Reviewed by Susan65
Title: Dead Inside
Author: Alexander Ward
Series: Temporary Bliss #1
Heroes: Alex and Raymond…maybe
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 385 pages
Publisher: AW Publishing
Release Date: September 23, 2018
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Pain and heartbreak. Tears and blood. Life’s never been easy for Alex. Pushed to become a male prostitute and also having to deal with trauma and abuse in the relationship with his boyfriend, doesn’t help a 19-year-old stay sane. In his struggle and desperation to get out of that toxic environment, he soon finds himself in the middle of something much worse.
Caught between two powerful Russian organizations, a broken man and his abusive lover, Alex has to make a decision and he must choose quickly. But when he starts spiraling out of control, the lines between life and death begin to blur and his steps seem to take him towards what might very well be his end.
Warning: The book contains triggers and approaches subjects such as abuse, self-harm, PTSD, human trafficking, murder and suicidal ideation.
Harsh, cold, cruel, heartless, helpless, and hopeless. These are just a few of the adjectives that describe this story. We can’t forget the violence and complete disregard for humanity either. But, in the midst of all that blackness lies a chance. A chance that by the end a small piece of Alex will survive and find a token of peace. A very small chance.
This story takes place in Bucharest, Romania, and includes clashing Romanian and Russian mafia’s that both end up using Alex in the most debased ways possible for their own selfish reasons. Alex is only 19. He has no real family, and his boyfriend, Stefan, beats him near to death, whores him out for money, and sells him to the highest bidder…only to beat him some more for “cheating” on him. Needless to say, there was not much love there…even if Alex and Stefan believes there is, at first.
Stefan is one of the bad guys. And when he sells Alex to Raymond for the night, the entire storyline goes down a rabbit hole with more twists and turns than one can imagine, but the underlying theme of fear, violence, rape, and betrayal remains front and center. I had high hopes for Raymond, but as the story went on, I was getting more and more nervous. And then I just expected Alex to die. Really, how much can one person stand? Ray has secrets but his treatment of Alex is contradictory and, at times, cold. I need to know those secrets. I need to know who Danya was, and I need to know why so many of Ray’s men are familiar to Alex. So much was left unspoken in this 300+ page story. But, it is a series, so I have hope, even if Alex does not.
This is not normally not my kind of story. I usually go for the betrayal and cheating, but this one took those components and exponentially skyrocketed them to the next level. I have no idea how Alex survived this book. I have no idea where the story goes from here either, as this one ended unfinished. I would not say a true cliffhanger, but we have a lot of unanswered questions. So my recommendation is, if you don’t have too many triggers, to read it. I definitely recommended it, I already have, and I hope you can see the brilliance that I saw in the writing, and the hope that Alex’s story eventually has a happy ending.
Overall Impression: I loved it
*Copy received from the author for an honest review.*