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A Dangerous Man

– tekijä: Anne Brooke

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
423466,725 (4.22)-
Michael Jones, a young gay artist and part-time hooker, will do anything to stage his first exhibition. When he falls in love with rich financier Jack Hutchinson, he seems set to achieve his goal. But as Michael becomes caught between the unforgiving territory of smoky-bar Hackney and the green-garden luxury of upper class London, the consequences of his uncompromising pursuit leave him having to fight for all he holds dear, and in the only way he knows how.… (lisätietoja)
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näyttää 3/3
How the hell do I rate this book? If I go by the "traditional" ratings it would be a one star, because, no, I didn't like it. But the problem is it was brilliant. Very well written, with characters that grabbed hold of me and made me feel. And I usually give at least a four star rating for that. But I DIDN'T really like what the story was all about, but I'll admit it was amazing at the same time... See, this is what happens. In reality, if it wasn't for the fact that I had committed this book to several challenges, I honestly don't know if I would (or could) have finished it.

It is very dark, very edgy. And while I like dark and edgy, this was uncomfortable. It was psychological, disturbing. There were too many elements in there that truly showed how damaged one of the MC's really was. And there was no coming back from that all. It was bleak, tortured, brilliantly written, but in all honesty, too much for me.

So, I'm glad I've finished this book. I won't be able to ever even think about reading it again, yet the characters are still staying with me. So, as such, the book has done it's job. i now just need to decide how to rate it: technically or emotionally?
( )
  ShazOV | Feb 10, 2021 |
If you enjoy thrillers, are a bit of an Anglophile and/or think it’s high time that literary fiction depict a more diverse spectrum of gay characters, then take a walk on the dark side with Anne Brooke’s extraordinary novel A Dangerous Man.

It’s the story of ambitious, yet damaged, young artist [and sometime hustler] Michael Jones and his ill-fated attempt to make a name for himself in the London art world. At the outset of the story, Jones’s whole world is the seedy neighborhood of Hackney, where he rents a small room from Joe, an art dealer, and Joe’s caustic lover, Paul. Paul, the story’s main antagonist, gives the destitute Michael a break on the rent in trade for "services rendered," and their scenes together really ooze creepiness. In many ways, Michael is still a child; trapped by circumstances and lacking the emotional tools or intellectual wiles to escape. Not only does this help the reader to sympathise with him, but it provides the perfect set-up for the tragedy that unfolds.

Because Michael is the narrator, we see the world through his slightly skewed perspective and it is strongly hinted that his perceptions have been coloured by traumatic childhood experiences. I give Brooke a lot of credit for creating a character who is so difficult to embrace. He’s a classic unreliable narrator - bitter, paranoid and not entirely in control of his emotions, which gives him a depth that many a contemporary gay literary protagonist tends to lack.

Descriptions of down-at-heels Hackney and Michael’s edgy artwork itself (bold pencil and charcoal sketches) represent outward reflections of the bleakness inside the young man. His worldview is depressing - a monochromatic sooty grey and he sees everything [and everyone] in overly simplified terms. Black or white, good or bad.

With the help of Joe, he lands a gig creating some pieces for a posh reinsurance office and, in the process, manages to captivate Jack, an executive at the firm, ultimately moving in with him and convincing him to partially underwrite a solo exhibition. But when he’s told he must put up a portion of the funds himself in order to mount the show, it leads to his undoing, because, unfortunately, Michael only knows one way to make money.

I think Brooke’s only misstep is with the relationship between Michael and Jack. She seems to feel obligated to let the reader know Michael is truly in love with Jack right from their first meeting, while still implying that there’s a mercenary element to Michael’s interest. It would have been more intriguing (and, in the end, way more tragic) if Michael had been initially attracted by Jack’s wealth and true love blossoms only later, as he gets to know Jack better. Not to mention that the passages in which Michael secretly pines over the hunky Jack tend to be a tad school-girlish in tone.

The violent ending builds to a satisfying pitch, leaving the reader ripping through the final pages to find out how it will all end. While she shies away from giving the most grisly details (a bit of a disappointment), the book still stands up to any classic modern thriller on the market today. ( )
  blakefraina | Nov 1, 2010 |
Anne has created a story based around a character’s very human flaws and that makes for a very captivating read. "Mikey" has had a difficult life and, alas, this colours his future for all time. There’s an underlying tension that permeates the book reminiscent of a thriller, even though the story, initially at least, largely seems to involve one man’s hopes, dreams and desires as the antagonistic force constantly pushing the story forwards. Even in the happiest moments, you have the sense it will all, shortly, be snatched from Mikey’s grasp and you want to shake sense into him. I felt equally irritated with Michael as I was in pain for him.

This book uses London as a character as much as the people, and acts as a lesson in class and class-divide. It’s disturbing, mysterious, and plays havoc with your emotions. In addition, Anne has written a perfect rendition of a romance that often is as delightful as it is harrowing, proving that you don’t always need overly graphic language and images to have an audience cheering. Just because this book involves a gay relationship, don’t let that confuse you. You’re not getting overly explicit sex scenes, and yet many of the intimate moments between Michael and Jack are so touching that they make the bad moments of the story hurt more.

As a writer, I can spot an ending and, in many ways, I knew what was coming. Ultimately, I would have written this with a softer ending but maybe because Anne chooses the harsher route this makes for a more unforgettable book. I have to confess I felt essentially uneasy while reading this, but that’s no fault of the writer — it’s even what she intends, and the work deserves more recognition than many of the books that end up on some celebrity’s recommended list. ( )
  SharonMariaBidwell | Nov 27, 2008 |
näyttää 3/3
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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Michael Jones, a young gay artist and part-time hooker, will do anything to stage his first exhibition. When he falls in love with rich financier Jack Hutchinson, he seems set to achieve his goal. But as Michael becomes caught between the unforgiving territory of smoky-bar Hackney and the green-garden luxury of upper class London, the consequences of his uncompromising pursuit leave him having to fight for all he holds dear, and in the only way he knows how.

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