Beautiful Adam, Laura Lascarso
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Dark Gay Romance. *TW: See below blurb
Length: 346 Pages
Purchase At: amazon
I can make Adam the biggest star the world has ever known. All I demand in return is a pound of flesh.
Pet projects have never been my thing, not really, but when I see this lovely creature, this beautiful, uncorrupted man, I just can’t resist. Adam is simply delicious. A twunky, twenty-something mound of malleable clay I will mold into the most exquisite masterpiece ever made.
He will be ruined.
He will be remade.
He will be perfect.
He just doesn’t know it yet.
I’d do anything to make it big in Hollywood.
Show my abs on the ‘gram? Sure. Post my personal life online for likes? Absolutely. Try every fad diet to keep this hot body tight? Hell yes.
But none of it is enough. Not until I meet Cassius Peacock.
Cassius has the best of everything—money, connections, wardrobe, class. He introduces me to a life I could only dream of and makes my every fantasy come true.
Without Cassius, I am nothing. But with him I am #BeautifulAdam.
BEAUTIFUL ADAM is an MM horror retelling of THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY as part of the collaboration MONSTERS & MAYHEM: An MM Horror Collection, adapting some of your favorite classic horror stories with an MM romance twist.
This book contains dark themes and content that may be upsetting to some readers, including **body dysmorphia, disordered eating, fatphobia, dubious consent, consensual non-consent rape role-play, dollification, humiliation, predatory adult grooming, homicide, and graphic descriptions of mutilation, terror, and violence.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a favourite of mine. I’ve read the book, seen the movie adaptations, I like the one with Ben Barnes the best, thought Wilde might have enjoyed the homoeroticism in that version, and now I’ve read Laura Lascarso’s reimagining of it. Dorian, Basil, Lord Henry are all robustly represented by Adam, Elliot and Cassius in Lascarso’s book. She did a good job of capturing the essence of a hedonist in the making, an aesthete and someone who was disquietingly obsessed. I’d also say this book is a love child of Dorian Gray and some Oedipus smattering.
Anyway, Adam is Dorian. Narcissus could learn a few things from Adam, he’s peak vain, and when (the perfectly named) Cassius Peacock spots this gorgeous being on Instagram, he knows one thing with certainty, he must have him. And, well, he discovers after making sure he gets to meet him that Adam is indeed quite up to being had. Cassius is rich and sophisticated and charming and smooth. He knows all the right things to intrigue and draw in someone new to L.A. from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Someone who wants to make it big in Hollywood.
Twenty-year-old Adam has been living in L.A. for a couple of months. He sells anything his modelling agency needs a pretty, pretty face and body for on Instagram. He’s staying with an artist who found him on TikTok.
Basil Hallward Elliot Anderson is photographing Adam for an art show, a portrait. Elliot and Cassius know one another. Cassius doesn’t care one iota for Elliot and vice versa. Elliot tries to warn Adam that Cassius is trouble but Adam sees a hot, bossy, sexy man who might have something to offer him. Adam has issues with his body. Issues with his face. Issues with food. Issues with anything other than perfection. He also likes to be humiliated. Cassius is willing to exploit all of the above and, in a big old dichotomy, also be Adam’s saviour.
Cassius is the son of Heather Hunter who was a big deal in daytime drama, working for thirty years on the perennial Sunset Cove. Heather was not a stellar mother and while Cassius knows this he still idolises her. Pretty soon he has Adam installed at his home and watching Sunset Cove episodes with him. Learning from the great Heather Hunter while Cassius grooms him and fucks him, and fucks him some more, playing the long game. Dressing Adam up as a woman and fucking him on his late mother’s bed on occasion. Adam may have come from outside L.A. but he catches on fast and he wants it all.
