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Puppet Boy

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  23 reviews
A school in turmoil over its senior play, a sly career as a teenage gigolo, an unpredictable girlfriend with damage of her own, and a dangerous housebreaker tied up downstairs. Any of these would make a great plot for budding filmmaker Eric's first movie. Unfortunately, they're his real life. When Julien, a handsome wannabe actor, transfers to Eric's class, he's a ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published November 16th 2015 by Bold Strokes Books
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Cross-posted at Outlaw Reviews and at Shelf Inflicted

Right from the start, I was gripped by this story. 18-year-old Eric’s mom has a busy career, leaving him alone for months at a time. All this freedom enables him to straddle multiple worlds – as a student producing one of Shakespeare’s more controversial plays, a boy toy to Margaret, an older female client, and as mate to Julien and Mary. Oh, and let’s not forget about the complicated relationship Eric has with the burglar tied up in his
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the spoiler free review of Puppet Boy. To read the spoiler full version with all the sexy details please visit my blog at

I met the author of Puppet Boy over the summer at one of the Pride festivals I attended. He was selling his books at a booth and read me (ahem) like a book. I was wearing my bisexual colored Captain America shield shirt and he pitched me the story of this bisexual thriller that sounded incredibly interesting. So naturally I
4.5 Compellng Read

I am not quite sure how to sum this up, this was one hell of a story, twisted, strange, dark and not what I expected. The story was quite intriguing, really held my attention, it was so difficult to put this down. The story was really harsh at times, and I still felt for Eric, the writing & story was compelling.
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Sometimes, when you read a book, things don't quite begin on a good note. However, you're optimistic that eventually the plot will click for you and you'll finish the book thinking of much you loved it. Sadly, that wasn't the case this time around.

Diving into this book was one of the most unpleasant reading experiences for me. :(

The majority of the reviews had people raving about it but, to me, the whole thing was a fourth-rate Brett Easton Ellis novel wannabe.

About the one positive I can say is
Redfern Barrett
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I just finished Puppet Boy and deeply enjoyed it, despite its having carved yet another hollow into my already pockmarked sense of well-being. Following the depraved storyline of the teenage Eric through his adventures in kidnapping, sex work, and planning his high school theatre production, it clawed at my interest like a middle-aged millionaire after their fifth cocktail (read the novel, that will make sense). At times dimming to a Brett Easton Ellis-style darkness, Puppet Boy features a heady ...more
Nathan Burgoine
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: glbt
So, this took me a long time to read and I don't want anyone to think that reflects upon the readability by any means. It's actually quite the opposite. These characters, who were in turns dark, empathetic, frightening, engrossing, and disturbing kept knocking me for a loop and—a quirk of mine—if I read tension thriller type books or horror books or dark psychological books and then go to sleep, I end up with bad dreams. So I measured this one out, read it when the sun was up, read it when I had ...more
Christina's Bookshelf
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer-fiction
Couple things to keep in mind to really enjoy this story.

1) This is NOT a romance. It is queer literature, and in my opinion, at its finest.

2) Must appreciate dark humor and understand the darker side of life.

If the above suits your fancy you can see the rest of my review on my website:
Seriously, WTF did I just read? I am at a loss for words. I don't know what the hell I just read.

It'''s weird!!!!!

It has taken me forever to get through it. I don't know what to say in a review. I don't even know how to review it. I can't say I would recommend this one anybody. And yet...Some people like dark and being mind fucked with. I don't know the right words. This is a psychological thriller with dark - I mean DARK - thoughts and actions. It doesn't have a Happy
Kevin Klehr
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'll come clean. I know the author, but that in no way has influenced my five star rating.

This was one book I found hard to put down, from its twisted opening, to the plot where everything may or may not be as it seems. The more left unsaid, the better.

You can tell this is a book that has taken time to write, through drafts and expert editing. For that very reason, it's worth taking the time to follow this right to the end. And even as someone who's finished it, I still feel I may need a reread
Avylinn Winter
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Baines made me take a plunge down the rabbit hole. It was dark, twisted, scary and mesmerizing. I made it out alive—barely.

Eric is, what my friend would say, a cirrus person. It’s not a clinical term for anything, but a word to describe those who do not think in the same way as most—individuals with too much passion burning inside their hearts to settle. They’re volatile, magnetic and potentially dangerous. They are the fire we seek, but oftentimes, they burn out or lose their grip of a world
Ralph Bardsley
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great writing. The author expertly weaves the stories of three main characters in a way that simultaneously brings them together and keeps them separate and distinct. Baines' main character, Eric, has a little bit of a dark side - his keeping a house burglar captive is both a little frightening and a little funny. But things heat up. One of my favorite moments is when Eric's girlfriend, Mary, begins to show an interest in the captive.

