The wild new ride from Gutter Books takes the Fifty Shades of Grey phenom out of the bedroom and straight into the gutter. It's fun, fast and satisfying but you probably want to look elsewhere for masturbation material.
Fifty Shades of S.O.L. by T.C. Guise
|At Gutter Books|
KINDLE or PRINT
Guise sets the stage for this spectacularly effed up story with retro-noir lines like this description of the dead woman: "She was built like a filing cabinet with the top drawer pulled out." Guise is not afraid to make the characters unsympathetic--at one point the panicked Senator looks at a burn victim who is looking for a payday and refers to her as a "fucking campfire marshmallow." Needless to say, she does not consider it a compliment. When the Senator's fixer arrives, he takes one look at the mess he's walked into and his first question is, "Do you think you're a Kennedy?" Locke's good at what he does but the Senator just keeps making the wrong move, and by the time he hooks up with a Goth girl fleeing her pedophile stepdad, there's no way any of this is going to come out right.
The story has twists and turns and enough reality to make us buy the frantic efforts of all concerned as they try to fix the unfixable. People die, and not necessarily the people we expect to die. That aspect of the story is very satisfying, but there's just not enough sex. We get a single description of Luke's engorged penis flopping out of Barbie before the story changes gears and goes off into a tale of cynical politicians, panicked citizens and way too many people with cell phones. We feel a little bit like we've been cheated--like maybe the writer should have given us a bit more than novella-length mayhem and should have heated things up a little more.
Which brings us into the narrative in an intimate way but it might have been interesting to get the viewpoint of the dead woman, whose back story turns out to be right out of a conspiracy theory. (Locke, the Senator's fixer, turns out to be a shadowy DC insider involved in everything from smoothing over a rape by a Bush relative, to the death of Vince Foster.) Toward the end, the story veers into political thriller territory, with the sex as a lure. That's fine, but again, in some ways this is a dry hustle, teasing us with the mention of the bondage and then not delivering it. Modern women want it all--the violence AND the sex. Tie us up, tie us down and bring the complications. This is a fun and fast read but it doesn't leave us reaching for our vibrators, if you know what I mean.