Adam looks at himself in Heather’s mirror, in any reflective surface, and wants to be as big a star as he can be. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed but he has singular vision. While he might have a clue of what he wants, it’s Cassius’ tweaks that can actually make it happen. Life owes it to the young and beautiful, the starved, the buff, and Adam fits all of this. And he wants. Cassius is willing to do anything it takes to facilitate that as long as his beautiful, young “cock attendant” gives him what he needs. Often. Cassius has desires. Adam has his too, and they intersect.
The next morning while we’re lying in bed, still recovering from the night before, and after Adam apologizes to me with a hearty blowjob, he tells me the entire story, sober this time. It sounds to me like Maddox Kepler is trying to sabotage him.
“What do you want me to do about it?” I ask because I want to hear him say it.
“I want you to take care of it. Like you always do.” He stares at me with quiet contemplation.
“You want me to ruin him?”
This book has some excellent dialogue and Laura Lascarso’s patented intriguing characters, and I want to give an extra shout out to my girl Lucia Hoffman. She is the best friend of Cassius. The dialogue between them is always, always on point. She’s witty, enabling, to a degree, and he’s helped Lucia as well. They understand and suit one another. It helps with the sometimes… gritty talk and behaviour between Adam and Cassius. Having said that, Cassius’ dialogue is biting throughout. Even when he’s manipulative and derogatory, he’s a scene stealer. Smart as a whip. Cunning. His scheming is superb. He owns his antisocial personality and its ensuing behaviour. His brand of love. And he and Adam have some moments that are incredibly loving… uh, for them. They fit. Like them or not, they are two peas in an extremely dysfunctional pod.
I can’t say this book is horror, unless you don’t like derogatory, shaming, and potentially triggering language, or some questionable-to-no morals. The Picture of Dorian Gray is tame compared to today’s horror stories anyway. However, Beautiful Adam is undeniably
noir nasty in tone and humour. It also has Lascarso’s dark mojo ability to wave some morally ambiguous characters in your face in a way you can understand them. She is adept at writing characters who sit outside polite society while you cheer them on – maybe that’s just me – then check yourself for the way you’ve been raised.
Beautiful Adam is a book of erotic content and some absolutely dirty, filthy talk and actions. Some dirty deeds as well. It’s a blinder’s off look at the world’s increasing preoccupation with looks and the aesthetic of a person alone, not the holistic or the whole. The world has always had a fascination with beautiful people, sure, Hollywood has long encouraged it. Society has now ramped up youth into the heady mix – including 13 year olds selling you anti-wrinkle creams. Social media has more recently amplified it into the stratosphere. It does not allow for flaws and we weigh in with our opinions on others like it’s our god given right to judge them like a piece of art. After all, youth and beauty is well paid and admired. People waaaaant. This book takes that theme and places you right in the head of two very peacocking players.
This reimagining is not going to appeal to everyone but I thoroughly enjoyed the homage to the original. It’s a transgressive deviation from centre of the standard gay romance or mm box. And while I’m not a fan of derogatory words or humiliation I do, however, love an obsessive romance. I love a plotting, scheming MC. I like sassy and smart. I like darker fields. I want interesting storytelling where the characters addict me. That’s delivered. Another excellent read from a gifted writer who mixes it up. 5 Stars! for Beautiful Adam.
“But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face.”
~The Picture of Dorian Gray.
‘Beautiful people shouldn’t be bothered by thinking. It gives them wrinkles and irritable bowel syndrome. And if it’s the latter, well, I’m up for the challenge’.
pj October 14, 2022 at 6:33 am
Yum. Ben Barnes is GORGEOUS and was a fappy af Dorian Gray. 😈
Karen October 16, 2022 at 2:57 am
God yeah! Ben Barnes is eye candy 😀
Sandra Dufoe October 21, 2022 at 9:19 am
Wow this sounds like it will be an good but intense read. Love the cover.
Karen October 31, 2022 at 8:21 am
A good read and a beautiful, thoughtful cover 🙂
Kazza’s Books of the Year: 2022 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews December 18, 2022 at 8:20 am
[…] gay romance reimagining of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Beautiful Adam was written as part of an individual author series featuring well known horror or darker books. […]