Last Dance of The Sugar Plum, by Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Release Date: April 14, 2017
Jonathan is a spy.
Anton is Jonathan’s ‘keeper’.
Jonathan is a spy with a code implanted deep in his subconscious, so deeply he can’t remember – anything at all.
Anton is an interrogator intent on retrieving the code, whatever the cost.
But sometimes they dream of dark tunnels and locked-up rooms, and then they both scream.
Along comes Harry, who seems to have all the answers…but who is he, and which side is he on?
For many months, Jonathan and Anton live apart from the world in a hazy, dreamlike state, only interrupted by interrogations and a healthy fear of HQ. One day, they watch a dance performance, and memories begin to unwind… A ticking clock… Betrayal… Missions… Always the scent of oranges. But with clarity, comes a return of powerful emotions…
Last Dance of The Sugar Plum is an exciting spy thriller with as many twists and turns as a maze.
Content Warning for:
Rest assured, I will not talk about the plot or what is going on here in this book, so you can enjoy being in the dark all by yourself 😉
I have to say that I liked the first half of the book a lot more than the second. That’s because I didn’t know anything. Who was who and doing what exactly for which reasons and how can it all even? Nothing was really sure and there were lots of possibilities.
Even the language used seemed kinda off in parts but it enhanced the surreal vibe, but even though most of it make sense in the end, there were parts that pulled me out of the story and let me wonder how that was even possible…
Anton said nothing, but Jonathan could sense him clenching and unclenching his toes.
Later on, in the second half, there was one really cool idea that I liked but, all in all, the revelation (make that REVELATIONS) were just so many and complicated that I can’t even tell whether it all made sense or not. It was too over the top for me to even care. I think less would have been more, to be honest.
The romance. Hm. Since this book is kinda a huge mind fuck, I don’t think I connected to the characters and their feelings for each other all that well, although there were some lovely scenes in here, too. However, it seemed to me that the end of the book was suddenly crammed with love and sex and fun because we couldn’t have that earlier and I really didn’t like that at all.
Speaking of sex, the book connected sex with a lot of negativity or weirdness, which made me frown. It was smallish things and I think I am quite sensitive concerning this, but it still bothered me. The characters regarded themselves as being dirty for having sex in the line of duty. There was an emphasis on the huge dick of one of the characters, and there were well-meant ‘jokes’ about who gets to top—as if that were any better than bottoming.
There are lots of scenes with dubious or forced consent here, but, um, maybe they are not really real. *cough* Anyway, readers sensitive to lack of consent (in and out of the bedroom) should proceed with caution, or, well, not at all.
I actually do not know whether to recommend this book or not. It’s definitely nothing you get to read often and I think everyone will have quite a different reaction towards it. While the book didn’t work for me that well in the end, doesn’t mean this will be the case for other readers as well. So, if you are intrigued by the blurb—like I was—go ahead and try…
Al Stewart and Claire Davis write about people who are not perfect. Claire embraces the dark side, and Al the good side of the force. Their work is there for a fusion of both, mixed often with kink and humour.
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.