Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Review: ePistols at Dawn by Z.A. Maxfield


M/M Reading Challenge: Part Eight

Choose your weapons.

Jae-sun Fields is pissed. Someone has taken the seminal, coming of age novel Doorways and satirized it. He's determined to use his Internet skills and his job as a tabloid reporter to out the author as the fraud and no-talent hack he's sure she is.

Kelly Kendall likes his anonymity and, except for his house, factotum and all-around slut, Will, he craves solitude. There's also that crippling case of OCD that makes it virtually impossible for him to leave the house. He's hidden his authorship of Doorways behind layers of secrets and several years' worth of lies -- until he loses a bet.

Satirizing his own work, as far as he can see, is his own damned prerogative. Except now he has an online stalker, one who always seems several steps ahead of him in their online due for information.

A chance meeting reveals more than hidden identities -- it exposes a mutual magnetic attraction that can't be denied. And pushes the stakes that much higher, into a zone that could get way too personal...
In ePistols at Dawn, Z. A. Maxfield writes a book where she explores much more than an erotic or a romantic relationship -- although the romance/erotic relationship is also here. She introduces us to some wonderful characters and through them proceeds to basically do a study of today's "cyberspace" society -- specifically how it pertains to writers and their fans. The way fears, resentments and lies can be used or abused... and of course, the ever nagging question of privacy vs. the public's "right to know."

She ties this same story arc -- privacy vs. the public -- by tackling a public figure's right to keep their sexual orientation private vs. a newspaper's right to publish that person's sexual orientation upon discovery. The consequences, moral ambiguity, and gray areas this question raises are there in the pages to see. Ms. Maxfield doesn't attempt to answer the questions, but I love that she asks them and explores them.

There seems to be an underlying sub-plot running throughout the book from all the parties involved. Fear of discovery, fear of being hurt, fear of love, fear of 'coming out,' fear of life... and ultimately (for some) triumph over all that fear.

As you can see, so far I've addressed the book in general and not the characters in particular. Maxfield's characterization in ePistols at Dawn is excellent, and I must admit to being fascinated by Kelly, Jae, Will and Shannon. They were all individually and collectively important and they definitely tell the story.

Kelly, the writer with OCD who hid behind his computer, his different personas and his housekeeper Will, was a character study all by himself. You would think that a man who is, at heart, lonely and who has so many quirks and insecurities would not make for a great hero in this type of book. I fell in love with Kelly -- a loving, loyal and sexy geek -- he was the one character that I thought grew the most in this story. I was touched by both his love for Jae and his loyalty to Will.

Jae's obsession with Doorways and the moral questions that arise from his questionable actions due to that obsession were some of the most fascinating parts of this book for me. His attraction for Kelly is palpable, as is his desperation when those gray areas start to turn dark for him. He's one sexy big guy too! The braid, the braid!

Will and Shannon as secondary characters were developed and then some! They both provide some of the wonderful humor that I most liked about this book -- which by the way is peppered with great lines throughout. Will's character seems to jump off the pages and steals every scene he's in. Although, I must admit for a while I expected to be disappointed with Will and Kelly's part of the story, the resolution was satisfying for me.

In the end Doorways, the name of the book in ePistols at Dawn, perfectly represents what our characters must do -- they each must make a choice and walk through the right door.

An excellent read! One I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.

You can find this book here.

6 comments:

  1. Hilcia, I loved your review of "ePistols At Dawn" and can't wait to read it - it's in my TBR pile at the moment. Unfortunately I won't be getting to it until after the M/M Romance Challenge is over. I have a back list of ZAM titles that I'm dying to read along with this one.

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  2. Thank you, Indigene. I can't wait to read your thoughts on this one! ZAM's back titles are also part of my TBR and moved up. :)

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  3. I loved Jae. Did he pick the right time to tell Kelly about the his discovery. Uh, no...couldn't have picked a worse time - AND he could have stuck aroudn and explained IMHO. But that's me! lol Kelly started wearing on me bit by the end but I tried to understand his insecurities because of his OCD, etc.

    I friggin LOVED Will. He was just fabulous!
    Great review Hilcia! Thank you!

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  4. Thank you, Tracy! Jae went into that situation wanting to be honest but expecting not to be forgiven. It's like he wanted to be "punished"...

    Ohhhh, I agree with you...Will WAS fabulous. What a character!I enjoyed every single one of his lines. :)

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  5. Wow, what an inventive plot! I am totally intrigued by this! Thanks for the review - I'd honestly never heard of this book.

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  6. CJ, this was a fascinating read... the writer definitely pulls from her experiences, the online community, fans, etc. It's a great study in some ways... it's also a great STORY -- after all they tell the tale. Well done, IMO.

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