Reviewed by Dan
TITLE: Dark Love (Live Oak Tales #1)
SERIES: Live Oak Tales (Bennett Bay Stories)
AUTHOR: Stephen del Mar
PUBLISHER: LMW Books
LENGTH: 398 Pages
Love and family, the two things Dieter wants most are slipping away. His uncle, the man who raised him as a father, is dead. Now his brother can’t wait to bulldoze and sell the family farm. Yet Dieter clutches at the memories of the past, fighting to hold them close. What Dieter doesn’t know is the past can be present and what is dead doesn’t always stay dead. He discovers that Dark Loves wants to live in the light.
“Dark Love” is a paranormal romance set in Stephen del Mar’s Bennett Bay region of Florida. There are witches, faeries, bears, twinks, a dragon drive by, and one very determined fag hag. Once again del Mar gives us the rich texture of his Florida setting that goes from the bayside tourist town of Bennett Bay to the backwater country hamlet of Live Oak. Remember, things are not always what they seem and be careful what you do under the light of the full moon!
Stephen del Mar has written a contemporary fantasy set on the Gulf Coast of Florida that contains mythical beings, as well as every day humans. His writing is excellent, and even though there were a few word usage issues (i.e. waste versus waist), they were minor and easily overlooked. His characters were believable because they weren’t perfect. I’m so sick of reading books with the characters all having six pack abs, perfect lives, and cookie cutter romances. The characters in this book are not at all like that. I felt that if I got on my motorcycle and rode a couple hours north that I could actually sit down and talk with Dieter and the rest of the cast.
Dieter Reinhold has just lost his Uncle Wolfgang. Now he and his brother Paul are the last two surviving family members. His brother Paul ran off at the end of high school and Dieter isn’t close with him at all. Dieter was very close to his uncle, but his brother Paul was not. Paul comes to the funeral and stops by the old farm for a few minutes, but says that Uncle Wolfgang was a “nutter and a horder” and that the bulldozers can clear all the junk away when they sell the property. Only one problem. Dieter isn’t that interesting in selling the property.
After finding a mysterious cold to the touch box with rubies inset in it, Dieter finds that he is the only one who can open it. (Well in truth, his brother can as well, but the brother isn’t really part of the story, so we’ll ignore him in this review because I personally didn’t like him and I’m the reviewer so it is my decision, LOL.) Inside the box is some dust, two fangs and a priceless ruby. It doesn’t take Dieter long to put two and two together and realize, based on Uncle Wolfgang’s having been confined in a death camp in Nazi Germany when he was a child, that the “dust” is actually human ashes.
A few too many beers follow, and then Dieter calls his ex, Innes, who is a male witch (although Dieter thinks that’s a load of crap). When Innes arrives and sees the box and what is written on it, he calls the witch living next door to the Uncle’s farm. Dieter is told that the fairies have said that he must not ejaculate into the box and onto the ashes under the full moon or something bad will happen. Really. What are you thinking right now? I was thinking….OK….so why would someone masturbate into a box of what looked like human ashes anyway???
I probably don’t even have to tell you that at some point there is masturbating and ejaculation into the box of human ashes. There are also fairies, witches, bears, a tease about some dragons living nearby, gypsies or Romani, a teenager who was actually born in the 1300’s, an evil vindictive spirit and even some fairy bukkake! In between it all there is lots of well put together storytelling.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a fairly light read and I read the entire book in one day. Most of you will probably take a couple days unless you are reading fools like me. One note, the sex in the book is mainly “fade to black”. You know the sex occurred, but it doesn’t occur within the pages itself. So if you’re looking for one of those sex on every other page, in full gory detail, type of books, this isn’t it. Move on. If you’re more about the story and characters than the sex, then give it a try.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good contemporary fantasy tale. While it set not that far from where I live in Florida, I’m pretty sure my part doesn’t have fairies, dragons and witches. Damn it! I would so like it to have all of the above!