Body Art by Jordan Castillo Price
Genre: Thriller M/M Novella
Plot: Does everyone have a certain “type” they end up with…whether they want to or not? If Ray Carlucci’s ex is anything to go by, Ray likes his men gorgeous, rebellious, and chock-full of issues. But now that Ray is single again, he has a shot at a fresh start—a very fresh start, since his tattoo shop was gutted by repo men and he can fit all his belongings in the trunk of a taxi.
Ray’s shiny new chauffeur’s license lands him a job as a driver for an elderly couple on Red Wing Island. It’s a cold fall, and since the Michigan island is the summer home to snowbirds who fly south for the winter, it’s practically deserted—save for Ray’s new household and a sculptor named Anton Kopec, who works day and night twisting brambles and twine into the distorted shapes of macabre creatures. Compelling, bizarre, and somewhat disturbing…not just the sculptures, but the artist, too. Ray has a feeling Anton is just his “type.”
Despite their scorching chemistry, when a dead body is unearthed by some workers and a freak ice storm traps them all on the island, Ray can’t say for certain that his new flame isn’t capable of murder.
Review: The same holds true here as it does for all of Jordan C Price’s books: there just aren’t nearly enough words. There never are. But what it lacks in quantity, JCP more than makes up for in stellar writing and fascinating characterization. This novella starts off fast, throwing us straight into Ray’s sad and dismal world and then propels us forward at warp speed onto the isolated island where all the tense drama unfolds. Into 90 pages (there really are that many?! It reads as so much shorter! MORE WORDS), she jam packs a handful of flushed out and intriguing secondary characters, a disturbing and chilling setting, and enough tension and thrills that you’ll find yourself breathless and cursing when the end comes way too quickly. This is truly thrilling drama – there’s the dying master of the house, the unwelcoming household staff, the creepy neighbor/possible love interest, and many a dizzying plot twist to keep you guessing. The writing is incredibly nuanced for such a short read. The characters are fascinating and far deeper than you normally find in novellas. All in all, a quick, lovely read from the queen of the macabre that will leave you wanting more…so much more.
What you’ll love: extremely creepy in a way that only JCP can do with tension that ratchets higher and higher in a short amount of time; tattooed MC and tortured artist love interest with a whole lot of chemistry and some extremely hot and rather unexpected love scenes (there’s a particular car scene that will have you fanning yourself!); a fully realized cast of secondary characters; a mystery that needs solving!
What you might not like: too short, TOO SHORT; we don’t get a whole lot of Ray’s backstory or current motivations; the relationship between Ray and Anton seems to spring out of nowhere without a lot of explanation for it; a mystery that needs solving!