Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fugitive Color

Title: Fugitive Color
Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 978-1-60737-575-3
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary Suspense
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Max Lancaster’s ballerina muse, Elena, is missing. She’s not the type of dedicated young artist that would disappear and the young man last seen with her has a solid alibi, which means that Max is the police’s main person of interest. It doesn’t help that a childhood secret has come back to haunt him—meaning he’s altering his paintings in his sleep.

Sumner Ellison, a police sketch artist, has been infatuated with Max for years, and can’t believe the mild mannered man could be involved in Elena’s death. He offers the emotionally distraught artist what he needs—companionship, physical closeness and honesty and Max takes it, finding solace in Sumner’s arms.

Fugitive Color is the latest release by multi-published author Z.A. Maxfield and it’s set in the world of talented, reclusive artist Max Lancaster. I’ll say up front that I loved the unusual premise of a sleepwalking artist who changes his paintings during the night. It’s what drew me to the story in the first place. The idea of having your subconscious take control of your body and that a person could paint, eat or even drive while still asleep and not remember anything they did—truthfully, it creeps me out a little. And the author did a great job expressing Max’s unease, his unrest and fear of what was happening; that he couldn’t control his actions. Was it possible that he killed Elena and just didn’t remember? Was he a threat to his new lover Sumner?

For a piece of its length, the secondary characters were plentiful, but most play only a minor role, with the exception of Max’s older brother, David. I liked the realism of Max and Sumner’s relationship and the way they dealt with each other and the seriousness of the situation they were in. They wanted honesty—except they were both only honest to a point, and they often said or did hateful things to protect the other, but even this I appreciated. It was real emotion and caring, in a warped way.

There were other things I wish had been expounded or made different. Max and Sumner got involved too quickly and I didn’t feel their chemistry. The mystery of Elena’s disappearance isn’t very interesting and needed beefing up. Cruz act liked a hard-nose policeman the entire story, and his actions were too stereotypical. David coming in to rescue Max was unexpected since until his arrival, I don’t remember any mention of him, and their relationship was odd. Elena’s killer is obvious almost from the moment he’s introduced—there just isn’t anyone else it could be. Lastly, I don’t understand where the title came from. I usually have an idea of what the author was thinking, but with Fugitive Color, I don’t have a clue.

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