Sick And Tragic Bastard Son by Rowan Massey

 

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Book cover designed by BetiBup33 Studio Design

I would rate this 4.75 stars.

The title says it all really. This is a young man with mental health issues who, on his 18th birthday, finds out his biological father lives in the next city over. Apparently he left them right after Zander’s birth, and he is actually gay even though he started a new family with another woman. Since that is Zander’s hunting ground for older gay men to have sex with, he starts to obsess whether he might have already had sex with his own father. Sometimes, he can’t tell his real memories from his fake memories. Since much of the book is in Zander’s point of view, it makes this all incredibly dark and twisted. His need for revenge for the father that abandoned him becomes all consuming. Of course the fantasy that his life would have been different if his father has been around, because he would be well adjusted, is just a fantasy. This is someone seriously disturbed.

There are many parts of this that are psychologically interesting. The Westermarck effect hypothesizes that sexual disinterest happens with those with whom you spent most of your early life. Genetic sexual attraction (GSA) is the term coined by Barbara Gonyo in the 1980s. Apparently some adoption agencies estimate that elements of GSA occur in 50% of reunions between parents and children that have been separated at birth; this can also occur with siblings. These relationships can often turn dark and obsessive, even revenge for perceived abandonment has been documented, so this book is not farfetched at all, even when speaking of supposedly mentally healthy individuals. So, that’s where I expected this story to go. That’s not what happens here, at least on Zander’s side, but might help explain Clay’s attraction to Zander because the phenomenon happens whether you know you are related or not. This is not Daddy kink or incest kink either, although there are explicit scenes–they aren’t erotic, they just make everything complicated. The fact that they fall in love makes it all so much more devastating. It’s really just a sad story about the multigenerational life traumas of a family, made worse by Zander’s mental instability. In effect, he retraumatizes himself and takes everyone else along with him.

The beginning, the setup, is difficult to get into because almost all of this takes place in Zander’s head with very little dialogue. Once it’s setup, the story really kicks in. The fact that it’s very well thought out and written lured me into this incredibly disturbing tale. The author gives flashbacks to how being a bastard affected Zander when he was growing up, combined with the depression his mom Leona suffered from, it’s not difficult to see how he fell through the cracks. The drinking and drug use doesn’t help either of them. Obviously mental illness is sometimes hereditary. Since the reader doesn’t experience Leona’s point of view, it’s difficult to tell. Either way, this woman is a horror and Zander was let down by everyone, society included. By the time it switches to Clay’s point of view, we see he is in a rut and lonely. He’s distraught over the loss of his son, who he knows just turned 18. The reader gets his story at the same time as Zander and it changes the whole plot. Woven in are flashbacks to Clay’s childhood and his own traumas. This also layers in more information about Leona and her family. Be aware there is violence to animals in this story. What all of these tales show are the failings of the grandparents and parents involved in dealing traumatic events, so that as adults these people continue to make bad decisions and perpetuate the damage.

Zander’s sister Lottie is someone who might have come through this relatively unscathed if not for the infiltration of Zander into her life. Of course, he was already there and she suffered the effects of him, she just didn’t know it. The scenes of them as friends, although Lottie wanted more until she realizes Zander is gay, show glimpses of might have beens. The last third showing some of the events in her point of view brought me desolation as I realized if she has children, this cycle will just continue as I’m sure it did in Clay’s brother’s children. Her mom could actually get her some good counseling, but I felt no hope this would happen.

This was always a train that was going to run off the tracks; every moment careens towards a horrific conclusion. This is where the author shows some compassion, because if the whole ending had been in Clay’s head, I might not have been able to bare it. Switching points of view did leave me some welcome ambiguity. Even the final moments with Zander, while painful, are left open ended–I am left to write my own ending. What is he diagnosed with? Will he get the help he needs? Will he go to prison? Will he be institutionalized? Is any of this forgivable? I want to cry because I understand all of this, and wish I didn’t.

