Leslie already beat me to the punch, but I just wanted to let you know that her fine publishing company, Bristlecone Pine Press, has just re-issued my award-winning 2000 novel, A Face Without A Heart.
You may have already read the book upon which A Face Without A Heart is based, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, but my take on the classic story of a man who wishes he could always stay as young and beautiful as his portrait is modern-day and has the freedom to delve into modern-day decadence as even Wilde may not have imagined. If you're familiar with the story, you know that the young man's wish comes true, but he loses his soul in the bargain and his portrait ages and shows the wear of his lifestyle while he stays forever young and beautiful.
A Face Without A Heart has, I think, even more relevance today, with its emphasis on youth and beauty at any cost.
I hope you'll at least give A Face Without A Heart a sample. If you do, I'm pretty certain you'll want to read the rest. I know I couldn't resist a book that starts off with the line: "There is blood on my hands."
Amazon has not linked up this new Kindle version with its print edition, so if you want to check out the reviews, look here. This is my favorite of the sixteen reviews posted, written by Henry Wagner, an Amazon Top 500 Reviewer:
This novel's subtitle, "A Modern-day Version of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray" says it all. In Reed's version, Dorian Gray is Gary Adrion and artist Basil Howard is Liam Howard. Lord Henry Wotton, the Oscar Wilde analog from Dorian Gray, becomes drag queen Lady Henrietta Wotton. Here, Gary's visage is recreated holographically, resulting in an image so exquisite that he jokingly offers his soul in return for a promise to look like that forever. Of course Gary gets his wish, and soon after the hologram begins to display the ravages of his excessive lifestyle while he remains physically unscathed.
Like Gray, Adrion finds and loses love, but the object of his affection is an exotic dancer rather than an actress. Gary's unjustified rejection of the dancer launches him into a life of reckless depravity, one filled with meaningless sex, copious drug use, and even murder. The utter emptiness of his lifestyle eats at the fabric of his soul, causing him to loathe his existence, and eventually, to destroy the source of his eternal youth.
Reed does himself, and his excellent source material proud, masterfully juggling multiple viewpoint characters for maximum effect. Each has a distinctive voice, providing a different, but illuminating perspective on the events described. Like Wilde's story, Reed's is a commentary on contemporary life, a mirror held up to catch the images cast by the dark side of modern existence. Like the best books, Reed's goes beyond its narrow subject matter to invite reflection on deeper patterns of human behavior, in this instance, the self-destructive impulses we all must grapple with and master if we wish to stay sane. As such, it constitutes a penetrating morality tale, a journey into the very heart of darkness.