The story, while perhaps not for the faint hearted, will keep
Eric Henwood-Greer
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have only read one previous book from Baines--The Beast Without--which I liked, but I loved this book. The theatre scenes felt real, and the way it all ends up in a horrific joining of the cast in various ways, will stick with me in a long time. Christian Baines has a sick mind. One I will be happy to examine again after reading this. Without spoilers, I may be in the minority for wanting for a different ending.
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved the story - quite the page turner! It was dark, humourous, and hot, with each chapter keeping me wanting for more and questioning 'who is the real puppet master?'

A five-star recommendation from me :-)
Maya Cole
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Christian Baines’ second novel is as much a social commentary on the affluent youth of Sydney, as it is an exploration of the depths (and the darkness) of desire. Baines continues to grow as an author, as is evident in his skillful plot design and intoxicating character development. What I love most about his work is that he does not speak down to his readers. Christian knows exactly how to treat his audience: with the utmost respect to their intellect, while grabbing them with several points of ...more
Dean Munroe
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
STOP! YOU BETTER THINK! A fantastic read ...mind bending right up until the end, completely unexpected which made it even more gratifying. I felt satiated! Finally a book meant not to have happy ending filled with salaciousness, vengeance, sadism amidst darkness and pounded by dry humour. It is far from romance! I had to remind myself, I was reading fiction because it seemed more like a biography, something extremely real and ultimately twisted. To date, I have not read anything similar, it is ...more
Gary Hull
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I devoured it in a day, forced only to take breaks for meals and a nap... I really shouldn't take books like this into my bedroom... I finished it at 3:00am.

I was hooked from the beginning and really drawn into Eric's world. I was at times shocked, appalled, turned on and amused but the one thing I couldn't do was put it down.
Joyfully Jay
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jay
A Joyfully Jay review.

4 stars

Puppet Boy is quite a story and one I know I didn’t begin to explain well enough. There is way too much that happens here, something dark and twisty that is only slowly revealed throughout the story, so there isn’t too much I can say here without spoiling this really fascinating book. But first let me back up. I first learned about this story when I heard author Christian Baines do a reading and I was totally intrigued. I didn’t know much about the book, but when I
Bina Bhattacharya
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A subversive and sardonic romp, equal parts hilarious and fucked up. Without giving too much away, it tells the story of Eric, a gifted student at an elite performing arts high school who stops at nothing in his attempts to raise money to study abroad at elite American film schools, including sucking his friends and girlfriend into his sordid art projects and moonlighting as a rent boy to Sydney's repressed and wealthy upper classes. Eric is an enigmatic, richly layered and wholly unique ...more
Eric Andrews-Katz
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Three friends each express their awkward transitions through sharp turns and dark behaviors as they grow into adulthood.

Eric wants to be a director and tries to keep his life styles separate from one another. There is the Christian school board that tries to discourage his production of Titus Andronicus, his friends who are each discovering their own paths (and desires) in life, the robber that broke in whom Eric 'keeps' in his house, and Eric's more secretive life as a well-paid "Rent Boy" for
Lyle Smythers
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Against a backdrop of sophisticated cutting-edge high school theater, Mr. Baines gives us a suspenseful tale that is witty, disturbing, absorbing, and full of surprises. At times horrifying, and always compelling, it gives us a heaping helping of sexual ambiguity, sexual tension, and intriguing characters. I could not stop reading it. –Lyle Blake Smythers, author of Feasting With Panthers, Death by Sin, and the forthcoming Worms of Sin.
Marcel Watier
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved the mind-fuck that was this story. It was refreshing to be caught completely unaware by Eric. He was so not what I was expecting.

When I expected the story to go right, Christian takes it left and that made reading it completely fun for me.
Timothy Brown
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not your typical high school story, but a dark, twisted and very enjoyable novel!
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Matthew Bright
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Dec 07, 2019
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Mar 26, 2016
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Nov 14, 2017
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Christian Baines has written on travel, theatre, film, television, and various aspects of queer life, factual and fictional. Some of his stranger thoughts have spawned novels, including queer urban fantasy series The Arcadia Trust, the horror novella Skin, and Puppet Boy, which was a finalist for the 2016 Saints and Sinners Emerging Writer Award.

Born in Australia, he now travels the world
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