Crooked Hills Publishing
5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by Nancy
LOVE. SEX. POWER.
They seem like opposites: River's a troubled teen who loves to fight; Brian is a piano prodigy who attempted suicide. But together they forge a bond beyond anything they imagined.
River and Brian run away with dreams of escaping their abusive homes and exploring the world. But reality hits as they wander the streets of Los Angeles: no money, no food, nowhere to go. Until they meet a stranger who will change their lives forever . . . .
Lured into a world of drugs, sex and power; a world of seductive beauty and terrible secrets. Can they escape? Do they want to?
I loved this story, even though my mind was in a whirlpool, my heart broken, and my stomach all in knots. Child prostitution is a very heavy subject to explore in fiction. No child should endure what Brian and River have gone through. The two boys meet in a mental institution, forge a bond, and rather than return home to severely dysfunctional families, they take to the streets and make their way to L.A. where a wealthy older man, Grant Nesbit, picks them up, feeds, clothes and shelters them while he gradually introduces them to the world of prostitution.
This book was disturbing, sensual, seductive and brutal, and I had a difficult time putting it down. Brian and River have gone through experiences no child should go through, yet I can't totally hate Grant Nesbit. I believe Grant cares for the boys in his own way and the boys care for him. His relationship with Brian is fatherly in some ways, possessive and controlling in others.
Yet there is lots of beauty as well. The love River and Brian share, the relationship between Brian and his sister, the friendships Brian develops outside the House, and the fact that Brian and River still retain some of the innocence of children despite their exposure to adult sexual situations. They love music, care for animals, and enjoy childish pastimes.
I liked how the story jumps from the perspectives of different characters. While Brian and River make their world seem seductive, sensual and pleasurable, outside observers such as Brian's music teacher and new friends he's made on the outside notice his unusual behavior and inability to fit in with others.
This is normally not the kind of subject I care to explore in fiction, but I found myself so attached to the characters that I'm looking forward to the sequel which starts the next stage of their lives.