Monday, August 24, 2009

Review of Wicked Hearts by Claire Thompson

Reese Armstrong and Hank Seeley have been friends and occasional sex partners since high school. Hank is immensely rich and likes to play games - games that generally involve Reese's ability to seduce just about anyone, then have the seduction video taped for Hank's voyeuristic enjoyment. The story is written along the lines of Dangerous Liaisons - two cold-hearted, spoiled jerks out to ruin the life of an innocent. The innocent in question is Jeff Hartman, the office geek, who is already in awe of Reese, and whom Reese thinks will be an easy conquest - and lay.

Jeff, however, is not stupid, and at first is not completely taken in by Reese's flattery, invitations to dinner and affectionate moves. Gradually, of course, he succumbs, not so much to Reese's good looks and charm, but to what he begins to see underneath the glamorous facade - a hurt and troubled man who gave up on love a long time ago.

When Reese finds himself falling in love with Jeff, and admits as much to Hank, his one time friend becomes his nemesis, bound and determined to destroy any chance Reese and Jeff may have for happiness. Pitting one man against the other by revealing the video tape to Jeff, Hank exults, convinced that now Reese will be his playmate again, and forget about love and similar nonsense.

The story has been told before in various forms, so it is a measure of Ms. Thompson's skill as a writer that one remains totally wrapped up in the plot as it unwinds to its inevitable conclusion. Highly recommended.


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