His name is Richard but he’ll say, “Call me Dick.” He’s a big, butch, brainy guy in an executive suit, hotter than spit on a skillet. The type of guy you can see fully dressed and imagine buck naked in the throes of an orgasm – every six-feet-two, muscular, sexually intoxicating inch of him. He’s an ambitious freshman in a prominent brokerage firm who’s figured out he can use more than his smarts to get ahead. He’s perfected a surefire method to drive home a hard deal. No one can resist him. And he’s got one really big secret. But that will cost you.
For photographer J.J. Johnstone, the price of Dick just might cost him everything.
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
291 e-book pages
September 8-12, 2015
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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I waffled around four stars on my rating for this book. Then I thought of the sheer number
of times I was picking my jaw up off the floor, shaking my head, and clenching my Kindle. It takes a lot to get me riled up…and this book riled me all the way up to five stars because of the sociopathic audacity of Dick and my reactions to him.
This isn’t a love story, y’all. It’s a fucking cautionary tale. It’s a tale of survival. It’s a tale of inspiration to keep going and keep fighting for your own happiness – and to protect yourself along the way without losing yourself in the madness.
This book is epic in tons of nasty ways. Dick—if you hadn’t guessed—is a Dick of the first order. He should be awarded for his dickishness. Duked in the land of Dickdom. His forehead stamped with a dick as a warning to others.
You know the saying: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. I was kind of thinking that through this—why didn’t J.J. just get out, go, move on. But, there were reasonable and valid explanations served up by the colossal dick that was Dick that were actually palatable. I was fooled right along with him for a long while. And I’ve got an ex-husband who taught me some of these very lessons first hand. Some of them eerily similar.
J.J. was goodness. Just a dude making his way in life after a really rough start, chasing his dreams and building a meaningful life. He wasn’t a fool—he knew Dick was a dick—he was just trapped and so caught in a web of manipulation and deceit he didn’t realize his actual role in all of it. He had a clue and a lot of partial truths. He knew to be wary—but Dick was a master of the game and made it as though J.J. was in on it in a sincere way.
To be treated to such nastiness is beyond… I was going to say beyond comprehension, but it’s not really. From J.J.’s perspective, who doesn’t want to think the best of the people in our lives? Who doesn’t give multiple chances to people who wrong us or suppress us until we finally reach the breaking point? I think we all do these things to some degree because we want to mold our dreams to fit the shape our reality. We want the pieces to all fit the vision. We just don’t always fully recognize when our reality is being re-shaped to fit someone else’s dreams…or their nefarious deeds until it’s a shape we no longer recognize.
Oh…I’m still growly and feeling a little stabby over this book; but there are some kind of cool things about it too.
I *think* that this is semi-autobiographical. I mean, I know Dan Skinner is a photographer. I’d noted some of his work here and there in the last few years. I started following him on Twitter oh, I don’t know a while back—or a few weeks ago. Well before I read this book. Dan posts a lot of his pictures – a lot, a lot—and they’re artistic, beautiful, and scorching hot. We don’t know each other and have never really interacted. I saw his tweet the other day that this book was on sale so I bought it. As I was reading/taking breaks from reading/quenching my addiction to the Twitterverse, I started paying more and more attention to Dan’s pictures. I visited his Deviant Art site. Looking at those pictures and thinking about what I was reading…some pieces started falling into place when I didn’t know there was a puzzle. Then he posted a bloggy thing about pornography vs. art. I read that. More puzzle pieces.
I did get a little sassy the other night and posted this on my twitter: I recommend reading The Price of Dick whilst simultaneously perusing (Dan Skinner) tweets. He LOL’d me! Which I thought was hilarious.
And really…while his pics are erotic and full of boys kissing boys and doing other stuff and are super sexy hot, I also meant that in the way that it struck me as a way to make this story more real and tangible. Whether Dan is J.J. or not, in all gruesome detail of the victim (survivor!) of a sociopath, looking at some of Dan’s pictures while reading this book peeled back some layers of the fiction to make me feel more.
This revelation changed the entire tone for me. I’m thinking that a lot of this book is fictionalized. God, I hope so. But, I think there are undercurrents of real life experience. There is some profound introspection here that I know creative types can articulate pretty easily—but at the same time rang so true that I’m still a little stunned.
So yeah, I’ve gotta go with five stars and a hat tip to Dan.
Review posted on GoodReads.