Author: Suzanne Falter, Jack Harvey
Publisher: New Heights Publishing
Publication Date: 9 February 2016
Rating: 4/5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters
TW: homophobia, transphobia, murder
Summary: Charley McElroy is a handsome, well-heeled travel writer and CIA informant who also happens to be an F to M transman. And he’s having a midlife crisis.
Charley gets suspended by the Agency after forgetting to pay his taxes. Only days earlier, yet another marriage proposal has been spurned. In his grief and confusion, Charley befriends Electra, a high-powered Manhattan socialite-turned-dominatrix rebuilding her life in San Francisco. Then he meets Frankie, a disgruntled lesbian police sergeant who has been demoted by the SFPD for being a whistle blower.
Together they uncover a Christian fundamentalist’s lethal plot to destroy the ‘hedonists’ of San Francisco. Yet, neither the SFPD nor the CIA will take the threat seriously due to the trio’s outsider status.
Can they get anyone to listen to them? Or are they on their own?
Order here: Amazon
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Electra, formerly Pamela, is a 52-year-old woman, who just went trough a nasty divorce. She’s also a Dominatrix, which was made public during the divorce, and despite fleeing New York to avoid the talk it followed her to San Francisco. When she meets Charley things seem to look up though.
Charley is a pansexual trans man. He is also a CIA informant and one of the best in his unit. But when he forgets to pay his taxes, he gets suspended. And his former girlfriend just left him as she realized she couldn’t deal with a partner who didn’t have a penis any longer. Then he meets Electra and feels immediately drawn to her. When they get to know each other better, he realizes that he really likes her. But not only the fact that he’s trans hinders them from getting together. The stalker Electra attracted becomes more and more dangerous everyday.
I absolutely loved Charley, he is an amazing character and while I would have loved some more insight in his life as a trans man (except for how it interferes with his love life) it was still nice to read. At times Electra was a bit extra and I didn’t always like her. While I understand that she was under a lot of pressure, at times she just acted really rude and it made me dislike her a bit. But she also had some really awesome scenes, and I adored that she was so open about her sex life. Both of them felt really real though. I also really liked Frankie, even though her part was not as big as Charley’s and Electra’s, she definitely made a nice addition to the trio. I would have loved some more mentions of the fact that she’s a lesbian though, but it was still very nice.
The crime plot was nice thought out and you really can’t help but feel some form of twisted sympathy with Randy Tytus, son of a homophobic preacher (known for his “Kill the Fags” campaign), who just wants to make his father proud… by killing as many “perverts” as he can. He is still very human, which definitely also made his parts very interesting to read.
Sadly the beginning drags a bit and some of the things are repetitive, so it took me a while to get into it, but after that the book was amazing and I really fell straight into the story. All in all it’s a really nice crime/love story with an incredibly diverse and interesting set of characters.