Rowan Massey’s Website

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Intoxicating (Elite Protection Services #1) by Onley James — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5 I like my erotic romances with some depth and this fit the bill. There are many triggers in this book so please pay attention to the tags: past and present abuse, off page rape, self harm, flashbacks, alcohol, drugs, and suicide attempts. Of course, this all means the hurt/comfort […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Intoxicating (Elite Protection Services #1) by Onley James — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Strength of His Heart (Enhanced World #4) by Victoria Sue — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 Book four focuses on Vance who comes from a family of law enforcement, and his new partner Samuel who left working for the DEA and ATF to join the enhanced FBI unit. One of Samuel’s informants will only speak to him, so they are actually on loan to the […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Strength of His Heart (Enhanced World #4) by Victoria Sue — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Who We Truly Are by Victoria Sue, Enhanced World 2

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Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

I would rate this 4 stars.

Book two of the series starts off with Finn, who was about to get some real tactical training, instead being pulled to go undercover at a group home as a 17 year old enhanced. Enhanced kids are going missing from foster homes, some ending up murdered. Talon is being over protective of Finn and they’re having a little friction working together and being lovers.

Undercover, Finn meets the enhanced kids at the home including Liam, whose dad used to work for Alan Swann from book one. He’s talking about creating a boarding school for enhanced, but it sounds like incarceration. Liam’s situation is heartbreaking. There are several enhanced kids introduced so if we keep seeing them in future books, they could be a series of their own as the next generation. Of course, Finn being Finn mananges to find trouble several times throughout the book. I like that he wants to save people, but he doesn’t really have the training and he keeps getting his ego hurt when people point that out. It’s been eight weeks and he can barely shoot a gun; he trained as an accountant. Part of the fun in this series is Finn geeking out over trivia and facts, so that continues.

One of the main issues is the ENu, who have the authority to sedate, transport, and forcibly detain an enhanced. It doesn’t matter whether that enhanced is a child or an adult. Most ENu seem to love their job and hate enhanced. When Jake Riley doesn’t fit that mold, he starts to have problems with his co-workers. I don’t want spoilers about the plot so this continues with the main mission, which is rescuing kids. The kids being murdered seems like a different case, so I expect that will continue on in book three. Since each enhanced is supposed to be partnered with a regular human, it’s not a suprise when Jake joins the team and I expect that partnership to be the focus of next book. Here, we finally get someone trained as law enforcement as former SWAT.

Here Talon’s backstory gets filled in when his mother arrives to try and bully him into politics. The pieces of how he met Gael and Vance are added to the puzzle. Talon’s abilities are evolving and he’s taken into custody after a dangerous incident. As usual, this affects the team and the politics involved in keeping the unit going come into play. There is a bit more of Eli seen in this book but him and Sawyer are the least fleshed out at this point. A little more levity and team bonding would go a long way here.

This book advances the plot lines quite a bit, but even though the sex scenes are hot, the romance between Finn and Talon is giving me whiplash. These guys need to work on their insecurities and actually talk to each other like mature adults. There is angst on both sides as we get the alternating POVs and I want to smack them both–Talon more often than Finn. In fact, it’s Finn who really cracks himself wide open in this book so I expect Talon to step up now or I am going to get irritated. I still love these guys though.

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Review: Changing Faces by Cole McCade, Criminal Intentions Season 1 Episode 4

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Cover Artist: Cole McCade Cover Design Template: Les Solot http://www.fiverr.com/germancreative

I would rate this 3.75 stars.

This is episode four and starts in the vile mind of Tim Mitchell, who is then killed. Good riddance. This is a domestic violence case. The break-up between Anjulie and Anya was coming, and it was up close and personal. Then, it picks back up from the last episode with Seong-Jae in the hospital with Malcolm when Malcolm’s ex-wife Gabrielle comes in…and then moves in with him to help him while he’s injured. Oh boy. Anjulie and Gabrielle went to law school together. It’s good to see the coroner Cara make friendship overtures to Seong-Jae. This case really tests Seong-Jae’s ethics, and shows us more of who he is. The weird thing haunting him is here, along with another crime scene clue. We finally have a name to go with what is happening, Sila. Seong-Jae testifies aginst his old partner, causing his face to go nationwide, and the police in the BPD finally know who he is.

