A gay erotic thriller? That’s what Candy From Strangers is alright. I read a lot of romances and a lot of dark novels, many about horrible people doing horrible things to each other but I can’t recall reading such a dark m/m romance that started out so sweetly and ended so painfully. In the end, I felt bad for both characters. That’s an author doing his job the right way because making me feel something is what it’s all about.
Dylan is a happy, successful owner of a restaurant, living alone with his two dogs. One day a new neighbor moves in across the street and the two hit it off and begin dating. Darien is the perfect guy. Initially. He is handsome, sweet, attentive and even though their relationship moves quickly Dylan is so lust-struck he can’t believe his luck. When Darien shows signs of being a wee bit possessive Dylan ignores the warning signs. But then the strange little things get progressively bigger and more difficult to ignore and their sexy-sweet idyllic romance turns into a deadly obsession.
The story alternates between the present day where Dylan is being questioned by police and recalling his relationship with Darien. The way the story is told you pretty much know from the very beginning that things take a very ugly turn for the lovers. Knowing this up front casts a pall of dread over the romance. I really didn’t want to read about the terrible thing that was going to happen to them but yet I couldn’t stop reading despite myself. I had to see how it all went so wrong and as long as no doggies were hurt I’d be okay (they weren’t, whew!).
This may be the author’s first published work and it shows a little in the dialogue which contains too many exclamation points and ellipses making it appear, at times, that characters are either super excited or unable to complete a thought. After a few chapters I stopped noticing and just went with it which says a lot about how much the story grabbed me. There is also a secondary character, the gorgeous straight female confidant, who seems to have stepped straight out of a Sex and the City episode who calls him “Miss Dylan”. Dylan loves her but I have to say she mostly annoyed me.
The ending contains some WTFery that I guessed at but I’ve read more evil books and seen far too many horror movies than is probably good for me. Still, despite those nitpicks the book was sexy and thrilling just as the cover promised and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the two characters fall in love even if it didn’t end well for them.
*I was provided with a copy of the ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.