Author: Nicholas Kinsley
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 245 Pages
At a Glance: I think, dear reader, that if you can handle the violence, this may be a novel you might enjoy.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Mitchell Morgan is a quiet young man with dangerous secrets. One of those secrets is a psychic power over metal that makes him far more than just the handsome, blue-eyed owner of Advanced Auto Repairs. The other traps him in a world of organized crime and intense violence.
Trevor Lewis is a graphic designer with a passion for drawing, drumming, and his incredibly hot auto mechanic. He meets Mitchell over a broken tail light, and despite – or perhaps because of – Trevor’s awkwardness, Mitchell is charmed. Trevor’s curly hair and brilliant smile bring light into Mitchell’s complicated world. Mitchell would do anything to save Trevor from the dangers of his criminal life — but first Trevor has to save Mitchell from his own darkness.
Review: Warning: Graphic rape and graphic violence
There is no gentle way to say this other than to state that Nicholas Kinsley’s novel, Driven, is dark, repeatedly violent and very edgy. This story will not be every reader’s cup of tea, particularly with a violent beating and rape scene in full detail near the end of the book, as well as on page murder scenes that are horribly graphic. However, if you love main characters who tread that fine line between evil and good, then look no further because this is going to ring every one of your bells and then some.
Mitchell’s life has been one slice of hell after another. Whoring side by side with his mother–often in the same room, servicing the same john–from an early age to dealing drugs and finally being both the master mechanic and sometime killer for the kingpin scum of the earth, Alfred Kane, Mitchell has seen and done it all. Now trying desperately to ease away from the dark side of his life, he bides his time, hoping one day to no longer be forced to do anyone’s dirty work. And what dirty work he has done…
Trevor is a graphic designer with a twisted secret hobby. On the surface, he looks like model material, and when he takes his car into Mitchell’s shop to have some work done, the attraction between the two men is palpable. Thus begins a tentative dance between them, but Mitchell has so many secrets, not the least of which is his kinetic power to mold metal to his will. Along with that and his dark and shady work on the side, he is hardly boyfriend material for the seemingly clean cut Trevor. But Trevor is drawn to the quiet, secretive man, and determines he can handle whatever Mitchell is hiding–little does he know that eventually he, too, will be drawn into Kane’s web of murder and violence.
I’m not really sure where to start in this review. First, let me say, that there are no heroes in this story–no good, virtuous knights in shining armor. In fact, while both Mitchell and Trevor have some lovely intimate moments, those very scenes are often offset by disturbing or sadistic scenes of violence. In one case, something as simple as Mitchell taking Trevor for a ride allows us to see that angry, dark side of Mitchell that both scares and titillates Trevor. It’s all well and good to show Mitchell in Trevor’s arms, sobbing about his latest beating and rape at the hands of Kane and his men, but then to have Trevor remember that the man he is comforting also described how he murdered in cold blood and felt nothing is just a bit too macabre.
And then we have Trevor and his lack of real friends, other than one named Kay. Allow me to insert here that the introduction of a gender queer character, Kay, who is described as they or them in the narrative gave me a bit of a jolt when first reading about the person. I will admit that getting used to the multiple person pronoun references took some time for me. However, more worrisome was that this character went nowhere—it was as if the author wanted to be inclusive by having a gender queer person, and then never really had them make any impact on the story. Beyond Kay, there was one other person who frankly admitted to Trevor that his friends really felt he was distant and selfish—only caring about himself. He most assuredly was—except when it came to Mitchell.
So, you see my dilemma. Was Driven well written? Undeniably, yes. Was it horribly graphic, violent and scary weird? Again, yes. Did it hook me in and keep me on the edge of my seat? Very much so, yes! But I cringed at that torture and rape scene…I shook my head at the idea that both our MCs were more anti-heroes, and at story’s end I wasn’t really sure I would ever trust or be at ease reading more about Trevor and Mitchell. How to rate this novel? That is the real question for me. I think, dear reader, that if you can handle the violence, this may be a novel you might enjoy, but I do warn you, Nicholas Kinsley has surely done his job well in presenting a disturbing m/m novel that will leave you shaking your head at what you just read.
You can buy Driven here: