Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: Stygian by Santino Hassell

Author: Santino Hassell      

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
American release date: October 26, 2015
Format/Genre/Length: E-book/M/M Erotic Romance/204 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

As the newest member of up-and-coming rock band Stygian, drummer Jeremy is a little insecure about his place in the band with the other three members of the group. Despite his misgivings, he agrees to take off work to accompany them to a Southern mansion in Louisiana which front-man Watts has rented for a musical retreat, so they can work on their music, and each other, as well as come up with new tunes.

The trouble is Jeremy has a thing for Kennedy, but that’s a lost hope, because Kennedy barely knows he’s alive. And Watts is banging Quince like a screen door in a windstorm, but does he even give a hoot about the guy, or is he just using him?

Out in the middle of nowhere, Jeremy finds the mansion beautiful, yet unsettling, for reasons he can’t put his fingers on. And then there are the owners, who live nearby—siblings Hunter and Laurel Caroway. Hunter isn’t shy about letting Jeremy know he’s interested, which is balm to Jeremy’s aching soul, frustrated at being ignored by Kennedy. And Laurel has a way with Watts and Quince that is downright…creepy.

Is Jeremy imagining things, or is it just his own past catching up with him in ways he doesn’t want to think about? Will this musical retreat be the boost Stygian needs to catapult them to stardom, or a horrible mistake?

I loved this book from the beginning, drawn in by Jeremy, both as narrator and character. His desire for the standoffish Kennedy broke my heart, and I kept wishing he’d reveal the truth about the misery he keeps inside. The setting is pure southern gothic melodrama, and the story unfolds as the characters try to get their act together out in the middle of nowhere. I kept trying to guess where the story was going, but it wasn’t until nearly the end that I caught on. I have one criticism, which I can’t make, because it involves a spoiler, but all in all it’s a minor point.

I would recommend this book, especially if you enjoy being scared. There is plenty of heat to go around too!

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