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Monday, April 19, 2010

Company Man by Felicitas Ivey

Company Man by Felicitas Ivey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (200 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Shaku Suihana doesn’t remember more than the last twelve years of his life. All he knows is that he is a Company Man, a cold and efficient assassin called in to do jobs without question.

His newest assignment is more inexplicable than most, starting with meeting Úlfur, who thinks Shaku is a man named Shiro—a man who disappeared twelve years ago. When the Company tries to kill Úlfur, it sends Shaku into a tailspin… especially when Úlfur is magically transformed into Leif, a beautiful, younger man who Shaku feels drawn to protect.

Shaku is tired of being in the dark about who he is, but he can’t bear the thought of putting Leif in danger to find out. He decides they should run as far and as fast as from the Company as they can. It's when he meets a mysterious sensei who ignites both his and Leif's passions that Shaku realizes his miscalculation: the Company Man might not be the greatest danger around.

The ultimate assassin finally meets a mark that changes his life. Shaku Suihana has been biologically engineered to be the perfect machine. He kills on orders without curiosity or remorse while also acting as a whore to whoever is his temporary master. Shaku can’t remember his life prior to his current solitary existence but his new assignment sparks dangerous memories. Shaku is certain that Leif is somehow a clue to his past and decides to keep the man safe from the company no matter what it costs. He just never counted on their overwhelming passion.

Company Man is an interesting story in that it combines an urban fantasy setting with corporate espionage. A public company doing charitable work has a very hidden side with engineered hit men and a force of mercenaries that hunts down demons and other creepy night dwellers. The setting is modern day mixed with magic and supernatural. There are a lot of great details and unique elements that make the setting stand out and remain very memorable after the story is done. The plot follows Shaku and Leif as they are on the run from the company and trying to figure out how to survive. Aside from the two fleeing assassins, they also give in to the explosive chemistry brewing between them. This leads to an almost marathon of sex.

While the plot isn’t bad, it is often confusing. The story is told from Shaku’s first person point of view and he doesn’t often think about the reasons for what he’s doing. As an assassin, he is trained to act and do and not to question the reasons or motivations. So the essential question of why all of this is happening is never really addressed. Furthermore, although I realize this is erotica, there is a ton of sex in this book. The entire second half of the book is filled with non-stop sex scene after sex scene as Shaku suddenly becomes very dominant and engages in dominance/submission sex games with Leif. The two have sex with each other constantly until the appearance of a third person, and then the three have sex constantly. The final romantic resolution has very little explanation of how it came to be, instead relying on a confusing magical resolution.

The writing is good with decent descriptions and a nice, quick pace. Fans of straight erotica may enjoy the emphasis on sex in this offering as there is almost more sex than there is action. While I didn’t entirely dislike reading Company Man, I felt the erotica aspect totally overwhelmed the book for no real purpose aside from the sex itself and the plot didn’t have a strong, tight explanation. The urban fantasy elements will please fans of the genre and those looking for a sex-heavy story with some BDSM elements may enjoy this offering.

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