This episode is strange. Beside the UST, which is ever present, the episode lacked a lot of Malcolm, making me miss the dynamic between them while working a case. It allows the audience to get to know Seong-Jae better, but that might not be a good thing as he is much less likeable than Malcolm, and this didn’t give me anything to change my mind. Seong-Jae’s overarching plot that doesn’t yet involve Malcolm, moved forward, but to what end? What is happening, before seemed like mental illness, now seems like a real person. The issue is unless this goes paranormal (please no), I don’t think having a real someone leaving all these clues at difference crime scenes is possible. This was not my favorite episode, but it did forward a few plot points.

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Review: Criminal Intentions, The Man With The Glass Eye, Season One Episode Three By Cole McCade

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Cover Artist: Cole McCade, Cover Design Template: Les Solot

Cole McCade Criminal Intentions Season 1 Episode 3

This is a serial written like a TV show crime drama. We get a novel each month. As such, you will like some better than others, each episode so far has had its own murder to solve, but there are over arching storylines for the whole season. I would recommend you read these in order for maximum enjoyment. There are content (re:trigger) warnings in the front of each episode. Since this is a crime drama based on two homicide detectives, one should assume explicit, graphic violence. If you read the content warnings, there will be spoilers galore, so I would recommend skipping them if you don’t need them. This series is completely inclusive of all peoples so if that bothers you, don’t read it.

If you want to see my review for episode one or episode two, click on the links.

We start this episode with a bit of a retread of Malcom, being Malcolm with the usual stranger and hangover. His interactions with Seong-Jae make me laugh, but I am used to men with a dry, sarcastic, or dark sense of humor. To continue the dynamic, Malcolm is trying to not be attracted to Seong-Jae, and Seong-Jae is trying to not be jealous of the boy toys whilst hiding behind judgement of Malcolm for dereliction in his duty for turning his phone off whenever he has sex. Their undercover work in this episode goes a little too far. The UST (unrequited sexual tension) is ratched up to a fevered pitch in this episode, which may be too much too soon, straining their relationship. We follow them through their rituals while working the case, or is it cases? Even they aren’t sure.

In this episode, a junkie is executed and there is a tenuous connection to our last case because of a Hookah bar themed like an opium den, previously owned by the late Marion Garvey. We know Malcolm used to work in narcotics, but Seong-Jae seems to know a lot about addiction. Lillienne Wellington is now a major investor/owner in all Marion’s businesses. She also has control of Maximilian’s holdings. She and her father are both out on bail. Does she know about the illegal parts of the business(es) or not? Did someone set Maximilian up to kill Marion?

One of the things I love about this author is the writing style. Having said that, one of my favorite books so far this year is Over And Over Again, also by this author, and the writing is very different in many ways, as is the subject matter. This author has a lot of range and depth.

As ever, the dual POV is there for us to immerse ourselves in Malcolm’s and Seong-Jae’s psyches. It is the little things, mundane intimate moments between them, that make us catch our breath. The reason this works so well is that the moments–the humor, the fights, the sniping–are so real.

During a stakeout of Jason Huang, the drug dealer we met last episode, he is receiving goods marked for shipment to Wellington Industrial. The plot thickens. Sade pops up out of nowhere! But, we knew they were up to something and now we get to see what that something is (sort of). Is Sade dirty, or undercover? What did they mean warning Malcolm about Seong-Jae? And what are they doing with Jason Huang? We know there has to be dirty cops…

I don’t even care they caught the killer at this point because I want to know all the things.

Our world expands with Jason’s POV and then we get a sense of someone, possibly someone we haven’t been introduced to yet, pulling the strings. Time will tell.

I will say there is a sneak peek of the next episode and it is a gruesome murder from an abuser’s POV, so if that will bother you, be warned. The author answers questions from fans at the end of the book, so you can find out more interesting info.

I love this series. I would rate this 4 stars.

Unfortunately, this author only sells on Amazon right now and just took down his Patreon.

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