Title: Til Death
Author: J.M. Snyder
Length: 7,032 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Genre: m/m paranormal romance
The third day of your honeymoon finds us sitting at your kitchen table, using the knives my parents gave you as a wedding gift to whittle wooden stakes from broken chair legs. I spent my whole life in love with you, and even allowed myself a brief moment of hope that you might return my affection one drunk morning when we crossed over the line between friendship and something more.
Then you went and got married. To a vampire.
When you called me for help killing her, how could I say no?
This short has a rather strange narrative style – I think it’s 2nd person narrative. It’s told as though the narrator is telling the story to another person, in this case the man he’s in love with and who has called on the narrator to kill his newly married wife who he has discovered is a vampire. We also never find out the name of the narrator or the man he loves as they are only referred to as ‘I’ and ‘you’ – which makes writing this review a little awkward! The narrator tells him how he has been in love with his best friend for a long time, but had been content with lusting from afar, until a drunken encounter which caused a rift between them. The narrator tells us about these events and you get a strong sense of his love and regard for the other man.
Another part which I enjoyed was the way we are shown the narrator’s longing for his friend, and how his hopes are dashed when things go wrong between them. There’s a lot of emotion in the story and the unrequited love theme works well with the narrative style. I also liked the portrayal of Annaleigh who managed to be creepy and lovely at the same time.
It’s a shame then that I struggled with the narrative style. It works, but it also made everything seem stylised and as such I felt distanced from the characters. This author enjoys experimenting with narrative form. Sometimes this works for me, but in this case I found it a little jarring. It meant that the emotion connected to the end of the story didn’t work for me and whilst it left me with a ironic shiver down the spine, I also felt disconnected to the characters and so I didn’t get the full impact of the ending.
However, just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean this story wouldn’t engage another reader. If you like this author’s stories and want a clever paranormal story with a different type of narrative voice, then this one could be for you.