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Monday, October 8, 2012

SuburbaNights by Eric Arvin

SuburbaNights by Eric Arvin
Publisher:Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (198 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

On Jasper Lane, Cassie Bloom is gearing up for Halloween; Becky is expecting, and her father is overbearing and paranoid; Rick and James are their usual happy selves, though James has developed a porn obsession; Terrence is putting together an all drag cheer squad; and David is helping Cliff transition from adult film star to bodybuilder. Of course, that’s just what’s going on at the surface. This is suburbia, and its underbelly is teeming with secrets.

Like what’s up with that rather odd family that moved in down the street—the family with the big cross in the front yard who look nothing alike. Like where Cassie’s son, Jason, has disappeared to and why he hasn’t called. Like what on Earth Nanna Hench is doing with a scooter, a megaphone, and a clown car full of religious zealots.

When Cliff suddenly disappears, Jasper Lane goes on high alert. Terrence posts fliers, and Rick and James scour the gym. David is determined to get his husband back, but when he goes missing too—and with Cassie and Melinda on a road trip to find Jason—it’s up to Terrence to solve the mystery and save the day.

Cliff has gone missing and it’s up to the residents of Jasper Lane to save him. Returning to the quirky and entertaining Vignettes from Jasper Lane, resident favorite Cliff is kidnapped by a group of devout religious people who are hoping to turn him straight. They have their work more than cut out for them with that task as the entire community is out looking for their bubble-butted man.

SuburbaNights is the third book in the Jasper Lane series and picks up where the last one left off. I wouldn’t suggest picking this one up on its own but instead new readers should start at the beginning and work their way to this one. There is very little background information offered and none of the many characters offer their past to help reorient readers. Instead we’re expected to remember where the story and characters left off so be sure you’re familiar with these details. This particular book has a much darker, less humorous tone. It involves numerous deaths (non-Jasper Lane residents, don’t worry) but it creates a less infectious, campy tone than the other books.

The residents aren’t all fun and games this time but are dealing with deeper, more serious issues such as relationship trouble, and dealing with life after porn. The tone of the book is very different from the others and the occasional hijinks the characters attempt stay in line with their personalities but feels somewhat forced against the darker tone of the book. That’s not to say this is depressing as the dialogue and pink pom pom fighting will definitely lighten the mood, as do the innuendo laden sex scenes.

It’s just that the book doesn’t feel quite as side splitting funny and addictive as previous books. It’s hard to maintain that level of originality and entertainment and many of the jokes are repetitive from previous books now. They seem like long running familiar antics than anything fresh and startlingly funny. This isn’t a criticism necessarily, just a noticeable change. The characters are still exaggerated in the best way with all the glitter and sass that we’ve come to expect from the residents of Jasper Lane. The ending is left hanging as well so be prepared to want the next one soon!

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