A Flesh novel Reno Detective Cristian Flesh is an out and unashamed cop, but his slutty ways might be his downfall.
- In the Flesh by Ethan Stone
In the Flesh by Ethan Stone
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KB Kirsty Bicknell
About the Author
Ethan Stone is an out and proud gay man. Which is fairly new in his life, the out part, not the gay part. He’s been queer his whole life, though he tried to deny it for years with a wonderful woman. The years in denial weren’t all bad, he has two amazing kids out of it. His son is a teenager and his daughter has made him a grandfather, three times over. A way too young grandfather. Ethan recently returned to Oregon after almost a decade in Nevada. He no longer has a day job and is doing his best to make a living at this writing thing. If he can’t make a living, he at least wants to support his Mt. Dew and beef jerky addictions.
April 07, 2015
Sex and violence
A compelling mystery
For me, one of the questions Ethan Stone raises during In the Flesh is whether readers have to like a main character to become involved in the story. Cristian Flesh is no atypical hero; he is rude, obnoxious, aloof and promiscuous. There is very little in Cristian's character that readers can warm to, even though there are hints that he has suffered some kind of emotional and sexual trauma in his past. Generally an author would choose to reveal the history of their protagonist, sometimes all at once or gradually throughout the plot. However. with Cristian all that we know is that his past is the reason he lives with so many rules,
"I live my life by a strict set of rules. Some have been around since I was a kid; some are newer . . .The majority of the rules, and the most important, have to do with sex."
So, if I felt so disconnected from Cristian, why did I like In The Flesh? For one, the sex is HOT and there is quite a lot of it! In some circumstances, this would cause me to roll my eyes, but the reason that Ethan Stone makes the eroticism work with the mystery is that most of the drama happens because of sex, either directly or indirectly.
Although we can empathise with Cristian and the way in which he becomes a murder suspect, we also berate him for his insistence on being involved in the investigation. Ethan Stone does not create a mystery which is easy for us to solve. Each turn of the page means we uncover more and that is another reason we are compelled to read on.
In the Flesh is also a romance and though I enjoyed the relationship between Colby and Cristian, particularly the emotional connection, Gabe is by far my favourite character. Initially, Gabe's role is as an informant, but he becomes far more essential to Cristian's life and the plot.
Whereas everything about Cristian is hard, Gabe is vulnerable. He is a bundle of mixed emotions; confused about his sexuality, his responsibility to his son and girlfriend and his growing feelings for Cristian. I am particularly looking forward to the third book in the series, Blood and Tears, in which Gabe is the main character.
In the Flesh is the first novel I have read by Ethan Stone and I really enjoyed his style of writing. This is also a new genre for me but one I would recommend.
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