Friday, February 24, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: King of Paine by Larry Kahn

Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Publisher: North Atlanta
Page Count: 353
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

A desperate patient. A rumored cure. How far would you go to find the fountain of youth?

Frank Paine is not your prototypical FBI agent. He's an ex-Hollywood stud with a kinky past, an irreverent wise-ass who craves forgiveness from the woman he loves. When a ruthless stalker uses Frank's indiscretions to ensnare him in an erotic cat-and-mouse death match, his investigation points toward a missing biochemist. His hunt for her secret haven takes one tragic turn after another, until he finds himself facing an impossible dilemma. Someone will die as a result of his decisions, and it may be his soulmate. Or him.
What Stephanie Thinks: Can I first just say that the blurb of this book, as well as the cover, really, doesn't do it justice? The blurb makes it sound like a fantasy novel, and the cover, something incredibly sex-targeted. While sex is one of the main themes of this story, it's not what you're thinking; it's not just another piece of erotica. The "fantasy" aspect isn't so over-the-top, either. In fact, it's very scientific, very legal, in a way that I never expected just from the cover. Even with the sensitive issues of BDSM and euthanasia, I think King of Paine makes for brilliant, overall completely satisfying suspense science fiction—one that enters the mainstream, and one that ought to be way better-recognized.

Frank Paine is basically the ideal romantic suspense hero. I know this book doesn't come off as a love story—that's another thing to add to the list of what one wouldn't expect from this novel—but beyond the FBI cracking down clues and delusional serial killers carrying out heinous sex crimes, King of Paine is a love story. Paine has the good looks and the charm and the mentality. What he doesn't have, is atonement for his past, nor riddance of the ghosts that haunt him of the woman he screwed up with majorly many years before, but still loves, even to this day. But when she, Jolynn Decker—former small-time actress now-turned bar dancer, thanks to his fuck-ups—suddenly shows up again after all this time, the fact that her entrance is ill-timed to the case he's working on, can't possibly be a coincidence. The top-secret case involves humiliation, sex humiliation, via the dangerous world of online BDSM chat rooms and other methods of kink. And both Frank and Jolynn turn scarlet as they remember their own kinky past. However, Frank realizes he can't allow his past with Jolynn to impede his dilemmas now. Because if he keeps extracting his old ghosts, he won't ever be able to progress in the present.

I know some of you are wincing right now. BDSM and sexual internet perversion in a mainstream novel? Yessir. Trust me, even though the topics are a little racy, the story is more than just twisted fiction. I seriously think King of Paine is the most canny and intelligent suspense piece I've ever read. Kahn's literary style is, I cannot stress enough, very impressive, and his organization and consistency of thought (which are the essential elements of a good whodunnit) amaze me. His diction is grandiose, never boring and always intriguing, but he does all this without sounding unprofessional or perverted, in the way that many authors of similar genres do.

What I think I'm keenest on, is how this book covers so many branches of interest. Not just the sex, but also the federal suspense, the science of youth, the medical world, the secrets. Accolades to Kahn for his ability to somehow weave all of these together.

As for characters, the two I like best, surprise surprise, are Frank and Jolynn. Frank, while he is the typical sexyass hunk (you know how fond of them I am), is also just in my opinion, the perfect man. Not perfect as in flawless, because he has many imperfections as we humans tend to, but perfect as in respectable and admirable even with his mistakes and shortcomings. He doesn't let his status—both social and physical—get to his head, which I love about him. He stays grounded by the woman he loves fiercely, even though he knows she'll hurt him most, and that kind of courage pulls at my heart. Jolynn's character on the other hand, isn't as deeply probed, but I think she would be the kind of person I'd get along with well in real life. Witty and beautiful in that ethereal, unattainable way, she's another character I fell in love with and rooted for during the entire book. The secondary characters (Frank's coworkers, the prime suspects, the old friends) are likable also, and I think characterization is another one of Kahn's many strengths.

I really don't think my review does this book justice either. It's just THAT good. Sorry if my thoughts are a bit messy, but if my review isn't clear enough, you must go check this one out. At times, some of the scientific facts and law-related data become dull, but overcoming them heightens the adrenaline of its plot, trust me. This book will become your newest obsession as well as your biggest nightmare. Yes, I fucking dreamed about it. It is a medical suspense and a legal thriller and contemporary literary sex propaganda all rolled into one. It is fucking fantastic, not only for its stunning depth and complexity, but for its all-encompassing message that love, even when all hope is lost, shall prevail, but only if you really try, and only if you are willing to sacrifice all you have now and all you worked for in the past, to make it work out.

Stephanie Loves: "Running a hand through his clipped hair, Frank knew in his heart Jolynn was not playing him, at least not in the way Jero imagined. The problem was that his heart had betrayed him before."

Radical Rating: 9 hearts: Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