The Price of Dick
Title : The Price of Dick
Author : Dan Skinner
Publisher : Cerberus Inc
Purchase links : Amazon
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 291 pages (e-book)
Published : May 22, 2014
Rating : ★★★★★
His name is Richard but he’ll say, “Call me Dick.” He’s a big, butch, brainy guy in an executive suit, hotter than spit on a skillet. The type of guy you can see fully dressed and imagine buck naked in the throes of an orgasm – every six-feet-two, muscular, sexually intoxicating inch of him. He’s an ambitious freshman in a prominent brokerage firm who’s figured out he can use more than his smarts to get ahead. He’s perfected a surefire method to drive home a hard deal. No one can resist him. And he’s got one really big secret. But that will cost you.
For photographer J.J. Johnstone, the price of Dick just might cost him everything.
When I read that Dan Skinner had a new novel out, I knew it was a “must” read. I had read Memorizing You, and it was outstanding. Then I read the description of The Price of Dick and I realized this was going to be a very different book than the sweet coming of age story in Memorizing You. It is, and the author brings his gift of storytelling to a more adult themed book with glimpses into his world as a photographer and writer.
J.J. Johnstone is a photographer, aspiring writer and is fairly happy with his life at the moment. He has recently ended a long term relationship on amicable terms, and is not looking for a serious relationship. When he spots Richard Fitch at the gym, it is instantattraction (we learn that Richard would rather be called Dick – and this should have been a red flag, but I am getting ahead of myself). Richard is one of those guys that, physically, really appeals to J.J. and eventually they get together. It was not what J.J. expected and decides if they never hookup again, that is fine, but Dick shows up at his door with a pitiful story and ends up working his way into J.J.’s life.
Dick has issues. He is gay but in denial, he enjoys playing games with people’s emotions and has no scruples. J.J. can see these things, although he tends to minimize them. He is stil looking for the best in Dick even when people are telling him to get away from this man. As the relationship continues, more and more of J.J.’s life is lost to the façade that Dick builds around himself and J.J. finds himself being pushed into a closet he said he would never live in again, not since he left home as a teenager.
Dan Skinner is a wonderful storyteller. In The Price of Dick, the story has so much truth to it, of how we can allow toxic people into our lives. How easy it is to live in denial about that person, when we want so badly for something to be right that we are willing to ignore the warning signs and get caught in the downward spiral where we lose ourselves in the another person’s baggage. It is easy to see why J.J. is drawn to Dick. Dick brings things into J.J.’s life that seem to enrich it – but only in the short term and really it is only for Dick’s benefit, not to help J.J.. Dick is selfish and manipulative and plays on people’s weaknesses. J.J. is a good man, looking for the good in people, trying to build his business and be happy. He has no family and his friend network is limited. When things start to get bad, there is no one to turn to. At first. But you have to read the book to find out more.
Dan Skinner’s writing vividly brings his characters to life and had me emotionally invested in their outcome. There are many wonderful characters and moments in the book. From the very beginning I was drawn into the story. I had moments of disbelief – how could anyone behave like that (Dick) and ‘Oh why do you let him do these things?’ (J.J.). It is an interesting, and sometimes painful, journey we take with J.J., but we also get to experience a wonderful transformation with him as well. I loved how he takes back his life and it was a lovely experience for me as a reader.
Rated 5 stars by Deb