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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trompe L’oeil by K. C. Burn

Trompe L’oeil by K. C. Burn
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (144 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Coreopsis

When Maxwell, a Depression-era artist, spurns the attentions of his sponsor, he ends up cursed to live out eternity in a painting. The man who cursed him delighted in playing the exhibitionist for Maxwell, and by the time the old man dies, Maxwell longs for his life and body back but he’s pretty sure he never wants to watch anyone have sex ever again. Until he discovers who his new owner is.

Tyler isn’t sure what to do with a life-sized painting of a nude man, but it was a gift from his sister to ease the pain of a disastrous break up and subsequent coming out. The gorgeous subject of the painting disappeared without a trace decades ago, rumored to have been killed by the painting’s previous owner in a jealous rage.

Becoming more and more fascinated by the man in his painting, Tyler uses his resources as a history professor to solve the mystery of Maxwell’s disappearance. He finds himself spending more time in his bedroom, talking to the painting, researching, and aching to know the man in person. Meanwhile, Maxwell falls under Tyler’s sweet spell, even though the thickness of canvas might be an insurmountable barrier to cross.

No one ever expects to find the love of their life right under their nose, let alone hanging in a painting on their wall. Trompe L’oeil gripped me from beginning to end with its intriguing love story that will have me looking at paintings in a whole new light.

Tyler Williams is a man who has been dealt some hard blows. He found out his boyfriend of the past year is a lying, cheating jerk and his parents can’t accept that he is gay. He decides it’s time for a change and moves to a new apartment to start fresh. Tyler has a good support system in his sister Mandy and his best friend Craig. They stay by his side through thick and thin. Mandy does her best to try and cheer her brother up by giving him a nude portrait of a very attractive man. From the instant Tyler see’s the painting he becomes obsessed with the man whose likeness it’s supposed to portray.

The painting at first appears to be just that a painting, nothing more. But this painting is special, it has Max Friedland trapped inside. Max lived over eighty years ago and was placed there against his will because he denied the advances of man he despised. Saddened doesn’t begin to describe how I felt for Max. For decades he was forced to watch and listen to the cruelties of his imprisoner without any hope of escape. He starts to feel a little hope when he sees his new owner, Tyler. Tyler is unlike any of the men he has seen before. He treats Max as if he is more than just a painting on the wall.

Tyler’s love for a good mystery sends him on a journey into finding out what exactly happened to Max Friedland. What he discovers is more questions than answers.

Max and Tyler have lived in different times but suffer the same disappointments and losses. The author did an excellent job describing the sadness and loneliness each character felt no matter what time period they lived in.

This story had its lighter moments as well with Mandy’s overprotectiveness and quick witted humor when interacting with Tyler. The dialogue shared between these two was funny and help lighten the mood of the story. There is also Tyler’s failed attempt of engaging in a one night stand and a blind date set up by his best friend’s mom. These things put a smile on my face and helped offset the balance of the sadness revolving around the story line of Max and his confinement.

Trompe L’oeil was truly a fascinating read. I was chomping at the bit with every page I turned hoping Tyler would discover the truth about Max and find a way to set him free. And I must say the ending was definitely worth the wait. To say it was magical wouldn’t do it justice.

If you’re a reader who likes to go on a trip through time and have a penchant for unsolved mysteries, this is a must read.

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