How I Met My Man

metmymanAuthor: Rick R. Reed
Cover artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: Gay/ Contemporary/ Suspense/ Thriller/ Series
Length: Novella
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

A Guest Review by Feliz

Summary Review: Not much of a mystery, but an entertaining read in the style of a horror movie.

The Blurb: How a guy meets his man can happen in a dozen different ways: online, at a bar, through friends, at a masquerade party…or even at the scene of a murder…

The road to love is seldom straight, and for Stephen Embert, that road couldn’t possibly be more crooked. First, he arrives home to find an anonymous card in his mailbox that says, “I’ve been inside your house,” then comes the midnight home invasion. But Stephen forgets these disturbing occurrences a month later when he attends a masquerade party and hopes to finally meet Mr. Right.

But who is the stranger in black with the disturbing emotionless mask following him? And why does the stranger always get in the way of Stephen hooking up with Jeffrey, the angelic and nearly naked leather hunk, who wants nothing more than to get Stephen alone for some romance?

Appearances are not always what they seem, and discovering true love can sometimes be a matter of life and death.

*** Reviewer’s note: The Amber Allure “Masquerade” Series contains a number of stand-alone novellas which are all build on the premise of two gay men finding love with each other at a masque ball. The mask depicted on the respective cover will make an appearance in the story. ***

The Review:

I have to make a confession: I’m one of those who occasionally cheat themselves by flipping to the last page and reading the end first. What can I say? I’m nosy that way. So the fact that the eventual outcome was pretty clear from the beginning didn’t spoil the enjoyment of the story for me. I don’t mind knowing how a book ends since I love to watch the heroes get there. Those of you who don’t want to know beforehand should skip the intro, though.

That said, this book was actually a pretty good suspense story, laced with a trace of creepiness which was mostly created through the characterizations.  None of the cast is what they seem to be. At first appearance Stephen is an average gay Joe with a normal job and a boringly normal life, but his close acquaintance with extravagant Tabby already hints at something hidden, and his choice of costume even more so. Stephen’s neighbor, Tom, appears to be a nice enough, if somewhat bland guy, but the one time Stephen and Tom go out together, Tom hints at having psychic abilities. The host of the masque, Tabby, seems to be nothing but an exaggerated, flamboyant old drag queen, but the last glimpse we get of him reveals that he is something else entirely, something that isn’t pleasant at all. Not to mention Jeffrey,  the gorgeous leather hunk who wears small black wings and very little else and seems so eager to get Stephen alone, or the man with the faceless white mask who always pops up right in time to get into Stephen’s and Jeffrey’s way.

I wouldn’t call this a mystery novel, though, for there wasn’t much of a mystery; the villain is pretty obvious early on. This was more like one of those horror movies where you can’t help calling out to the clueless hero,  “Look closer, idiot! He’s got a KNIFE!” Apparently Rick R Reed can’t help writing horror even though it’s supposed to be “just” suspense  – don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is a bad thing at all. It was one of the things that kept me on the edge of my seat while reading this.

This book had some seriously nightmarish moments, at least for me — among them  the last picture of the drag queen, stripped of his glamour. The business with the black plumes wasn’t really unveiled, the resolve only hinted at. Who was the one who wrote the cards? Who was the intruder, now? The insecurity adds another, slightly disturbing tone to the picture, and  thus the sweet domesticity of the ending felt a bit askew for me. What I dreaded didn’t happen,  but I couldn’t help waiting for the other shoe to drop.

All in all, this was a solid, skillfully written piece of entertainment of the darker, eerier sort which I really enjoyed.

Author

Aside from owls, I love all kinds of birds, particularly the odd ones. Also dogs, Queen (the band), motorbikes and books.

14 comments

  • Thanks so much for the positive and thought-provoking review, Feliz. Glad you enjoyed the story. I think this story is much more suspense than horror (with a definite romantic undertone), for those of you who were wondering.

    Reply
  • I was lucky enough to win this one and I enjoyed it very much. The characterisation was good, the plot thrilling and a little creepy.

    I didn’t get why he only told the police half of what was going on and threw the card away … but the rest was great.

    I really like this masquerade series

    Reply
    • Hi Blaine,
      thanks for commenting!
      What you mentioned was part of what kept me wondering, too. Adds a little acid to the sweet ending, doesn’t it?

      Reply
  • Hmmm not sure, masks creep me out!! And if the story is creepy too! But you make it sound intriguing, so maybe…. Thanks Feliz!

    Reply
  • Feliz, I keep buying and liking these Masquerade series, but are you saying that horror movie feeling is strong here? If horror element is strong, I guess I should pass. I mean, I am just asking how scary it felt to you? I mentioned before I have pretty low scary threshhold 🙂 Thanks.

    Reply
    • oh Sirius, I’m afraid I’m the wrong person to ask this since I’m not easily scared! 😀
      Anyway, I’d compare the “scare factor” here to the one in the TV show Criminal Minds. I think it’s rather a suspense story.

      Reply
      • I decided to brave it Feliz since I really wanted to sample Rick Reed and from what I understand I will never be brave enough to try his scariER stories. I did enjoy it, was different from what I usually read :), it WAS scary for me, but not to the point of giving me nightmares so that was good. Thanks for recommendation.

        Reply
      • Feliz, I am copying your reviewer’s note for the next entry in the Masquerade reviews next week, hope you don’t mind :), you just phrased it so well. So far I have read three stories in these series and to a different degree liked all of them. Yay.

        Reply
  • If you think something like NEG UB2, then no, I wouldn’t call this a strong romance.
    If you don’t like the horror movie feeling, you should pass on this.

    Reply
  • Sitting in the fence since I try to avoid the “horror movie style” :ahhh:
    Would you consider this one among the romance oriented R3 books?
    Thank you for your review 😎

    Reply

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