Pursued is due for release on December 18th, 2012. This was an advance reading copy supplied to me for an honest review.
- Review by Kazza K
The basic premise of Pursed is three young women from the local university, Stratburgh, have gone missing. It's made the news - the "Sorority Sisters" - the students are rallying, but Jamie, the books primary MC, doesn't care, he doesn't know these people, it gets in the way of him finding a man that could be his dream date....or sex. He wants some love, a relationship, a date if he can get it. He has three friends Ellen, his hag, Eddie, his best friend, and Andy who lives with Eddie. Ellen's 21st birthday bash is about to happen, and Jamie is hoping for some action. He links up with Swedish exchange student, and hunk, Sven. However a police bust on the house, after noise complaints, ruins Jamie's 'close encounter' with Sven. Ellen and Jamie get a bit snarky with the cops and are arrested, put in the squad car, but let go not long after. Five hours later one of the cops turns up at Jamie's apartment and asks him out. I use the word ask losely as it's all pretty rude and abrupt. Jamie is flattered that an older, spunky, macho man is interested in little effeminate him, and accepts; mind you, he doesn't even know the cops name. Or how he obtained his address...but whatever. The 'date' is awful, to say the least, and things get unpleasant for Jamie and his friends after this cop takes an interest in Jamie. That sets the basic tone, I guess.
What didn't work for me -
The antagonist was just way too much for me. OTT. He found the MC's, no matter where they were, everything was so easy, he found time off work to chase around after his 'fixations,' although I don't know why he was fixated really, there was no particular rhyme nor reason, no build. Right from the get- go you knew who the bad guy was. I prefer a mystery or a better device to drive the thriller components. The antagonst hated everyone - 'fags, camel jockeys, tea-towel heads, wet-backs, beaners, coloured's, women/whores.' He cheated on his wife, with anyone that had breath in them, belted her, and they had a three month old child. He talked to her like she was excrement. I get it, he's bad, but there was just this vulgar quantity to the writing in relation to the antagonist, not quality psychological development. We weren't shown the inner machinations of a psychopath, just the inner ramblings of a foul, waste of space of an individual. It offended me actually, quite a bit. Please note there is dub-con and rape in this book, mostly it is off page, but not always, and I didn't like the way it was handled. It was almost blase. I was uncomfortable with it, I'd say angry. I believe this book needs to carry a warning that this content is contained within, because it is a trigger for some people. If I never hear the word 'fag, or a derivative thereof, again it will be too soon. I understand he was the bad guy. I get it, but it was too much.
The three MC's - Jamie, Ellen and Eddie have some good dialogue, but they didn't come off as three dimensional, or layered characters. I never sensed any real fear from them at the situation they found themselves in just...discomfort? Jamie's behaviour in hooking-up with the cop is ridiculous, to put it mildly. How he allowed some of the things to start up, and go on, made me feel quite pissed off, including sex with an unknown man with no condom. Then, much later in the book, when Jamie really falls in love, he often falls in love, it's completely out of nowhere. There is no build between Jamie and who his true love is. I was gobsmacked at the declarations of love. I found it unbelievable. I won't give away who it was.
The use of Spanish, by Eddie, was overkill. I love languages, but here it got in the way. Eddie is Mexican and, okay, I understand his heritage, but there was way too much Spanish from someone who had best friends who were American. It distracted me. Every situation Eddie threw out some Spanish. I rolled my eyes.
The sex scenes were not plentiful and, unfortunately, they were uncomfortable when they occured.
What I liked -
The premise is a good one - young women gone missing from campus, a sociapath stalking the MC's.
The character driven dialogue between Jamie and Eddie/Andy could be quite humorous. The same with Ellen thrown into the mix. Ellen was a good hag. Joel-Gomez Dossi wrote young, gay, more effeminate guys really well. The dialogue had snark and made me laugh out loud on ocassion. It was the best part of the book. I would love to see him write something satirical or humorous, I believe he would excel there.
I liked the fact that Jamie is not your straighter- than- straight gay character, that is, more often than not, thrown out into LGBT writing as the 'norm.' I like diversity within the genre and Joel-Gomez Dossi gave me that here. I give him kudos for that.
The writing was neat and well edited.
I'm afraid that Pursued didn't work for me for me as a thriller or as a psychological read. It fell short. As stated previously, I did find parts of this book very distasteful. That is me, others may not agree. It is about a psychopath and characters being stalked, attacked, dealing with the whole situation that that entails; so maybe other readers will find it totally appropriate and engrossing. Pursued was not my cup of tea.