Book Review – Beneath the Neon Moon by Theda Black
Genre: Paranormal Gay Romance
Publisher: TKB Books (July 12, 2010)
About the book:
“Zach’s alone, he’s lost his job and the rent’s coming due. He thinks he knows all about bad luck, but he’s about to find out what it really means.
In high school, Mal was the golden boy. Then he lost his way. Now he’s back on track, working his way through college and looking toward the future.
They’ve never met, but one summer night everything changes. They find themselves in desperate trouble, trapped and bound together in darkness.
The moon is riding high and bright in the sky when Zach notices Mal’s changing, growing volatile and wild. Suddenly Zach’s got bigger things to worry about than being kidnapped―he’s trapped with a man who’s going wolf with the full moon.”
The author Theda Black explained in her afterword that Beneath the Neon Moon came about from her wanting to pull off the challenge of writing this pretty fantastical storyline – where “two men in a basement, chained together, in terrible danger, falling in love in the middle of their ordeal” and where one of the men could presumably “eat the other’s intestines”. Pretty gross, huh – but she wanted to pull the story off with “heart”.
And whataya ya know – in my opinion she actually pulled it off! Somehow, the story did morph into a believable love story in the end. And she did that by the very strong characterizations for her main characters Zach and Mal.
It’s a horrible premise really – the two young men (the drifter Zach and college student Mal) wake up to find themselves chained together in a cellar. They have been kidnapped by a pair of dangerous & violent men (Aaron and Kane) for reasons that are slowly revealed through the course of the story. As Zach and Mal start to form a bond with each other during captivity, Mal starts exhibiting changes – changes that can prove fatal for Zach – especially with the coming of the full moon up ahead. Catch my drift?
The story is VERY dark and pretty violent – no mistake about that. Yes, it morphs into a love story in the end, but for majority of the book, the atmosphere is very tense and there’s a current of very real danger for the characters. Zach in particular is presented as a very damaged young man with a painful family history. There are scenes of violence (including Zach being sexually victimized) that may be disturbing for some readers.
What turns the book around really are Zach and Mal’s characters – how they tried to remain true and strong, and just because of who they were – I could actually believe that they had formed a real bond that could withstand even such a supernatural threat. This is a book that’s definitely not for the faint hearted, you’ve been warned!
Check out Beneath the Neon Moon and help support Theda Black!