I'm a writer. I write m/m erotica. Kind of dark stuff, even though in real life I like rainbows and puppies and kittens. Not all at once though. That would be overwhelming.
I liked this book a lot, but I think I liked the ideas in it more than the execution of it.
The journey of Padrig, a man coming to terms not only with being drugged and forced into prostitution but also coming out the other side with HIV, should have been more emotionally gripping than it was. Padrig never really had a massive breakdown about it, so neither did I. Also, I'm not sure what the protocols are in other countries, but I thought in most places when someone is dumped at a hospital and claims they've been raped, the police are called immediately. There were ties here to human trafficking and organised crime that were never really explored at all, and made me think it might have worked better if Padrig had just fucked up and got HIV from unsafe sex with the wrong guy.
The strongest part of this book is in the new friends that Padrig makes when he's out of hospital: the diverse bunch of men he meets at the assisted living facility he initially stays at. I was really fascinated by the "magnetic couples" (one is positive, one is negative) and would have liked to see more of this explored once Padrig was back with Nick.
I had another nitpick that may be a little more controversial: there seemed to be a lot of guys in this book who were happily embarking on relationships with HIV positive men. There seemed to be very little soul-searching done or, if it was done I guess it was done offscreen. I definitely would have liked to see that aspect explored a little more. Mention was made of the fact that these men will one day watch their partners die, but I wanted more than that acknowledgement. Because it must be a hell of a thing to decide to commit to someone knowing that they have HIV, and knowing that you've just upped your own risk factor a lot more.
Like I said, I loved the ideas in this book. I just had some trouble connecting with the characters on an emotional level, and I felt there was a lot of unexplored potential here.
The last chapter of this book though -- loved it! And the last line -- perfect!