Rating: 4.25 stars
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Max, the Sequel follows Max by Bey Deckard and the books are intended to be read in order. This review will naturally reveal plot lines for the series.
Max and Crane are living in Mexico under assumed names. Crane has anxiety that he will be found out, and he has anxiety about Max, and that anxiety can unravel him. Crane’s health, both physical and mental, is strained to the point of breaking and, due to language barriers and monetary issues, Crane is dependent on Max for everything. Yet, Crane cannot walk away, and Max is content with that. Max lies, and lies on top of those lies, and even though Crane knows it, he is addicted to Max and he cannot break that addiction—he’s not even sure he wants to.
When Crane is presented with an opportunity to clear his name and break free from Max, he struggles with what to do. But his addiction to Max may just be too far gone for Crane to ever recover.
Max was released in 2016 and it was a whirlwind of a story. To have a sequel come out so many years later was interesting and I was able to fall right back into this trippy story. There’s not much I can say regarding the plot without giving anything or everything away. We do see how Max and Crane have created lives in Mexico under assumed names, but they are anything but settled. Maybe Max is settled, but Crane is most certainly not.
We think we are getting more of Max’s story here but, because he is a pathological liar, it’s impossible to believe anything he says, but Crane still lets him make amends time and again. Max puts Crane in some horrible situations, ones that are dangerous to his health, and still Crane finds a way to forgive him each time. We do get a clue as to why that might be, but it is not explored further than the idea being planted.
That’s what you get with Max. You get wild sociopathic behavior that benefits Max the most. Does he care for Crane? In his own way, as he spends all of his time with him, but he gets off on causing havoc for Crane maybe most of all. I was looking forward to getting to know the “real” Max a little more, but that wasn’t what happened and maybe by the end Max is even more mysterious than before. The men are bonded in unhealthy, co-dependent ways and it’s clear that Crane can’t even function without Max in his life. The writing here remains stellar, as the tension and atmosphere of their surroundings lives on in the words.
This duet of books is not for all readers, but I am glad they are for me, and Deckard wrote this partly because so many readers asked for a follow up. I still would have liked to learn more about Max, but it was certainly a trip to reconnect with these two and see where their relationship took them next.