Book Review by Jude: Elias by Erin E. Keller


After his partner’s death, Thomas Doyle lives a life made of work and late-night sexual encounters with unnamed bodies. It’s a life of solitude that leaves him too much time to think and regret.

Yet, despite everything, he jealously treasures it.

That’s why when Elias Byrne—who comes out of the shadows of Thomas’ nights—suddenly bursts into his everyday life with arrogance, Thomas finds himself fighting against ambivalent feelings—the need to reject the tormented Elias and the strange, inconceivable, and difficult to accept desire to join their solitudes.

Purchase: Ninestar Press / Amazon
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*A free copy of this book was provided by Ninestar Press in return for an honest review*

Trigger Warning: domestic abuse, sexual assault

1 Star

I simply cannot recommend this book for several reasons, the biggest of which is the frankly terrible handling of forced sex work and attempted rape. These elements are huge plot/character elements for Elias (one of our MC’s) and are treated as cheap tropes. I don’t generally word things that strongly in reviews, but I feel really strongly that one should NEVER use these sorts of things in a story if it’s not carefully handled, explored, and an integral part of character growth, character work, character insight, healing etc.

And it should NEVER be paired with healing cock. Which it basically was. I mean, we’re told that Elias is pimped by his brother several times and once the “secret” is out with Thomas (which, consequently, was done rather confusingly, I somehow didn’t even realize he *had* until I re-read the pages before a few times), Thomas has some “Oh no, wow that’s awful” moments and…that’s really as deep as it goes. They talk about it, and it affects their relationship, sort of?

I can’t even go into the treatment of the attempted rape.

What’s worse is that this book made little sense to me. There was nothing realistic about how they began their relationship. I could not for the life of me figure out why Thomas would continue to be intrigued by a character when their first meeting amounts to an admition that Elias stalked him from a club to his home? Thomas even tells himself he’s creeped out by it. But their next encounter at a club he’s both disturbed but interested somehow? There’s almost no in depth character work to explain this. Elias’s anger at Thomas at not noticing him is handled in a way that…I’m sorry was just…no?

Honestly, I don’t want to belabor the point. This story was not for me. Even had the disturbing elements been removed, the development of their relationship made no sense to me. All told, I cannot recommend this one.


Erin E. Keller lives with her husband and many cats in a house by a wheat field. Irish in her heart and soul, she hopes to move one day to the Emerald Isle. She loves to write about love. And men.
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Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Nine Star Press Review Trigger Warning: Domestic Abuse Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

Jude Sierra View All →

Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother who began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”. Jude began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007.

Jude is currently working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for Queer Books Unbound. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary queer romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her most recent novel A Tiny Piece of Something Greater was released in May of 2018. Shadows you Left, a co-written novel with Taylor Brooke will arrive spring of 2019 from Entangled Press.

Twitter: @JudeSierra
Instagram: /judemsierra/

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