Monday, June 23, 2008

The Set Up by J.P. Bowie

TITLE: The Set Up
AUTHOR: J.P. Bowie
PUBLISHER: Total-e-bound
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 21k)
GENRE: Gay thriller erotic romance
COST: £2.49

Movie extra John White Eagle is about to get the ride of his life from superstar Greg Mathis. But not even illicit sex is worth being suspected of murder…

If you go to the publisher’s website and read the blurb for this short novella, you’ll find that it’s much longer than the very brief one I provided. But you know what? If you read that blurb, you will have pretty much read the whole book. The conflict that is introduced in the first paragraph doesn’t even happen until 7k into the story, it takes another 10k to get to the sting detailed in the second, and then…the story’s nearly over. I almost wish I’d just stuck with reading the blurb. I wouldn’t feel like I’ve wasted my time then.

I’ll admit I bought the story for a selfish reason. I find Native American men incredibly sexy, so when I see one as a hero, I have a tendency to succumb to the urge to buy. But even though the story is told in 1st person from John’s POV – or maybe because, because I was privy to his thoughts – I never engaged with John. In fact, I couldn’t get over the feeling that the man was an idiot obsessed with sex. I don’t fault him for jumping into the sack with the hot superstar on the film he’s shooting, but from the moment John shows up at the hotel to back Greg up in the face of Greg’s blackmailer, his IQ takes a nosedive. Then when the police show up to arrest him for the murder, he spends as much time lusting after the cop interrogating him as he does worrying about the prospect of going to jail. I have no sympathy for him when things go even further south, because he seems more interested in falling for the cop than he is in the fact that he’s the prime suspect in a murder investigation. And that he never suspects the cop of being anything but straight with him, because he’s just too cute and nice to lie. Riiiiiiight. Oh, and did I mention that his dead grandmother passed down a little psychic gift? The ability to enhance the sexual awareness of whoever he’s making love to. Are you groaning as much as I did?

The second hero in this is obviously the cop, but he fails to engage for different reasons. He’s not introduced until almost halfway through the story, which leaves little time to really get to know him. Add in the factor that I’m convinced from the moment they release John that something is up, and the cop never really stands a chance with me. I was of one of two minds – if the cop is setting him up, he’s a jerk, and if he’s not and he’s honestly falling for John, then he’s an idiot and the worst cop ever.

The thriller aspect in this is nonexistent. The set-up is so incredibly obvious that I don’t feel anything but disdain for the dumb hero, and the play-out of the climax contrived. Without either a believable romance or any aspect of a smart plot, I can’t say that I’m interested enough to try any of this author’s other work.


6/10 – Technically little wrong, but the lead is so dumb and the plot so oversimplified that it ends up being a chore to read.

Hero #1

2/10 – An absolute dimwit with sex on the brain

Hero #2

3/10 – Flat and boring.

Entertainment value

2/10 – I had so little sympathy for the lead, it was impossible to find enjoyment elsewhere.

World building

6/10 – Mediocre at best.



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