Title: Dime Novel
Author: Dale Chase
Cover artist: Unknown
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Amazon buy link: Buy Link Dime Novel
Genre: Gay, Western, Erotica
Length: 12,000 words
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Guest review by Orion
Review summary: A steamy modern-day Western.
Dime novelist Benedict Bright has brought fame to Arizona Marshal Evan Teague but when he ventures west to meet the man he’s written about, he finds he’s done his subject wrong and further, that Teague is determined to set things right. As the marshal introduces the writer to western reality, through law enforcement as well as manly intimacies, Bright gains new resolve in his work while swept up in a passion like no other he’s ever known. But will it last forever… or break his heart?
I don’t ordinarily read westerns, but the blurb for this one caught my attention. Something about the idea of a writer discovering the realities behind a man he’s fictionalized, in the dime novel of the title, intrigued me. It sounded like a wonderfully unusual premise for a romance.
What Dale Chase gives us here is, in my opinion, more erotica than romance. The story opens with a hot scene that is pure porn and certain to get the reader’s fire going. There are lots of such scenes in this novella. Along with the sex, we get two likeable, if somewhat broadly drawn, main characters in the writer Benedict Bright and the lawman Evan Teague. There is even some growth in these two men over the course of the story as Evan takes Benedict along on some of his law enforcement missions. The writing itself is serviceable, firmly grounding readers in its world. The story has most of the elements I consider necessary for an entertaining read.
What it lacks is romance. This isn’t necessarily a failing on the author’s part, although it seems to me the blurb is a bit misleading. From my reading of this, it seems fairly clear that the author’s intent was to provide a rousing, sexy tale, and that is certainly what we get here. I picked this up expecting breathless longing, coy flirting, cute dates. Very little of that happens here. There is some emotional connection between Benedict and Evan, but mostly what they share is plenty of raw sex.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with good old-fashioned, down and dirty man-on-man sex in an m/m novel, of course. But sex doesn’t necessarily equal romance. If you want a story with sweet romance, look elsewhere. If you’re in the mood for some spicy erotica, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Addendum: I don’t want to be unfair to the publisher or the author here. My expectation of romance in this story stemmed from my reading of the last line in the blurb: “But will it last forever… or break his heart? ” However, lines earlier in the blurb establish that the reader can expect plenty of “manly intimacies.” I should also point out that the publisher’s Web page for Dime Novel clearly states that the story falls into the category of gay erotica. The publisher’s Web page does not mislead readers at to what they should expect.