Title: Acting Out
Author: Scotty Cade
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: I can recommend this book as a great glimpse into the world of porn and the lives of two men behind the cameras.
Reviewed By: Janet
Blurb: After one very long tour of duty in Afghanistan and an honorable discharge from the USMC, Elijah Preston comes home to nothing. He barely scrapes up enough money for a cheap motel in Quantico, Virginia, with no money-making opportunities in sight. A chance encounter in a local Walmart finally gives Eli hope for employment. Elijah is ready to sign on with Royce Mackey’s proposition… until he hears what’s required. Royce operates a gay military porn site and wants Eli as his next star, never mind that Eli isn’t gay. Desperate and broke, Eli grudgingly accepts Royce’s offer and soon finds himself immersed in a strange new world.
Hamish Turner’s been there before. Taking Eli under his wing, he teaches him everything he can about Royce’s operation. The two quickly become friends, easing the way for their first scene together. Awkward at first, they both ease into it and find there is more of a connection between them than either expected. Curious to see where their mutual attraction takes them, they begin a relationship off-screen. But life gets complicated when a crazed fan of Hamish’s starts sending threatening letters demanding the scenes between the two men stop. Or else….
Review: I think this is the best book that I have read by Scotty Cade thus far. It is the first of his books that fully engaged me with the characters throughout the whole story. There have been several of his books that I have liked a lot – An Unconventional Courtship and An Unconventional Union come to mind – but they each left me wanting a bit more, either in plot or character development. Acting Out is complete. The characters are fully explored; they grow and develop throughout the story. They are totally believable, their words and actions are apt in regards to whom and what they are at each place in the story, and I loved the sense of comradery that they shared. This book felt like a real and accurate portrayal of actors working in porn.
Of course, porn is a fascinating subject to start with, but Cade let fly with this story and created a fully fleshed out romance with a bit of a mystery against this backdrop. Eli is a former marine whom we meet after his discharge. He is in near desperate straits, looking for work and quickly running out of options. He runs into Blake in a Walmart whilst shopping for clothes, and is given an invitation to come and work for him in his porn production company. Work in gay porn even as a straight man. When Eli succumbs to the lure of a paycheck, it is Hamish who befriends him. Hamish is one of the more successful actors and he offers to teach Eli the ropes, and guide him in the new job. Their friendship is formed over many conversations, and Eli and Hamish hash out the concerns that Eli has about labels, gay sex, identity and team work, and how it all comes together to produce good gay porn. Hamish is very accepting of Eli’s fears and doubts, and displays his own surety of his identity for Eli to consider. The sex that occurs both between themselves and with others is well written and hot, of course, but also helps to define their characters and the industry they are in. The relationship that develops between them is clearly one of discovery, and their falling in love with each other is not so much inevitable but feels kind of sweet. Even though there is a lot of gritty sex occurring all over the place, the men carve out time for each other and bond together quite deeply. The reader has a sense of hope for them, and we feel their connection is strong and able to be built upon for a future together.
I only had one problem with the book; I did not like the conclusion to the stalking mystery that is one of the plot lines in the book. The way that this played out was not believable for me, and I didn’t think it fit the tone of the rest of the story. With this exception noted, I can recommend this book as a great glimpse into the world of porn and the lives of two men behind the cameras, all encompassed within a steamy love story.
You can buy Acting Out here: