Author Name & Publisher: Santino Hassell (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: October 26, 2015 – 204 pgs
Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought.
Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band’s enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.
Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he’s finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroway’s secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.
It took me a bit to figure out who was what but once I did and the way everything went down was amazing!!
I could not put this book down at all once I started reading it. Jeremy has been through a lot in his life between what happened with his brother and his family legacy. He joined Stygian hoping to be a part of this band. They had problems starting out especially with the way Watts the lead singer of the band treated him. So they decided to get away to work on their music and wow did they pick the wrong place to go.
So much happens which I don’t want to say because I really do not want to spoil this book for anyone, this book is definitely one you need to read for yourself. So many times I wanted to yell through the book at Jeremy what are you doing how do you not see what Hunter is. When he finally wakes up and realizes what is going and sees what Kennedy was telling him all along. I was rooting for them to get the hell out of there as fast as they could.
I don’t know if there will be more books after this one but I really hope there is because it would be interesting to see were they go from here. There was angst, mystery because what the hell was going on with Hunter, Laurel and Quince. Then there was Steam so much Steam between Kennedy and Jeremy when Jeremy finally for a lack of better words pulled his head out. This author Santino Hassell did such a awesome job with this book. Between the paranormal on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what was going on I was grabbed from the start. I honestly was left with wanting more of these characters to see what they are going to do now.
I would definitely recommend this book!
The setting is Antebellum Southern Gothic. The characters are the neurotic members of a promising indie rock band. The characters span a spectrum from vaguely pitiful to thoroughly abhorrent. Readers are not supposed to like or trust anyone and I really didn’t. The secrets are overwhelming. They seep out in memories, tormented dreams, half-formed thoughts and awkward conversations. Sexuality is fluid. Sex is constant, but impersonal, often violent and flaunted for effect.
I found this story uncomfortable but compelling. Hassell toys with his readers, only offering enough information to torment and alarm, never enough to forewarn. The whole story only comes into focus at the very end of the book when readers and characters are finally able to weave together the final threads of this complex narrative.
This is a dark, angst-filled ride. The blurb I read sold this story as a romance but Hassell foregoes sympathetic characters and refrains from a HEA. I loved the more alternative ending, but I wouldn’t recommend it to romance lovers.
It took me a while to digest this story, but there is much to love. Characters are beautifully observed and carefully drawn. Hassell’s style of writing is elegant and his prose seductive. The story could be described as Urban Fantasy, but really, it plays outside genre. I loved every moment of it but it definitely isn’t for the faint hearted.
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.
Santino writes LGBTQ romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.