And now for something completely different! Mark decided to take a little sidestep away from a traditional M/M romance and read a wonderful mystery-thriller by Greg Herren which has an M/M romance thread running through the book. Mark LOVED this book and to find out why then read his review below………..
We also are absolutely delighted and thrilled to have Greg Herren with us in the SSBR house today too with a video guest post – YEAH!!! He tells us why the 80s film Splash became the inspiration for Dark Tide and reads an excerpt from his book, go check it out……..
Title: Dark tide
Author: Greg Herren
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Release: September 2014
Genre: M/M (murder-mystery)
For Ricky Hackworth, a summer job to save money before he leaves for college is a necessity. When he lands a job as a lifeguard at the Mermaid Inn in Latona, Alabama, on the beautiful Gulf Coast, it’s like a dream come true. But once he moves into the Inn, he starts hearing stories about the lifeguard from the previous summer…and how he vanished without a trace right in the middle of the summer. Before long, Ricky realizes the Inn and the town are hiding some dark secrets…secrets someone is willing to kill to protect, and Ricky has to find out the truth before he, too, vanishes without a trace.
Mermaids and mermen, old legends, disappearances, shady characters, murder-mystery, all make up the ingredients for a great read. You're probably asking, where is the M/M romance? Mark forgot the M/M romance - oh no!!!!! But I just loved this book.
Well, before I start let's say with this book I have taken a bit of a sidestep away from the traditional M/M romance and decided to read what is essentially a pure murder-mystery. Why did I decide to do this? Well, sometimes I just need a change, but don't panic I haven't wondered off course too much, there is still most definitely an M/M theme running through this book. That's what I liked so much, for me this book is a murder-mystery story foremost where the M/M love is there, but we only get a glimpse of it right at the very end. And beautifully done it was too, left me with a watery eye for sure.
Ricky gets a summer job as a lifeguard at a place called the Mermaid Inn located in Mermaid Bay off the gulf cost near a run-down town called Latona in Alabama. Greg sets the scene perfectly and I could really envisage this old Victorian style hotel on the coast nestled in the dunes, but a sinister atmosphere hangs in the very air. Ricky has got the job to try and pay for his college fees as he has got a scholarship to Tuscaloosa due to his swimming. I could so feel his determination, admired and respected him. Coming from a poor family, where his mum died early and basically through his whole childhood was brought up by his dad. They may have been poor and Ricky classed as white-trash by his fellow classmates at school, but the love between father and son was wonderful to read. It’s really all any child needs in my opinion and no amount of material wealth will make up for the love and attention of parents. Ricky’s father scrimped and saved to send his son to swim camp and training, sacrificing everything he may have saved to give his son a better future was just such a wonderful touch. So maybe white-trash in terms of hard cash, but in my opinion richer than any millionaire in terms of love. May sound a little clichéd, but still holds true, just because you are poor doesn't mean to say you have to behave like trash. Ricky's dad is very proud of his son and has done a great job in raising his son alone. A fact he can be very proud of indeed! This is just one of the aspects of this story that I enjoyed a lot.
Anyway, Ricky has his summer job now as not to burden his father too much financially and this job should fill the coffers a little before going to college. When he arrives at the Mermaid Inn the greeting is very cool to say the least. Not what you would expect when starting a new job. As time goes by he learns that the young lifeguard who was there the previous summer had disappeared without a word or trace and is still missing. It has been so long now that there is possibly very little hope of finding him alive or he never wants to be found again. From here on in the book had me in it's grip and I couldn't put it down. The writing was vivid, descriptive and my head was full of imagery. Where I live the Germans have word for when you read a book ~ Kopfkino ~ translated literally means “head cinema” but the meaning is one of when you are reading the imagination takes over and you have a film going on in your head. This Greg definitely achieved for me.
As Ricky starts to meet people in the town, listens to what they have to say about it and its legends of mermen, this whole town seems to live from what little tourism there is and the Mermen legend permeates absolutely everything. The whole atmosphere starts to become more sinister. Seriously, it was like you get the feeling everyone is hiding something, there is something going on but it’s just very ephemeral and fleeting at the beginning ..……the plot thickens. Ricky takes it upon himself to start asking and finding out a little more about the town's history, its people and in so doing puts himself into more danger. These legends of mermen go right back to the Native Americans who originally inhabited the bay, but since that time people have still disappeared on a regular basis right up to modern times. Pure legend or is there more modern influences at work? I loved the way the author brings the legends of these mermen to life by using Ricky's dreams and nightmares as a vehicle to give them life. Maybe there are more supernatural powers at work here than it first appears. It got me almost believing that quite possibly these mermen really do exist. Again the Kopfkino took over and it was as though Ricky’s dreams were my own.
