Monday, October 19, 2009

Three of a Kind by Sean Michael

TITLE: Three of a Kind
AUTHOR: Sean Michael
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 30k)
GENRE: Contemporary gay menage erotic romance
COST: $3.95

After an explosive fight with his “boyfriend,” Zane steals his truck and heads west, only to break down at the side of the road, six hours away from his destination. He’s rescued by Butch, the owner of the junk yard, who takes him home and offers him a place to stay as he gets the truck fixed and heals up. Butch and his lover Randy are interested in more than nursing the young man back to health, though…

I think it’s time for me to admit that Sean Michael’s books are just not for me. This is the third book I’ve read by him, though only the second I’ve reviewed, and it’s gone downhill since I struggled to get through Bent. While I can appreciate some of what he does with characterization, his voice is just far too spare to satisfy me. I need more than the skeletal dialogue that comprises the majority of the story, and the lack of any kind of detail – except for the occasional scattering – prevents me from getting immersed. I’m a visual reader, not auditory. I need visual clues far more than anything else to lose myself in a story. If I can’t see it, I can’t get into it.

This gay ménage is symptomatic of everything I find difficult. There’s a heavy imbalance toward dialogue, much of which feels directionless and inane, and while I had no problems differentiating between the three men, I was never able to connect emotionally to any of them, not even poor battered Zane. The build-up to the actual ménage was handled well, with both Butch and Randy understanding of the time Zane needed, but once they reach that plateau halfway through, all they do is have sex. It’s all right for what it was, but I was just too disconnected by that point to be really interested.

The bare bones plot of Zane’s abusive boyfriend gets resolved far too easily at the end, too. It just happens, with no intervention from any of the three men, enhancing the sense of passivity that prevails for me throughout the story. Zane does counter that to some degree by refusing to take advantage of Butch’s generous nature and actually pulling his own weight, but generally speaking, it’s not enough. That pretty much characterizes my reaction throughout the whole thing. Not enough. But at least I know now.


5/10 – Calling it spare is generous


5/10 – I didn’t dislike the guys together, though I can’t say I believe they’ll last very long


6/10 – The fact that all three guys had distinct personalities is the best part about this story

Entertainment value

4/10 – I was bored for most of it

World building

3/10 – Focus is on dialogue and very little else



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