Saturday, June 3, 2017

Dinner at the Blue Moon Café by Rick R. Reed

A monster moves through the night, hidden by the darkness, taking men, one by one, from Seattle’s gay gathering areas.

Amid an atmosphere of crippling fear, Thad Matthews finds his first true love working in an Italian restaurant called the Blue Moon Café. Sam Lupino is everything Thad has ever hoped for in a man: virile, sexy as hell, kind, and… he can cook!

As their romance heats up, the questions pile up. Who is the killer preying on Seattle’s gay men? What secrets is Sam’s Sicilian family hiding? And more importantly, why do Sam’s unexplained disappearances always coincide with the full moon?

The strength of Thad and Sam’s love will face the ultimate test when horrific revelations come to light beneath the full moon.

2nd Edition
First Edition published as The Blue Moon Cafe by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2010.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

I’m not quite sure how to categorise this story. It’s a shifter story narrated by a human who doesn’t know shifters exist. It’s a murder mystery whodunnit, but we know who the villain is almost from the start. There are a couple of scenes which might push this into the horror genre – but on some level, this is also an m/m romance. All in all, this story left me a little bewildered.

This story is told from Thad’s perspective. I found Thad likeable but incredibly ordinary. Complete with chihuahua, his life fits every ‘gay in Seattle’ stereotype possible. At times, I enjoyed the way the supernatural/horror/murder mystery storylines play out against Thad’s mundane reality. But there were other points in this story where I was bored, wanting much less of Thad and Jared and much more of Sam and his family. If this were more of a literary novel, I think the unknowing narrator would work as a technique. But in a horror, I need my leading man to be memorable. In a romance, I want reasons to fall in love with my leading man. For me, Thad was entirely forgettable.

Sam fascinated me. There were so many moments where I wanted more of him and his family. I needed details. I wanted to know all about his family dynamics and I wanted to know what he was thinking. I wanted urban fantasy world building. But readers really only get Thad’s fragmented perspective on Sam. For me, this is the most confusing part of this book. I really don’t understand why the writer spends so much time on Thad and the equally mundane Jared when Sam has the potential to be a fabulous and original character.

For me, the shifter/horror/mystery elements of this book work better than the romance elements. I enjoyed the suspense and Thad and Jared’s interactions with the murderer. As for romance, I felt there was too much going on in the book for the central relationships to fully develop or ever feel convincing. I liked the uncertainty as Thad chose between Jared and Sam, but I honestly didn’t have a preference by the end.

RICK R. REED is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery, and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation, and The Blue Moon Cafe). His novel, Raining Men, won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary General Fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Dinner at the Blue Moon Café by Rick R. Reed to read and review.

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