Hematoma, Matteo Polk
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Cleis Press
Tags: Dark, Erotic Gay Paranormal, Sado-Masochism, Psychological, Kink, Own Voices
Length: 274 Pages
A dangerous and erotic S&M vampire thriller . . .
Shay Kinsey’s body reads pain as pleasure. He indulges his masochism through body modification, but this practice often brings him more shame than relief—that is, until his desires put him under the needle of the mysterious and alluring tattoo artist Ricky.
When Ricky reveals his vampiric nature, Shay is offered a chance to give in to his impulses in an S&M relationship that promises deep intimacy, and even deeper pain. But with Ricky’s affection comes the attention of the city’s secret vampire organization, seemingly hell-bent on separating the two. As Shay falls into the dual dark worlds of lust and vampires, he is increasingly unable to figure out who to trust. Should Shay trust the enigmatic, ancient, and handsome Ricky—the first man to indulge his erotic fantasies? Or should he trust the cryptic vampire society trying to infiltrate his life? As Shay searches for the answers, Ricky begins to leave his mark on Shay in far more than ink.
“Come see me again, Shay,” Ricky hissed softly, his smile spreading. “Let me hurt you.”
This is the sort of book I gravitate towards – darker, psychological, a vampire. There is familiarity here in these words yet paradoxically not. The writing is effortless and easy to read but it has depth. The simple but telling cover and title set the tone. The main characters are flawed – my favourite type. I suspect I shouldn’t have liked Ricky, aka Rorick, but I had a soft spot for him. Shay was his own worst enemy in one respect but his need to not feel shame drove him. This, I also I empathised with. To be pathologized for your desires, your kink, is to reinforce the shame, and guilt.
This is a debut novel and what a cracking way to start off. I won’t lie, there is pain in these pages. Frustration at times. Also erotic writing. There is romance but it’s not the usual fare nor is it especially healthy, once again something I enjoy, but I won’t go into detail. However, I’m definitely standing up to be head cheerleader for this book and rec it loudly to other readers who appreciate darker and unique, and to those who truly don’t equate romance with a cookie-cutter tale or ending. Hematoma is anything but cookie-cutter.
There is a duality to the title and the very heart of the characters; Hematoma is both Shay and Ricky. It’s life and it’s loss.
This is a tantalising book for the right reader. There is an edge. There are shades of grey. There is a fictional but real quality to the story being told. There are extremely visceral moments.
I’ll add some pictorial quotes below to my audio review so you can see whether this book is meant for you.