The Saturnalia Effect

Violetta Vane;Heidi Belleau
The Saturnalia Effect
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Storm Moon Press
Release Date
December 2011
BDSM, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ, Multi-cultural/Multi-racial Romance, Urban Fantasy

Troy Khoury is serving a life sentence in Westgate prison for a robbery gone wrong. He just wants to keep his head down and do his time, but he runs afoul of an old-timer named Franchetti. Franchetti offers Troy a simple choice: kill fellow inmate Daniel Amato by Christmas in exchange for protection, or be tortured and raped to death by Franchetti's heavy, Pliers. Troy's no killer, though, and Daniel is as gentle and calm as can be. But a prison is a small place, and time is running out. Troy must decide how much he's willing to sacrifice before the choice is taken from him.

Book Review by Valentina Heart (author,reviewer)
Mar 08, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
147 people found the following review helpful
I'm still debating how to rate this short story although I've read it days ago. Maybe I should give a star extra just because it was interesting enough to induce such a conflicting reaction, but in any case I've finally decided to write a review thinking it might help me decide.

Troy is serving a life prison sentence despite not being the man behind the violence when it came to his crimes, but all he really wants is to take his punishment in peace and live it day by day. Unfortunately Troy is on the pretty side and as luck would have it, he's just the type Daniel Amato goes for. Franchetti, a mobster in prison, wants to get rid of Daniel and thinks Troy fits perfectly into his plans. Soon Troy has to come to a decision--get raped and tortured, or seduce Daniel and eventually kill him for Franchetti. Not an easy decision, one that quickly became even more difficult.

I'm a bit reluctant to take on prison stories, especially those set in present time. My main reason for that is the difficulty of having a happy ending when there are so many things that are almost guaranteed to go wrong. Still, this one was short and sounded interesting. It turns out, these are the authors who can make a short story very sweet and the emotional side of it fit perfectly with the physical side. I liked the rough edges of the prison and the lack of sugarcoating many authors prefer, but also the way both men were far from perfect.

Why I'm still debating over the rating is because the first part of the story is definitely a four star for me, but the ending turned toward that paranormal side which dimmed the experience. It also ended in a way that is open for interpretation. It makes you wonder what is real and what's not. I've read a few other reviews just to make it clear for myself, and the general conclusion was that it is in fact an unoptimistic ending for a couple and that usually means some people will like the story and some won't.

I think it could have been expanded some more and turned completely into a paranormal story just to sweeten up the deal, or there should have been some clear words saying how the magic dissipated and the reality sat in. It is one of my preferences that I like the endings to be clear and on the happy side. There's way too much of the negative happening in real life for my tastes and I prefer not to cry over books as well.

So my final rating is the way it is, but these two authors do have a talent for taking on the difficult and presenting alternatives to their readers. Definitely worth another look.
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