Thursday, November 8, 2012
Rent By Rick R. Reed
Reviewer: Jon Michaelsen
Publisher: MLR Press
“Sex can be a dangerous business. So can love…”
I could not have penned a better one-line mark to espouse the appeal of this new sexy romance thriller if I tried. Reed has returned with the release of his latest in fine form, returning to the murder-mystery, thriller genre fans have loved in his previous novels IM and Tricks, Obsessed, Crime Scene and Reckless, to name a few.
Readers of Reed’s earlier novel, Tricks, are treated to a sequel of sorts in that gay go-go bar, Tricks, features prominently within the storyline, with some mentions of previous characters – though not central to the plot. Rent easily stands on its own without reading its predecessor a requisite.
Wren Gallagher wants nothing more than to lose himself within alcohol’s nectar to chase the bad day away following his firing from a dead-end job he didn’t much care for anyway. Making matters worse, he’s somehow misplaced or lost his wallet, but all is not lost when a mysterious stranger steps forward to pay his tab and presents Wren with a rather tempting offer of richness -- and the promise of finding true love.
The stranger is the odd, rather diffident proprietor of À Louer, a male escort agency and he wants the nerdy handsome Gallagher to join his stable of boys for hire. Though initially uninterested, bad news and more unfortunate luck forces Wren to reconsider his financial alternates. He accepts the offer presented to him to become a high-end “whore”, as he refers. Yet what Wren did not expect, was to meet the man of his dreams so soon in Rufus, an older, wiser escort who is assigned to be Wren’s mentor.
On his first call, Wren is partnered with Rufus to perform for a client who only likes to watch, an opportunity to ease the young man’s apprehension, that which becomes the catalyst to the swooning of Wren’s heart. No sooner has Wren begun his newfound career of hustling his smooth, trim body for successful, often older closeted professionals, does news of the shocking murder of one of À Louer’s escorts stun Wren into quitting, but not before encroaching in the personal privacy of Rufus, an act of suspicion sure to drive the love of his life away from him.
Rent is an outstanding sexy, romantic thriller full of dark, deadly secrets as one after another escort is murdered within a short period. The novel is well-plotted and suspenseful, a surprising thriller that will keep readers on a roller coaster ride through the final pages, with a jaw-dropping shock or two near the end– a trademark Reed eminence in crime fiction.
This heart-wrenching romantic thriller is quite simply brilliant!