Rick Reed
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Release Date
February 2010

Paul wasn't looking for anything special that rainy autumn afternoon when he met Max in a Chicago Starbucks. But Max was: a simple, uncomplicated romp while his boyfriend was out of town on business. And Paul was only too happy to oblige. There was only one problem: Paul was HIV positive. And just a few weeks after his hot encounter with Max, a letter arrived for him, containing some legalese about HIV infection being a criminal act, with a few chilling words:

Dear Paul,
You infected me. You didn't tell me. You need to pay.
All the best,

Those words turned Paul's world upside down. He had told Max. Hadn't he? They had used a condom. Hadn't they?

Book Review by DH Starr (author)
Jul 26, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
204 people found the following review helpful
RECKLESS by Rick Reed, is a dark short story about Paul, an HIV positive man, who receives a letter from a one night stand, Max, making an accusation of having been infected by him. The letter sets Paul on an emotional roller coaster, forcing him to contemplate the implications of his actions. To make matters worse, Max stated he planned on pressing charges, causing Paul to worry that all he had worked to build in his life could disappear in one fell swoopůin an exposure of his HIV-status, his sexuality, and the possibility of being convicted of a crime of using HIV as a weapon. Given the length of the story, 13 pages, I will leave out the details of the emotions and how the story develops and concludes.

What I enjoyed about this story was how true it rang. While Paul is dealing with HIV and how public exposure of his status might affect his life, we all can think of some secret that would "ruin" us (for those of us prone to melodramatics) or make our lives significantly more complicated for people with level heads. The emotions and Paul's thought processes are very real and authentic, touching a thread within us that makes him a highly empathetic character.

What surprised me about this book is how much I enjoyed the dark nature of the story. Having read several of Mr. Reed's books, I have come to expect a dark element in each of his stories, but this is truly the darkest I have read to date. While I may not agree with Paul's choices, the story caused me to think deeply about how impactful details of our lives can be and how each day is a delicate balancing act of maintaining our grip on our lives while avoiding the gunshots others aim at us along the way.

A compelling read, RECKLESS has a well-developed character, a strong plot line rife with conflict, and is highly thought provoking. I strongly recommend it, but make sure you have ice-cream or some other comforting thing to do afterwards just so you can get back to your happy place. I'm about to eat an Italian ice.
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