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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Book Review: Dancing in the Dark by T.L. Martin

WOW. Just, wow. This was so much more than I anticipated – in the best possible way… It was darker and edgier and more disturbing and weirder and more random, but all the bits came together under the masterful tutelage of T.L. Martin into a whole that was definitely more than the sum of its parts.

When I was approached about the review, my initial instinct was to turn it down. I struggle with the exceptionally dark twisted sides of the human soul. I don’t suffer from the infatuation with darkness that seems to infuse so many readers. I am no Pollyanna, don’t need my stories to all tie up tidily with a pretty pink bow or anything, but I don’t like to be horrified by the inhumane either. I don’t feel drawn to explore my darker side or to know what my limits are. I’m perfectly comfortable where I am, thank you very much, and dark erotic violent fiction doesn’t usually fall into my comfort zone. BUT thank goodness I decided to dance outside of that zone, because I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would have missed out on the author’s voice if I hadn’t been willing to open my mind a bit…

“When you have no soul, there’s no threat of losing it. With no threat, there’s nothing to fear. And without fear…you’re limitless.”

This is a dark and horrible tale about dark and horrible people. But it’s also populated by a disturbing and unusual form of optimism that I found oddly compelling and I suspect it’s precisely because it was so unusual. It doesn’t hurt that the writing is brilliant. Seriously, the voices are spot-on for all of the characters and there’s a clarion ring of believability even when things are the most bizarre and disturbing. (Yes, I know I keep using that word – “disturbing” – and should find another adjective for the sake of flow I’ve tried and none work, so you’ll have to bear with me because I’d rather be clear than entertaining.) There is a truly original horrific “truth” underpinning everything that happens in the story, and when it’s revealed your skin (like mine) may crawl. I can’t imagine how this was dreamed up, and certainly hope to heavens it wasn’t because of something experienced/read in the *real* world – but it’s an absolutely perfect way to tease out the intricacies – and banality – of evil that permeate the world these characters live in.

I wouldn’t want to come within 100 miles of any of these people in my life, but I’d jump feet-first, head-first, or anything-else first into another book featuring them (or their compatriots in spirit even if not in actuality) in a heartbeat because the book was one hell of a gloriously disturbing (I know, I know) ride… The writing is evocative, unusual, and absolutely spot-on in its blend of action and description. There’s a dissonance that rings throughout but it doesn’t distract from the story, rather it enriches it by emphasizing the contrasts that permeate the story and the characters’ reactions to the hands life has dealt them. It’s horrifically beautiful, a train wreck you can’t ignore and secretly won’t want to.

My review copy was graciously provided (despite my initial reluctance!) by the exceptionally talented and absolutely delightful T.L. Martin. Here’s hoping she keeps sending me books that I keep reluctantly accepting and then thoroughly enjoying for years to come!

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