A former teenage hustler and now exotic dancer, Arliss has a naiveté in him that makes him easy prey; but that same naiveté is also what allows him to see Sean’s sadness when the guy enters the club where he is dancing. Sean is there to forget a recent break-up, and Arliss would be more than willing to help him, but Sean instead treats him like he would with a possible date, someone you don’t want to use and throw out, but instead court and love.
Sean is not as naïve as Arliss, but he is for sure almost as innocent; 38 years old against the 21 of the other guy, he is well beyond in experience. Plus he was out of the dating game since a bit, and from what I gathered he was never good at it. Sean gave me the idea that, in a love game, he would be more the prey than the hunter. How these two can work together is a mystery, but sometime it’s not opposite that attracts, but two halves of the same apple. Even if Arliss likes sex, he had enough of the emotionless version of it, and he really needs the kindness that Sean can show him. Maybe Sean is not as sexy as other men, or young, or wealthy, but he has a good heart, and he is an unassuming kind of guy that could be as sexy as hell even without knowing it.
It’s strange how, even if the novel is mostly about tricks, exotic dancers, porn movies… sex is probably the less important side of the story. Sure our hero do their share of it, but the author almost skips through the main scenes, concentrating instead on the foreplay and the aftermath. There is really any hard-core scene, just some “play” (hands, mouth), like to underlight that this is really a romance and not an erotic novel. True, we have not to forget this is a story about two men, and the author is a man himself, so you will not really find bed of roses and champagne, but maybe vodka and beer, and maybe our two heroes will not stop to simply cuddling on a couch, but nevertheless, as I said, sex is not what this novel is all about.
I also really liked how the novel maintained its light tone, even when the drama took place: having Sean calling his mom when he didn’t know what to do was almost funny, but brought things into a less tragic perspective and gave Sean the courage to do what it was right.
Amazon Kindle: Tricks
Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (October 14, 2010)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott