Candy from Strangers: A Gay Erotic Thriller – Joey Jameson (Chances Press)

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Buy it now at Amazon.com

Okay, this review will be mean. If you’re a delicate
creature unused to critical battery, you might want to tuck your head under
your wing and wait for the next Indigo Author to come along. Because—despite
its unaccountable four and five star Amazon reviews—Candy from Strangers
is not sweet. It’s barely palatable.

Dylan leads a sedate life, working at his restaurant and
going out with his best girlfriend, Flynn, but that all changes when handsome,
charming Darien moves in across the street. One afternoon of margaritas leads
to a few dates, then a few dinners, then before you know it, Dylan and Darien
have a relationship. That’s when the cracks start to show, and Dylan realizes
Darien might not be so perfect after all.

Everything about Candy from Strangers is thin and
threadbare, starting with the length. Jameson attempts to pull off this
thriller in less than 90 pages; an ambitious task even for a professional let
alone someone who repeatedly spells laid “layed.” The characters are
insubstantial and nothing more than names on a page. If it weren’t for
merciless dialogue tags, I’d be hard pressed to keep track of who’s speaking.

Even when Candy from Strangers managed to gather some
momentum, the syntax, grammar, and punctuation problems jerked me out of the
narrative again. And if I’d been able to overlook the messy sentence structure
and continual comma errors, the problem of Jameson’s clunky, cluttered prose
remains—too many adverbs, too many pronouns without referents,
and…way…too…many…ellipses…especially…in…the…dialogue…

This needs editing with a chainsaw, but then it’d be down to
42 pages.

The sex scenes are more run-on sentence orgies than erotica.
I counted one paragraph of thirty-six breathless lines strung together with a
gaggle of pronouns so repetitive, I lost track of whose cock was whose halfway
in. On the page as well as in real life, fucking works better if you breathe
now and then.

Even the big plot twist (which I won’t reveal—I’m not a total
asshole) is less a twist than a cheat. Such a twist needs to be subtly
foreshadowed, so that when the big reveal comes, the reader thinks back and
smacks his forehead, wondering how he could have missed the clue. Plus,
thrillers work on tension and detail, two items quite beyond Candy from
Strangers
.

Read this, if you must, as a cautionary tale. A primer on
how not to edit. A workbook with exercises that sacrifice attention to detail
for broad strokes leading to a “shock” ending. Or better yet, read something
else.

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©, 2013, Jerry Wheeler

 

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