Bashed: A Love Story, by Rick R Reed
I’m a fan!
Blurb: Three haters. Two lovers. And a collision course with tragedy. That October night, Donald and Mark had no idea their lives and love were about to be shattered by fag bashers, intent on pain, and armed with ridicule, fists, and an aluminum baseball bat. Bashed charts the course of a journey that encompasses suspense, horror, and–ultimately–romance.
About the author: Rick R. Reed has been described as the “Stephen King of gay horror” by Unzipped Magazine. And Dark Scribe magazine said, “Reed is an established brand — perhaps the most reliable contemporary author for thrillers that cross over between the gay fiction market and speculative fiction.” Reed also chronicles the emotional lives of gay men in his work, with an increasing eye toward exploring the romance genre.
Review by Gerry Burnie
This is the first Rick Reed novel I have read, but after reading “Bashed: A Love Story” [MLR Press, 2009], I have become a fan.
Right from the first few pages you get the notion that the author is in control of his craft, and that this is going to be an action-thriller worthy of the label. Moreover Reed delivers, consistently, from start to finish.
To begin, Donald and Mark are two lovers who, through no fault of their own, are victimized by three, thrill-seeking punks, under the malevolent influence of Ronny—a sexually confused, twenty-something psychopath. Out of this group we also get to meet Justin, not a bad kid who is somewhat overwhelmed by the prevalent forces in his life—his sinister friend Ronny, his gay uncle Walter, and a society that isn’t clear on the point, either. Ergo, bashing fags is the thing to do in order to prove your manhood on a Saturday night.
From a story standpoint, these characters are all superbly developed—with the exception of Luis, who seems to disappear after his walk-on part. Nevertheless, character development is one of the very strong points of this novel; standing side-by-side with a cleverly constructed plot that keeps the reader involved from start to finish. “Masterful” is a term that comes to mind, again and again.
There are some minor quibbles, however. As I have previously mentioned, Luis is a character that had me wondering why he was introduced. On the other hand, I didn’t entirely buy into the ghost scenes as being palpable. I hasten to add, however, that these anomalies didn’t seriously detract from the overall quality of the story or the writing.
Enthusiastically recommended as a darned good read. Four and one-half stars.
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