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Birthday Presents

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  21 ratings  ·  11 reviews
For Tracey, life has become a nightmare. Kidnapped from a nightclub in Boulder, Colorado, brutalized and raped by the killer known as Crimson, he’s held captive alongside Kyle, a young man Crimson keeps chained to his bed and is slowly torturing to death. Though Tracey manages to escape with Kyle’s help, he is forced to leave Kyle behind.

Gene has never stopped looking for
Published October 11th 2017 by Less Than Three Press (first published October 10th 2017)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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I made a mistake requesting this book from NetGalley. This is TOTALLY not in my wheelhouse - too much torture porn and very disturbing, IMHO. Just to reiterate, this book is NOT for me. The error is on my part.
This is NOT a romance. This is a horror story. I knew this going in, and I was still pretty horrified while reading.

Birthday Presents is dark. It contains rape, torture, and death. The villain is seriously disturbed. There are explicit scenes that are difficult to read. This book is not for the faint-hearted.

The plot is fairly straight-forward, and we know from the get-go who the villain is. Spending time in Crimson's mind made me want to bleach my brain to get the disturbing images gone - he'
Nephylim Nephylim
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book for the faint hearted. Told from various perspectives, one of which is a serial killer, the story is complex, deep and chilling.

Crimson kills beautiful young men as birthday presents to himself. He is a master of his craft; intelligent, creative and always one step ahead. He made a mistake when he stole Kyle though, and a bigger one when he kept him. Torturing Kyle slowly to death might have been the biggest thrill of his life but this, and his obsession with Tracey, is what f
J.P. Jackson
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

As others have already said in their reviews, Harstock did an admirable job delving into the mind of a serial killer - there were several passages that were tough to get through just from the darkness of the killer in this novel. Crimson's mind is a very deep pit of ugliness. Sex and violence has always been a tough reconciliation for me. Those accustomed to slasher horror may be comfortable with this, but I suspect many others will struggle. Anyone expecting a M/M Romance from this nov
Joyfully Jay
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sammy
A Joyfully Jay review.

4 stars

Dianne Hartsock’s new novella, Birthday Presents, is a terrifying look at a psychopath who finds utter fulfillment in torturing, raping, and killing young men. While there are a few happy ever afters for various characters in this story, they are hard won and the men are slow to heal. I liked this aspect about the story the best I think—lots of therapy and men who love these fragile survivors, allowing them to take their time to begin the long journey toward trustin
Anne Barwell
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, m-m
While there is a romance in this story, it is NOT a romance. Rather it is a well written picture of the mindset of a very disturbed individual. It is not an easy story to read because of its content but it is a compelling one.

I could feel Tracey’s despair and how broken Kyle is. I thought Crimson came across as chilling, yet tragic, given his back story. On the flip side I really liked Daniel, and his concern for Tracey, and his suspicions of how a supposed trap might play out. The author does
I enjoy reading books that are dark, violent, and really push the limits. Books that deal with things you don't often find in more "mainstream" books. However, I find that a lot of this type of book have the same problem: lack of character development. There is drama and action and suspense and more action, but at the sacrifice of fully fleshed out characters. I liked the characters of Tracey, Gene, Kyle and Daniel, but I didn't feel like I really got to know them outside of the superficial.

Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hunt for a serial killer and abuser of men: dark and twisted😟

Crimson is his name and it's fitting, because this principal character seems addicted to torture, maiming and bloodletting and can't stop fantasizing about his next, sick moves. He's creepy and he knows it and he's not ashamed to show it! Wow, how one of his victims gets away to aid in the operation to capture him and free the young man he's held for months is a real mystery: as is Crimson's unusual adeptness at keeping ahead of the po
I’m not really sure what to say about this book. It was dark, twisted, and bloody. It delved into the levels of pain that can be inflicted on the body and into the mind and I learned more than I ever needed to know about what might possibly go on in a serial killers brain.

This story has so many things going on. Lots of people to keep track of and various situations kept the story moving. I think the action took away from character development but at the same time the reader needed to know what w
Lee Lee
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Birthday Presents - Dianne Hartsock

I enjoyed reading this book as it covers some topics people generally shy away from (it happens people, psychopaths do exist!!)
I don't know why but although I felt the emotion of the people involved in horrific extremes, to read about the Jay made me sick to my stomach...My Mum rescued a wild Jay when I was a child and that part hurt.

The ending made me smile, happy ending for most, except, what happened to Kyle?
Most of the story revolved around him and once he
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very dark read.
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After growing up in California and spending the first ten years of marriage in Colorado, I now live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with my incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours I spend hunched over the keyboard letting my characters play.
I have to say, Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in th

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