My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Riley is a graphic artist who is posing nude for his former art school to help pay off the loans. He seems to feel a little on the outside of these art students but seems to get along with an enthusiastic student, Porter. Riley doesn’t want to feel beholden to his lover of four years, Nick who is much more financially successful. That does make for a bit of tension between them as does Riley’s panic any time they try to have anal sex.
When Riley has a chance to pose for a famous artist, Coliaro, he is both interested and a little hesitant. Several years prior, a series of Coliaro’s work has been vandalized and young men turned up dead in the way the work was vandalized. Things go sideways when the painting based on Riley’s pose – one more sexually vulnerable than he’d have liked – is vandalized then stolen and a young man turns up dead.
Worse, Coliaro is obviously interested in Riley sexually. Riley is having trouble dealing with that, with Nick and with his family’s disinterest in honoring the anniversary of his gay brother’s suicide. As Riley looks into Coliaro, he runs across what looks like a vampire cult and they said Coliaro has powers and followers, namely a dangerous man, Westwood.
Riley won’t let it go, especially since his friend had been killed. He gets drawn into the deadly paranormal world of Coliaro and Westwood’s as he determines he needs to stop Coliaro.
There are a lot of twists and turns. I did enjoy it but I will admit, Riley makes a lot of stupid choices. I have to keep reminding himself of his age. Many are terribly naïve and reckless in their twenties. I surely was.
The relationship between Westwood and Riley is dub-con bordering on non-con and rather violent. I wasn’t quite expecting that and if that sort of thing bothers you, you might want to give this one a pass. It could be triggering. I’m still working on how I feel about these two together. The character I liked best was actually Riley’s friend, Porter. I really enjoyed the Hieronymus Bosch references.