About the Book
Title: Last Dance of the Sugar Plum
Authors: Claire Davis & Al Stewart
Print Length: 170 pages
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Publication Date: 14 April, 2017
Categories: Gay fiction, suspense/thriller, humor, relationships
Jonathan is a spy.
Anton is Jonathan’s ‘keeper’.
Jonathan is a spy with a code implanted deep in his subconscious, so deeply he can’t remember—anything at all.
Anton is an interrogator intent on retrieving the code, whatever the cost.
But sometimes they dream of dark tunnels and locked-up rooms, and then they both scream.
Along comes Harry, who seems to have all the answers…but who is he, and which side is he on?
For many months, Jonathan and Anton live apart from the world in a hazy, dreamlike state, only interrupted by interrogations and a healthy fear of HQ. One day, they watch a dance performance, and memories begin to unwind… A ticking clock… Betrayal… Missions… Always the scent of oranges. But with clarity, comes a return of powerful emotions…
Last Dance of The Sugar Plum is an exciting spy thriller with as many twists and turns as a maze.
What an exciting, if a bit strange, ride this was. I’m not sure what I expected when I started reading, even knowing the summary. This is not a typical spy-thriller genre novel, nor is it really a romance. It’s something of a sideways blend of both, with an emphasis more on the psychology and character development than the action (of either kind, though there’s plenty of those, too).
There’s very little I can say without giving too much away. One of the characters was formerly a boxer, and he has a mantra he repeats. The reason I’m mentioning it is that I think readers ought to pay attention and do as it says. All the clues to the mystery are in there, if you know where to look. If you’re like me and don’t care if you solve the puzzle before the characters, then you can ignore my advice and just enjoy.
The pleasure for me was in trying to find out who was on which side and who were the “good guys.” It’s not always clear. Every time I thought I had a grasp on what was happening, something else would shift. The story turned me upside down, and it was nail-biting trying to keep up.
One of the things I like best about the authors is the way everything has layers. So while this is a fun, if intense, read on the surface, there’s a lot going on underneath. This had me thinking about what makes us who we are and to what extent that can be manipulated for the will of others.
As always, there’s a healthy mix of the darker, heavier subject matter with humor, fluff, and a dose of sensuality. For readers used to the authors’ new adult books, this might be a bit of a stretch. However, all the key ingredients that make them great are in here, and long-standing fans should be pleased. I know I was.
For exceptional writing, a genre-defying story, and plenty of thrills, this gets 10/10 fountain pens.
About the Authors
Al Stewart and Claire Davis write about people who are not perfect. Claire embraces the dark side, and Al the good side of the force. Their work is there for a fusion of both, mixed often with kink and humour.