Author: Clare London
Length: 8,350 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Genre: m/m Horror
Blurb: James is surprised when co-worker Vic disappears, but even more so when Vic shows up months later as James’s manager. As a single gay man with few responsibilities, James takes his fun wherever and whenever he can. He’d even played around with Vic a few times. But now something’s changed, something James can’t quite put his finger on. In fact, almost everything about Vic is subtly different — and maybe not so subtly, when it comes to them resuming their affair. James never used to think Vic was hot, but now Vic’s like a new man and he wants James. James should be flattered, shouldn’t he? Unfortunately, things don’t develop quite the way James hopes. He’s just out for a good time, but Vic wants something more than mutually satisfactory sexual games. He’s obsessed with finding out James’s idea of a perfect man. And what’s more, Vic seems determined to do whatever’s necessary to become that person — whether James is a willing participant or not.
Review: I’ve been meaning to read and review this little short for a while now, but I was in the mood for horror this week, so it was perfect timing. And this is definitely horror, without romance and complete with a horrifying, non-HEA ending.
James is a bit full of himself, but he doesn’t mince words and he knows what he wants. He’s a fit guy who likes to have a lot of sex and doesn’t care much who they are. He befriends a co-worker, Vic, who seems to have a bit of a crush on him. As they become friends, Vic’s feelings seem to grow. Soon, James finds himself without a partner for the night, and though Vic is probably the last person he’d choose to have sex with, well, he isn’t very picky. But the newfound intimacy seems to give Vic the wrong message, and after James is forced to tell him that he’s only looking for a good time, Vic disappears.
It is now several months later, and Vic has shown up again. Only, things are different — he carries himself differently, he looks different — he’s changed.
This is really a great story, and one of the best Halloween tales I’ve read because it really is spooky. It isn’t blood and gore that are really scary, but sociopathic and obsessive characters that can really make you squirm, and what I think Clare does so well in this story is show the reader the changes in Vic through James’ point of view. James is quite egocentric, and because of that he only really sees their “relationship” (whatever it is) from anyone’s point of view but his own, nor does he really seem to care for others’ feelings. At the same time, it makes us less caring of James’ ultimate downfall, and it creates a natural suspense, where the reader can see the slow progression into madness and James cannot.
So, if you’re looking for a short read of something a little different, make sure to check this one out!