Before I had heard of this novel, I had just finished reading THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. A novel I had not heard of either but that had been given to me by a friend. I wasn't quite sure what to think of the title (girl with a dragon tattoo) and really had no idea exactly what it was about. Let me just say that I enjoyed it GREATLY.
Only days after finishing that novel, author Larry Kahn was offering some free copies of his novel -- KING OF PAINE -- on Goodreads of where I was greatly obliged to receive a copy. A very strange coincidence indeed. Another novel with a peculiar name and a very elusive description. With some trepidation, I decided to begin reading KING OF PAINE right away and am so glad I did!
It was only after that whereby I read that those who had read and enjoyed the novel THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO would also really like the novel KING OF PAINE. While I can see how some people find similarities between the two novels, both books are extremely unique in their storylines and both in a great way! Learning from my own ignorance, don't let a novel's title sway you away from reading it!!!
I applause those on Amazon who have given great reviews and summations of KING OF PAINE but, alas, I will try to write up my own review/summation of this great novel. My summary of the novel is included only because there is not a great number of summaries about it and one more can't hurt for this newer author. Yet I feel that it pales greatly in comparison to READING this supercharged suspense novel!
PLEASE don't let the sexual content of this novel scare you away because, for me, it only made up about 2% of the novel and only because it was necessary to provide a creative, unique plot with wonderful heroic, moral and ethical characters! Ultimately, the novel is about true love and to what great lengths GOOD MEN will go to and how much they will risk to find and save their soul mates.
Special Agent Frank Paine sacrificed everything to join the FBI. Nonetheless, those sacrifices landed him a job with the Bureau and he was assigned to the Atlanta Field Office. Frank's first "bust" as the FBI "new guy" led to coming across a scene that Frank was all-too-familiar with (via the Internet). The FBI, with Frank at the forefront, was showing up at a hotel room prepared with force to take down a suspected pedophile after receiving a anonymous tip that the "adult male" subject would be found in a room on the 10th floor with a 13-year-old girl. What they found, instead, was a young lady and an older man playing out a BDSM charade but looked like a rape. It had been a set up (rape by proxy). Someone had set up both of these innocent individuals to make it look like a rape was taking place. An unknown predator with "yet unknown" relentless future plans had these two people set up and it was only the beginning. NOT the beginning of focusing on that subject alone (online and in-person adult entertainment) but using or murdering anyone who got in an unidentified subject's way of finding a deep-seated need -- saving his or her own life (literally).
Frank had just cast away (for good) a long-term addiction that the Bureau was not aware of. It took three years and therapy but Frank Paine turned his life around regaining his personal integrity and moral principles. And hoping some day to win back the love of his life --Jolynn Decker. He knew their loving but painful past may never have her forgiving him but there is always his hope for that. Jolynn is also a woman who becomes a secondary character in the novel and who also has some pieces of information that may unravel the mystery that has eluded so many in this novel.
Frank Paine had been an online King of "Real-Time" role-playing sexual adventures -- specifically Bondage, Dominance, Submission and Masochism. But he never, NEVER did anything "sick". Limits were set by both online parties and respect came first. Staying committed to a 12 step program to put a permanent end to his kinky past, leaving a lucrative career of Hollywood acting, spending every penny he had to join the Bureau and losing the love of his life... Frank finds himself having to use his kinky knowledge of online skills to try to find and bring down a perpetrator bent on ruining the reputations of dominate men, killing two innocent people who were simply in the way, putting fear into many and going to beyond extreme means to find his or her own ends. That being -- what the psycho wants and what he or she NEEDS.
This may sound like your average novel but I can only say NOT BY FAR! When the young lady in the hotel room uses the phrase "Take Me to My River" much of the rest of the novel is a rabid chase to find out what and where "The River" is and why.
The first recognition of the phrase is recognized by a Bureau member and says that "Take Me to My River" is part of a poem. A New York Pulitzer Prize winning reporter was known for its popularity. This very reporter, Roger Martin, is becoming somewhat desperate for new material and Roger has a deadline to come up with something good before getting canned. Roger Martin is the second main character in this novel.
This is where author Larry Kahn alternates chapters in his novels; one chapter devoted to Frank Paine's mission to find an out of control perpetrator and solve the case and opposite chapters devoted to Roger Martin's mission to bring more news to the front page. Roger uncovers, one by one, popular or wealthy people (or both) who just seem to disappear off the face of the earth for no apparent reason. They become "The Missing."
Like Frank (and so many men) Roger is not alone when trying to find, and keep, the woman he loves. Roger's love is known literally and figuratively as his "Angel" (Angela). Angela is nothing less than Roger's true 'Angel' and a woman who literally lives up to her name not only to Roger but to anyone who comes in contact with her. Her personality beams with light, compassion and love. But Angel has her own secrets and her private life is kept from Roger for a long time. Angela's secrets capture the reader at the same time. Is she harboring good secrets or bad secrets?
It would be no surprise that Frank's efforts and Roger's efforts eventually intertwine. I really enjoyed how the author revealed the separate efforts in separate chapters and then slowly blended the separate, yet common, missions and how they thread together for the perpetrator to be captured and the mystery in the novel solved. The mystery in this novel is just as exciting as the suspense!
Using the most unlikely events and keeping in mind that "people know people who know people"... author Larry Kahn delivers a story that is so real and so intense that I felt I couldn't put the novel down -- even when I had to. Besides getting to know Frank, Roger, Angela and Jolynn (and so many others in this tale of suspense and intrigue) I was on a physical and emotional roller coaster taking me one way and then another keeping me glued to each character and each situation at every turn. Mr. Kahn is easily able to get you into the hearts and minds of several other characters in a way that I have not seen done before. I felt like I knew each and every one of them!
For those who may think the novel is about erotica... it does not fall into that category. Erotica, in this novel, is uniquely used by this author because, like other not, it does exist and it is used as a tool in this novel to show how certain activities (no matter what they be) have consequences. Good or bad. I think it was a great idea to tell a story describing people's uninhibited actions and not put blinders on when broaching the subject of online (or off-line) sexual fantasies.
I am glad to see on Mr. Kahn's website that he is planning to continue to write more fiction and I am so glad to hear that! His prose is perfect and makes reading a breeze. KING OF PAINE is a complex novel of sorts but not so much whereas to lose the reader.
**** Semi-spoiler from this point on :
Without spoiling where the novel eventually leads... it leads to a place (a physical place) that was created by people and FOR PEOPLE with similar circumstances. And it has NOTHING to do with sex! The place in this novel takes an extraordinary amount of revenue, people and resources but it is not without the realm of possibility. It hit home with me on a deep level because I tried to create a similar place about five years ago but lacked (and still lack) the resources to be able to do so. The place in this novel, along with its residents, are completely different than what I have in mind but, at the same time, have many of the same needs when all is said and done. There is also always the hope for many such "places" to actually exist.
(reviewed 54 days after purchase)