Jenre's Reviews > The Saturnalia Effect

The Saturnalia Effect by Heidi Belleau
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's review
Dec 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, drama, m-m, bdsm, romance, paranormal
Read in December, 2012

I read this story before Christmas and was going to review it then but I read a review by DarienMoya (this was quite unusual because I rarely read reviews of books I'm going to review myself) which made me look at the story from an entirely different angle. Since then, I've spent a bit of time pondering the story. It begins as a fairly straightforward prison drama. Troy has been imprisoned when a robbery he was involved in with his twin brother went wrong. His brother killed a cop before going down in a hail of bullets, leaving Troy with the blame and a life sentence. He's struggling to get into the prison routine when former mobster Franchetti gives him a choice: Kill inmate Daniel or be killed himself. Troy sets out to seduce Daniel as a prelude to killing him, only to find himself drawn to Daniel whose presence offers safety and security to the out-of-his-depth Troy.

Troy was a very interesting character. He's been dominated by his twin all his life and now is adrift without his guiding presence. He's mentally not too stable, on the verge of a breakdown and the pressure of having to kill Daniel, plus the fact that he keeps being attacked by Franchetti's goon, allows us to see a man on the edge. Daniel protects Troy, but a bad experience in the past makes him keep Troy at arms length. So far so good. There's then a point in the book where the story reaches a crisis point, before moving into a slightly paranormal ending involving a statue of the god Saturn. This can either be taken at face value into a HEA, or it can be seen from the deranged point of view of a man who has lost everything and retreated into the security of his own mind. It was all rather clever and engaged my brain as I re-read the story from the alternative side of things, making it a much better and more unusual story than I thought at first.

The story isn't going to be to everyone's taste because there's a lot of rather graphic violence in the story, plus a hint of dub-con sex, but I thought it a unique twist on the usual romance stories out there.
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