Rating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Vegas moved to Indiana after both of his parents died and was raised by his grandmother. He never felt that Indiana was the place for him, however, and dreamed of moving to NYC. When Vegas makes it to the city, he finds it hard to make ends meet until he meets London, who became his best friend, and then Bronx who became his boyfriend.
Vegas loved Bronx and the life they were making together until Bronx became increasingly distant and then abusive. London is there to help him with a place to stay and a job at Black Vanilla, where Vegas becomes a phone sex operator. Vegas fields all kinds of calls from men wanting all kinds of scenarios played out over the phone, but Vegas has always felt safe until one specific caller who knows too much about Vegas and it becomes clear that Vegas is being watched. When the calls don’t stop, Vegas becomes increasingly distraught and as the danger ramps up, Vegas is tangled up in a world of deceit and obsession where trusting anyone could be a fatal mistake.
This book opens with a want ad offering full-time work as a phone sex operator, while also assuring complete anonymity. This is how we first meet Vegas as his headset is beeping with his next caller on the line. Vegas has had it rough with both of his parents dying and then never feeling like he fit in. After his grandmother died, he took the chance to come to NYC. He took jobs wherever he could, became instant friends with London, and then met Bronx who attracted him like no other man ever did.
Dirty Talk is some kind of story I will tell you that. You may be wondering about the romance aspect, but this book doesn’t have a traditional romantic arc with one specific couple and if that is what you absolutely need, then this is not that book. This book will give you Vegas, who can carry this story all on his own, and it will give you a thriller with romantic elements while it twists and turns until even after the very last word.
Primarily this story is told from Vegas’ POV, but this book is a classic example of unfortunate head hopping. The POV at times shifts within a scene for only a sentence or two and then back again and it was unnecessarily distracting. Different POV would have been extremely welcome, but the mid paragraph, one sentence hops were counter-effective rather than helpful.
There was a lot to like about this book, starting with Vegas and the allure of a suspenseful story to see just who is after him and I turned pages quickly until the end. There were some areas however, that didn’t work as well for me. The author deliberately chose names for most of the characters that were locations, such as Vegas, Aspen, Nevada, and Jersey, with the exception of the Vegas’ boss, Driver, and that name itself had me taking notice. Black Vanilla was said to offer complete anonymity, but these names were used as the characters’ real names as well. When they all went out to a club, it was said that the Black Vanilla crew were “legendary” on the party scene so the part of guaranteeing their anonymity was entirely lost. Also, the book takes place in NYC, but there was British style spelling used and Vegas called his apartment a “flat,” which wasn’t geographically representative.
The ending, well, if you read a lot of mysteries or thrillers you come to expect the twists and turns and this book offered plenty, but I was always waiting for the final blow to come and then it did…or did it? If I knew there was more to come with a second book I would definitely have a different feel on the ending as I would like to see it directly from the author’s POV to tie it all up. There was a part of me that wanted to rate this book a bit higher, but the other part couldn’t overlook the POV shifts, the areas of language, and a potentially ambiguous ending. I would like for this book to find its audience as it definitely grabbed onto me and I thought about it well after I had finished it, but there were inconsistencies and distinct reservations that ultimately caused conflict in my reading experience.