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Desmond Poole is damaged in more ways than one. If he was an underachiever before, he’s entirely useless now that he’s lost his right hand. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in vodka while he deliberately blows off the training that would help him master his new prosthetic. Social Services seems determined to try and stop him from wallowing in his own filth, so he’s forced to attend an amputee support group. He expects nothing more than stale cookies, tepid decaf and a bunch of self-pitying sob stories, so he’s blindsided when a fellow amputee catches his eye.
Corey Steiner is a hot young rudeboy who works his robotic limb like an extension of his own body, and he’s smitten by Desmond’s crusty punk rock charm from the get-go. Unfortunately, Desmond hasn’t quite severed ties with his ex-boyfriend, and Corey isn’t known for his maturity or patience.
Meatworks is set in a bleak near-future where cell phone and personal computer technologies never developed. In their place, robotics flourished. Now robots run everything from cars to coffee pots. Taking the guesswork out of menial tasks was intended to create leisure time, but instead robots have made society dependent and passive.
Desmond loathes robots and goes out of his way to avoid them. But can he survive without the robotic arm strapped to the end of his stump?
Truth be told this book won’t be for everyone. It’s not your typical M/M fare. If you’re expecting a traditional romance, you won’t get it here. It’s not happy and sweet. It’s honestly unlike anything I’ve read before. And I loved it…FIERCELY.
Your experience with Meatworks lies solely on how you take to Desmond Poole. Desmond is not a hero. Heck he’s not even an anti-hero. He’s, when you line up the facts on paper, a total loser.
He grew up with nowhere friends in a nowhere job with a nowhere dad and eventually led to his right hand being…nowhere. In an incident he barely remembers, he lost his appendage and thus became a “gimp”…with a robotic prosthetic.
He’s a vodka-holic, he can’t keep a job, he’s struggling coming to grips with his handicap, he’s grouchy, he’s needy, he’s inappropriate, he’s unpredictable, he’s a terrible communicator, he’s lazy, he’s self-destructive.
He’s in love with two men (possibly three) and can’t figure out if either is great or awful for him. The relationships are complicated and his feelings are conflicted. He doesn’t always know what he wants or who he wants. He is clueless to what he needs.
There is absolutely no reason why I should like Desmond Poole. I LOVE DESMOND POOLE.
He is I-don’t-give-a-fuck cool. And yet he does give a fuck.
And those glimpses of need, vulnerability, and desire drew me to him. I didn’t root for him to suddenly embrace his handicap, become a contributing member of society, and find his HEA with one of his love options. I just wanted him to be ok. Aiming low? No…it’s just…this book isn’t a fairy tale.
It’s a 1st person account of Desmond just trying to figure his shit out. Not a whole lot happens from page to page…but it feels monumental none the less. It’s not storytelling. It’s character growth. It’s not action-packed. It’s realizations small and sometimes unspoken even.
It’s hard to categorize this book. It’s got a touch of the sci-fi futuristic in it but it reads like a contemporary novel. It’s dark and gritty and yet the dry humor cracked me up. It’s got these romantic moments and hot sex but I didn’t care who he picked at the end.
Being inside Desmond’s head was a total trip and a ride I’m so glad to have taken. I wish I could stay in there forever.
And the writing? PHENOMENAL. A new side to JCP and it’s so so good.
Easily one of the best books of the year in my opinion…READ IT!