Cecily, the owner’s niece of The Mermaid Inn and Alana, the waitress at the local diner, both try to warn Ricky that what is happening to him is exactly what happened to the lifeguard before! oh dear! It was like history was repeating itself and the girls are really concerned for him. It certainly raised the mystery-thriller plot a notch higher.
Hhhmmmm, things start to get very curious indeed. People giving him cryptic warnings to be careful and not to trust certain characters. While reading I was thinking, “why the hell is Ricky not taking these warnings seriously,” especially when the warnings are coming from people, like Cecily and Alana, who seem to be genuine enough and concerned for his welfare. I could have slapped Ricky myself for ignoring these warnings. For being so mule-headed. It was as if he was looking for trouble on purpose!
At about 60% of the way in to the book I was thrown such an unexpected turn of events with a plot twist I seriously didn't see coming. I’m usually pretty good at working things out, but I seriously did not see this one coming at all! Placed me in a bit of a flat spin and left me a little discombobulated for a minute to say the least. Well, for me this is something that was skilfully done. When the author gives you the feeling that everything seems to be normal and that the MC is really doing nothing unusual and then........wham.........you get a revelation you didn't see coming! LOVED it! However, the main thing here is that it still ties in nicely with everything that had gone before where you have one of those forehead slapping moments and the only thing you can say first is “WTF!” and then after a “Duh!” of course the clues were there all the time.
From here on in I couldn't put the book down. I needed to get to the bottom of this mystery too. All the time shouting at Ricky not to be such an idiot, to listen to those people that are trying to warn him of the danger. But does he listen to me? Nooooo.........does he hell the like! Right up until the very end where I received another revelation, yes….another one, all is revealed and everything makes sense - thank goodness!
When I was a teenager it was next to impossible to find stories, normal stories and not necessarily romance stories where the MCs are just gay. It was always the hero (man) sailing off in to the sunset with his new love, inevitably a female MC. A little stereotypical I know, but I think you get the picture. But not only with literature, with films, with romance, with magazines, with TV shows, etc. Therefore it is wonderful today to think we have authors writing what could be described as excellent mainstream stories but the characters are gay. The story isn’t about their “gayness” but about who they are as people and characters within the story. In this book Greg also deals with some of the darker and seedier parts of gay culture, but that’s OK for me too as it’s real and only adds to the whole mystery-thriller experience. It shows the good and bad of gay culture in one book, but then that’s only a reflection of society in general anyway.
Greg has written for me personally a great book. A great murder-mystery, with plot twists and revelations skilfully done and a writing style that flows wonderfully. So is this an M/M romance? Well, I can only say that if you are expecting MCs to be falling in love with lusty erotic love scenes in every chapter then you will be a little disappointed. However, if you like a good murder-mystery with an M/M theme, then READ this book. There is a romance, but the romance doesn't have a HEA I'm afraid. A bitter sweet ending with closure that brought a tear to my eye for sure. This is what I like about such books and this will not be the last book I’ll be reading from Greg Herren for sure.
Video Guest Post
Go to our YouTube Channel HERE.
About the Author
I’m often asked why I became a writer.
Usually, I’ll give some hoity-toity answer about ‘expressing myself’ and ‘all the stories I want to tell’ and the ‘joy of creation.’
The real truth is I can’t hold a job.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been fired, or the place I worked went out of business—well, I’d be sipping a margarita on a gorgeous white sand beach on a tropical island somewhere. It’s sad, but true. I’ve tried just about everything—fast food, retail, airlines, travel, bank teller, insurance, natural gas sales—but in almost every case, either the business shut down or I got a pink slip.
I finally realized it was the Universe telling me to chase my dreams and start writing—and I’ve never looked back.
At this time, under my own or one of my pseudonyms, I’ve published over twenty novels. I won’t list them here—they’re elsewhere on this site, but definitely take a look and buy them—they make excellent gifts!
I was born in Alabama but grew up in Chicago. I graduated high school and started college in Kansas, finishing in California, and then I moved to Houston for a few years. After Houston, I lived in Tampa for four years before eight months in Minneapolis (too cold!) and finally, I made it down here to New Orleans.
Like Tennessee Williams, I consider New Orleans to be my spiritual home.
I also spent a number of years working as both a personal trainer and an aerobics instructor. I trained for a while as a professional wrestler.
But the truth is, for as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer.
And I’ve been incredibly lucky.
Connect with the Author
Sinfully Sexy will be giving away one Kindle ebook copy of Dark Tide by Greg Herren. Just enter the rafflecopter below.
Good Luck! X
As I’m sure you are all very aware, Facebook is now restricting Page Views. To ensure that you still get all of Sinfully Sexy’s notifications, new releases, new reviews, giveaways, please follow these simple steps
- Go to our Facebook Page
- Hover your mouse over the LIKED button beneath the cover picture.
- You will see a "Get Notifications" option.
- Click it and make sure it is checked.
- Add it to your interests too.