Two new editions to my 2018 book list.
A Wasteful Death (2016) by Sylvain St-Pierre
This is the first ebook I’ve read. I don’t really care for the concept of ebooks and much prefer physical books. There are all sorts of reasons for that but I won’t go into it now. This is a short anthropomorphic novella which is centred around a murder mystery.
A female cheetah has been murdered and it’s up to a wolf and lion to find out who killed her. It’s not quite your standard murder mystery as predation of anyone is legal in this world but every citizen has a price according to how valuable they are to society. After killing them, a tax equal to that value must be paid. That was probably not so creepy when the story was originally conceived but now with China’s citizenship score tracking and quantifying everything… this story is even more dystopian.
Beyond the murder mystery there is also romance between Marlot and Trembor, the two main characters. This is particularly driven by Marlot’s past experiences making him extremely reluctant to reveal his homosexuality to the world. It should also be noted that that world is really well constructed and makes full use of the anthropomorphic nature of the characters throughout. Overall, it’s a really good read.
Straight Men (2018) by Jonathan W. Thurston
This is a rough book that can be really tough reading. The prologue even starts with an intense, graphic murder. Then there’s the story itself. The protagonist, Sean Wolfe is a gay college student who is submissive and enjoys hooking up with strangers for sex. When he goes to a certain man’s house, he is drugged and brought into a life of slavery.
The book deals with what he goes through and how he copes with an intensely dark time. It’s not easy reading. Everything is presented in a very raw, graphic and visceral way. There are several murders and, between those, the story is interspersed with abuse, drug addiction, gang rape and human trafficking.
In the end it is well-written and compelling. I wanted to see what would happen to Sean. How would he survive? Would he escape? I wanted him to be okay but the more I learned about the psychopath who had taken him captive, the more I feared what would happen next.