A Dangerous Man

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A Dangerous Man is published by Anne Brooke Books.

Michael Jones, a young gay artist and part-time hooker, will do anything to stage his first exhibition. When he falls in love with rich financier Jack Hutchinson, he seems set to achieve his goal. But as Michael becomes caught between the unforgiving territory of smoky-bar Hackney and the green-garden luxury of upper class London, the consequences of his uncompromising pursuit leave him having to fight for all he holds dear, and in the only way he knows how.

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Reviews:

A Dangerous Man is not a gay romance with a traditional happy ending, but it is a compelling work of gay fiction and a real page-turner. Things to praise include the flawless writing and the subtlety with which Michael's tragic past is revealed. The London setting is vivid and three-dimensional, and the author has a perfect ear for dialogue. (Read the rest of this 4-star review at the Obsidian Bookshelf)

This story reads like gay-themed literary fiction, but it definitely has a lot to offer fans of m/m romance. It provides a vivid sense of place (mostly London, England) and is steeped in British culture …. The strong plot and fast pacing draw you in to the psychological mystery surrounding Michael. (Read the rest of this review at ARe Cafe Reviews)

“After discussing Vulpes Libris with a friend I agreed that my reviews couldn’t all be raves, because, you know, people love grouchy reviews too, but here I am about to rave again because A Dangerous Man is the most gripping book I’ve read in years ... Michael is a struggling artist in Hackney, just starting out and supplementing his income with a little bit of prostitution. He is desperate to be taken seriously as an artist and he eventually gets a commission to provide a city firm with some artwork, which is where he meets Jack: a handsome, if reserved, businessman. This part of the novel is incredibly erotically charged, and as readers and writers alike generally agree, ‘Sex is bloody difficult to write,’ so hats off to Anne Brooke. Jack and Michael get it on, and get together, which is where things begin to go wrong… The middle section of the novel slows in pace and becomes much darker ... (Jack) is all for ‘being calm about things’ and treating matters of the heart in a logical fashion, but his lack of loyalty and ‘conditional love’ make things infinitely worse for Michael. Which is all to say that I am for Michael. He might be a loony, a weirdo wrapped up in himself, a psycho unable to function in social situations, but he’s direct, and I like that. The ending is dark and not entirely unexpected but it kept me on the edge of my seat, as despite fearing the worst, I determinedly hoped for the best. This page-turner is commercial fiction at its best. I defy anyone to read this and forget it. Michael is someone you remember." (Read the rest of this review at Vulpes Libris Reviews)

"I found it brilliant in a way, powerful as hell too, but above all, I found it saddening and depressive. The protagonist, Michael, is such a disturbing character … What I loved most though was the description of the artist and his mentality … Michael was brilliantly written." (Read the rest of this review at MM Good Book Reviews)

A Dangerous Man, a novel by Anne Brooke, is a story about the shackles that the past can become and the lengths someone will go to for freedom. It tells the story of young artist and part-time prostitute, Michael Jones, whose life becomes increasingly complicated when he falls in love with rich businessman, Jack Hutchinson. Through first-person perspective, Brooke writes our protagonist well and captures his desperation to leave behind the world in which he has become entangled for one he has only ever dared dream about ... At the centre of the novel is a love affair in which Jones grows and matures, learning in equal measure about his lover and himself. However hard Jones strives to leave his old life behind, it is made increasingly difficult by antagonists unwilling to let him forget his past ... The most interesting tension, though, is that of Jones with himself, which Brooke portrays highly effectively. Completely devoid of self-esteem, Jones can't imagine why anyone can love him, and is constantly struggling to distinguish the difference between a lover and a punter, his inner turmoil manifesting itself in his dark drawings. A Dangerous Man is an entertaining read with a strong narrative that builds to a climax leaving us wondering, despite everything, how far Jones has really come from the self he was trying to escape.” (Read the rest of this review at Chroma Journal)

"After finishing A Dangerous Man I’m incredibly impressed with Brooke’s ability to evoke emotion, tension, angst, and mystery. This novel is a compelling story that left me breathless, heart broken, and depressed. I’m glad I could experience the author’s incredible talent yet I wish I’d never read this either. I can easily recommend the story but with the caveat that it’s not easy and definitely no happy ending, yet the brilliance of the writing is something to experience ... There is so much emotion and vivid graphic energy that is imbued in the story, it truly creates a dark life of its own. The writing is very intense and gothic, partly due to Michael’s almost manic personality, and partly due to the dark overtones. The gray London weather is often dreary, overcast and the tones Michael uses to sketch are always black and gray. This plays into the theme and tone of the story perfectly ... Most affecting is the overwhelming hope and desperation that Michael offers, yearning for that elusive dream that’s ruined for him before he even understood what was happening. As a broken character, Michael is one of the most compelling, richly complex protagonists I’ve come across. He’s also one that broke my heart." (Read the rest of this 4.5 star review at Three Dollar Bill Reviews)

"A Dangerous Man is a gripping psychological thriller told in first-person viewpoint by Michael who is described by the title. Michael is a volatile mixture of traits: he’s highly attractive, he has no self-esteem, he experiences wild mood swings, and he has a tendency to get obsessed. He’s also very believable and someone for whom you can’t help caring. ...A Dangerous Man is a page-turner. There are many things to praise here, including the author’s flawless writing and the subtlety with which she hints at how Michael’s past (which is heartbreaking) has shaped him. ... Also, the London setting is vivid and three-dimensional. I’ve never been to London (if you don’t count a brief stop at Heathrow Airport), but after I read A Dangerous Man I felt as if I had." (Read the rest of this five-star review at Jessewave Reviews Site)

"I recommend this book to those that are interested in a well written book about fragile psychology, tenuous control, with real cause. It is an intense (LGBT) book where romance is not the all encompassing theme, rather individuals' complexities are, and how easily tragedy can collide with everyday life. A Dangerous Man is a very powerful and haunting book." (Read the rest of this review at On Top Down Under Reviews)

“One of the most incredible stories I have read in a long, long time. Sure to leave a MAJOR lasting impression on the reader long after reading the final chapter. A classic style thriller … at its core is a love story that follows one man’s single minded pursuit of his obsessions in life: his art and the man he comes to love. It is a flawlessly written, beautiful yet haunting story, at times gritty, dark and intense.” (Read the rest of this review at Queer Magazine Online)

© Keith Olding 2011