Review: Double Blind by Heidi Cullinan
Okay. I fucking love Heidi Cullinan and I think I want to have her baby.
I'll confess: I was blown away by SPECIAL DELIVERY... which at first glance (trucker & twink crosscountry) had all the makings of crappy semi-porno, but actually turned out to be every bit as raunchy and sweet as I could have wanted. A genuinely superb LGBT romance with teeth and heart and a big fat hardon.
DOUBLE BLIND just knocks that shit out of the water. Again, looking at the blurb I sort of cringed at the stylized setup (man down on his luck in Vegas falls in with truckers and mobsters. Oof!) and the potential for über-crap, but her goddamn skill and clarity saves it every time.
This book gives us an unlovable dirtbag and a end-of-his-rope loser and makes us not just care about them but root for them. In a kind of wild abandon, she serves up metric tons of Vegas clichés, but without them ever feeling overfamiliar, because she reimagines them all lovingly for her fractured protagonists. There are business deals and hidden homo-history for minor characters and even tacky statuary as a major plot element. And just cause Cullinan knows how to build a full-on environment for her characters and her readers, she serves up funky and intriguing detail about the world of casinos, just as the first book had these crazy facts about trucking... so that the world kind of congeals around you and the characters. Real skill and a deft hand at work on every page.
Heidi Cullinan reinvents a skeevy character from SPECIAL DELIVERY in a completely satisfying and surprising way. Plus builds on the primary relationship introduced in that book without destroying what made it so satisfying. And again with the sweetness and raunchiness that has this funny way of sneaking up on you. Hot sex that doesn't feel like it's written out of a catalog by a robot. Every moment of filthy/endearing erotica advances plot and character and empathy...
The thing is... Cullinan writes with joy and appetite and glee, and they're downright infectious. Her verve and zest for these strange men and their unfamiliar (to me) circumstances make me feel like the books extend beyond their pages... which is the mark of the best genre writing. Gorgeous.
If you haven't read these two books, you're ass-crazy and you must go do that now. Go ahead... I'm waiting. SPECIAL DELIVERY. Seriously. And then DOUBLE BLIND. Call me a liar, I double-dog dare you.MM-mm good is right.
Sheesh. I just went and bought copies of HERO and everything else I could find(which I'll be reading, stat) to support her career. I may even write the woman an embarassing letter of appreciation. She is a treasure and she's getting better, polishing her own mettle.