Title: Dead Ringer
Author: Heidi Belleau & Sam Schooler
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-337-7
Word count: ~120,000
Page count: ~453
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, GLBTQ, Romance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A tale of two young misfits who came across each other over their opposite fixations of one legendary figure. For Brandon, James Ringer was the callous cheating grandfather he never met. But Percy admire the silver screen heartthrob and collected anything of Ringer’s he could find. When these two met, so did the polar feelings over Ringer collided, though not all for the bad.
The story started rather slow with Brandon coming to terms with the fact that his grandmother, the only one ever care and love him, had died. We also had glimpses of what this young man had gone through in such short life time. Then switched to introduce Percival Charles, way better off than Brandon on monetary matters, but lived an isolated and rather loveless life due to his juvenile idiopathic arthritis condition.
Both characters, with their gloomy backgrounds, really didn’t promise a cheery story to tell. Brandon had started hustling at fourteen when he was tossed out from home for being gay. Percy’s life was depending on a meddlesome care-taker, literary for everything!
Shitty treatment to a dependent is a sour spot for me; which, in a way, explained my venomous contempt to certain care taker character throughout reading this. I guess I should applaud the authors that I played right into their tale. Otoh, I’m also exasperated how Percy didn’t see his nurse for what she truly was much sooner.
I admit to have to take a break a few times before continuing reading because the care taker’s abusive behavior escalating unforgivingly! To say my hands flexed and flexed for some necks to throttle was putting it mildly.
That saying, there were some very awesome supporting characters here too. Percy’s new friend, Kovie was one of the reason I could finish reading. She’s smart, witty, not a pushover, and certainly a catalyst to Percy’s path to “rebellion”. On Brandon side, there was kind, unassuming Theresa and the ever helpful and informative Judy, Brandon’s trans manager at his escort agency. These people helped me warm to the main characters gradually.
Because I didn’t really get Brandon’s such resentfulness to his grandfather. I thought he was one whiny young man. He never even met him in person and refused to see anything of James Ringer. At the same time, he was using his inherited look for a living, which was rather hypocrite in a way.. Perhaps being constantly compared to him was exhausting, and put dread as well as chips in the shoulders of. Which made the enlightening moments that much… sad, really.
The ending felt a bit rushed and overly dramatic to me. Too coincidental. Less painful punishment to the wicked witch (erm, care taker I mean). Too extended bed scenes…
I guess in a nutshell, while the story tried to be down to earth real, this was not the kind of happy ending I was expecting. I started reading fully aware one of the MC was a rent boy. I was hoping that by the time I closed the pages he would find new occupation. Unfortunately though… SIGH.
ARC was kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the exchange of an honest review.