[REC] Force of Law by Jez Morrow

Force of Law by Jez Morrow

From the Blurb

When a Lamborghini Diablo car pulls into the quick oil change shop on Cleveland’s west side, Tom Russell immediately assumes this is his old lover, Wells, a beautiful, wealthy, east side snob, come back to torment him. But it’s worse.

The driver is Wells’ arrogant, obscenely rich cousin Law Castille, who invites Tom on a little subtle revenge, accompanying Law as his guest to Wells’ wedding. But dance with the devil, and there’s hell to pay. Tom thinks Law is toying with him, but Law’s visit to the poor side of a rustbelt town was never about revenge. It was never about cousin Wells at all. Law has come for Tom.

Commentary

This is an old one, but I’ve found myself reading it on my daily commute this week for the umpteenth time, and it deserves a rec. I seem to recall seeing the author describe Force of Law somewhere as a gay version of Pretty Woman, and it is that on the surface: a poor guy who’s been done over gets his HEA with a too-good-to-be-true rich guy. But this novella is much better than the tropes it’s consciously drawing from.

Even though Ms Morrow’s writing style is actually pretty unstylish, with staccato sentences, unexpected voice and tense shifts (and even some bad formatting now and then), it’s also filled three layers deep with puns and clever turns of phrase — many I didn’t pick up on until the second or third reading. I was initially put off by the story’s unapologetic bluntness, its shades of dubious consent and its political incorrectness, but this is a story that grows on you until can’t help but love it in all its flawed glory. The structure is clever, the characters are larger than life without becoming fairy tale caricatures, the dialogue crackles and the ending pleased the giant sap living inside me. In other words, great train reading.

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