Debbie is a middle-aged, boring civil servant with a secret life as a writer...
She's worked in law enforcement for over 25 years, in a variety of different roles, which may be why the darker side of life tends to emerge in her writing. If she makes enough money selling books, perhaps she'll be able to afford counselling instead.
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Smashwords book reviews by Debbie Bennett
- The King's Favourite
on Sep. 08, 2012
The continuing story of Shuki, a modern-day eunuch. Sold by his own country to be a slave to young king Feroz, Shuki never forgets his childhood "family" and yet finds contentment and even love in the strangest of circumstances.
This sequel to Not A Man is again rich in characters and detail, dragging you into middle-eastern culture with all five senses. It positively reeks of authenticity, with hints of the world political events of the late 20th century anchoring the story. Yet again McRae doesn't shirk from the day-to-day details of Shuki's life - from political adviser to the king and all the court intrigue that entails - to the king's sexual preferences and his obsession with Shuki.
A powerful and addictive read that kept me up late for two nights.
- Not a Man
on Sep. 08, 2012
Raw, brutal, shocking. Warm, compassionate, tender. All these things and more. Rarely have I gone through so many different emotions reading one book. This is a very long and incredibly detailed story with a huge cast, yet I was never confused or wondering who each character was – nor was I bored, or bogged down with too much information. Instead the author weaves a rich tapestry, pulling threads from a middle-eastern culture that at times seems archaic and extreme to 20th century Oxford University and back again, showing you layer upon layer of depth as slum boy Shuki realises his good looks can be both blessing and curse.
What is fascinating is how the author writes with such authority about another culture. Whether this is pure research or she has lived this life, I don’t know – but it sounds so authentic and believable. While the brutalities of Shuki’s masters are shocking, there are moments of real tenderness and love, and the family bond is strong and close. They share everything – including Shuki. And how far can you go, before love and sex become inextricably entwined?
There’s a lot of sex in this book. And not all of it is good sex, so don’t read this if you are easily offended by graphic descriptions of such things. But I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the different standards by which other cultures live – even today. Shuki’s story could well be real.
One of the best books I have read in a long, long time.
- Angel No More
on Nov. 10, 2012
Set in a children’s home for boys in Cornwall, this is the first book in a series, each book presumably focussing on a different boy. This story is about Bob, once known as Angel, who has spent the past couple of years providing sexual services to wealthy men from all over Europe. Bob escapes and ends up at Penwinnard, where he gradually comes to terms with what’s happened to him. But while Bob tries to make a new life for himself, the French police are closing in and Bob is torn between shutting out his past and trying to save the boys he knows are still out there.
Like the author’s other books, this is a story with a huge cast and yet we are never confused or left wondering who is who. Each character is quickly and cleverly outlined with all the quirks and habits of real people living real lives. The focus is on Bob sufficiently to appreciate the appalling situation he’s been in, but there’s enough of a lighter touch in the other boys to keep the novel buoyant and readable. There’s humour as the Penwinnard boys establish their own pecking order and vie with each other to impress potential foster parents. And it all sounds so utterly authentic and believable. Despite the dark subject matter, this is a rich and fulfilling story which will leave you wanting to know more about all of the Penwinnard boys.
- You Gotta Have Manners
on Nov. 13, 2012
After reading ‘Angel No More’, I was hoping for more of the same – and I wasn’t disappointed. Although the focus is slightly more on young Sid, who’s desperate for a new adoptive family, there is still plenty of action involving the other boys. We’ve said goodbye to some characters and we meet a few new ones, but as before this is a fly-on-the-wall account of life in a privately-run boys’ home in Cornwall. And it’s beautifully done too, with just the right amount of detail. The author has perfect timing – knowing when to focus in on something specific and when to pull back and give us the wider picture, resulting in a satisfying read. Thoroughly recommended again.