oneself or one’s creation on display for the world to critique. Eggshell promises and two-faced friends, co-workers, and bosses make up the landmines that creators must navigate to survive.
As Suede weaves all these pieces together into a seemingly simple romance, he interjects zingers of truthful observation that will set readers back and cause them to stop reading and ponder the nugget they’ve been given and compare it to realities in their lives.
A teeny caveat: This is a nerd’s novel written for nerds, so for the maximum enjoyment a reader should love comic books, cheesy TV shows, dork movies, and celebrity gossip. Also, the book contains almost wall-to-wall male sex and talk of male sex and genitals. Be warned. But if you want to read something totally different, entertaining, and uplifting, this is the novel for you.