A Bountiful Catch
TURNING IDOLATER" by Edward C. Patterson is a bountiful catch. The author can turn a phrase and is ever ready to give the reader those perfect details that put one right in the scene. Take the opening, for example, where we find our protagonist, Philip Flaxen, in the tub caring for the tool of his trade, just as... "Diggers sharpen pickaxes and none but a preacher can fill the fount with consecrated drink." But Philip is not a man of the cloth nor a blue collar worker. In his trade, Philip wears no collar and more often than not, no clothes at all. Well, yes, our Philip is a gay Internet stripper. This, by itself, for the uninitiated like me to get a peek into the world of gay Internet porn, would be story enough. But if you've read any of the writer's other works you know that he can thicken a plot and cook up a stew like few others. A fishy stew it is, in the case of "TURNING IDOLATER."
As we rub-a-dub in the tub with the Flaxen One, there is our very first surprise: Philip is a reader. And what we discover in his hands, after dutifully lathering and diligently honing the tool of his trade, is not just any boy-gets-boy dime-store romance, but we watch in wonder as he dives into a whale of a story. He's reading no less than Herman Melville's masterpiece, "Moby Dick." The author soon lets us in on the fact that this is a very newly discovered pleasure for our young protagonist. The gift of this rare, first edition book has caused him to stretch his mind. Although, this is Philip's first immersion into the depth of the literary arts, he takes to it like a fish to water. But like Ishmael, he doesn't realize that there's been a sea change and that this voyage at sea he thinks he's signed up for becomes a swim for his life. Because out there at sea--now you see him, now you don't--is a giant whale that's about to pull him and Ahab down from the Pequod into the briny deep.
"TURNING IDOLATOR" is a wonderful interweaving of Melville and Patterson. And just when you think that Patterson left Melville somewhere moored at a dry dock, he brings him right back, and pulls you along into his roiling sea of words. At times I was lost as the writer threw out a red herring here or there. And there were times when I wished for a dictionary to navigate my way through all the colorful, but to me unknown, words and names of the gay world, such as twink, hoohoo, pacific trick, or Kinzie 6. (Perhaps an idea for a new book?)
In "TURNING IDOLATOR" The writer draws his characters lovingly. Philip, on this, his most important voyage of self-realization, is filled with the energy of the very young. The author gives him an infectious lust for life and adventure as he dives into this fresh sea with the vigor of a junior sailor. You'll cringe as this innocent, unable to trust his own perceptions, blunders and blusters into this new world of seasoned old salts, trying on new words to fit his new clothes, misspeaking, misunderstanding, and at times--like a fish out of water wishing to return to the murk from which he came--spouting the phrases of his Internet porn past. Thomas is imbued with such decency and dignity; everyone should have a friend like him. And I absolutely adored Sprakie as he dances and prances, twitters and struts his abundance of queenly feathers. To watch him walk the gauntlet, a Provincetown annual gay ritual, is a joy to behold.
Reading "TURNING IDOLATOR" is listening along with Philip to... "a song he knew, the one beckoning him to coast over the waves and scoot across the pristine sea." Even as you fear that the Flaxen One is lost in the vast ocean of his own confusion ... well, if you've read "Moby Dick," you know that "The Rachel" is on her way.
author of Irretrievably Broken
Turning Idolator is wonderful ! Can't say it better, it's simply is... WONDERFUL !!
With this brilliant character sketch, disguised as a murder mystery (or visa versa depends what you fancy) Patterson shows yet again what a talented writer he is.
Each character is beautifully sketched, the murder mystery stays a mystery right until the end. No way you can predict the outcome of this story, let me tell you ! To be honest, I did shed a tear or two at the end... Patterson's books are so full of emotions it just grabs me every time.
5 stars !!!
By Mireille Reyns (Belgium)
I never saw the ending of this who-dunnit coming until the puzzle started falling rapidly into place at the end. Even now, I am still in shock over who did it, even though the clues were scattered throughout the story. I believe what made this story so successful was Patterson's ability to make the reader like each and every individual in the story, see who they really are and think "I know him, he couldn't do this!" But then, realize, after the fact, 'Yeah, he could.'.
Philip, forced out of his family home, gets a job at a porn site on the internet Where he meets his future flame, TDye. The story then flows with romance, broken hearts, multiple killings, restoring books, and excerpts from 'Moby Dick' until it climaxes with an explosive ending and fades into a warm glow. The author did an excellent job of tying up the loose ends and leaving the reader thinking, "Wow."
This book was full of emotional surprises throughout it's pages. There were times I laughed out loud and times when I needed to have the kleenex handy. When the characters had a serious moment, it was time to close the door, mute the stereo and focus intently on the words displayed on my Kindle.
Patterson has become an author I look for. Whenever I see he has a new book out, I'm in line to buy it. I'm not gay, but I like people, and his characters are likeable, full of spirit, going places and when they decide to go do something. . . I won't be left behind!
By Esmerelda Luv (Seattle, WA)
"Turning Idolator is filled with excitement, strippers, murders, books, romance ~ what more can we ask for?
All the characters have their own quirks which not only make them extremely interesting but also very lovable. Philip, who has been wronged, ends up in the porn industry trying to make a living by taking his clothes off. Then he meets Tdye, a well known author at the peak of his fame. And what happens? Well, as they say, sparks fly here!
There is so much emotion in these pages, it made me laugh, made me sniff and at some points take short walks around my desk. Look out for the 'Moby Dick' quotes and the hidden meanings. There are fishy things going on here and you don't want to miss them.
This is a book that pulls you in ~ Patterson's story is a catchy one and as the author says 'life can be a bloody thing' but ohhh, so good. The plot is so charmingly good plus the mystery will keep you on the edge of the seat, so go read! A roller coaster of emotions fills this story and the end will make you Weeep!
By Sybil - Rainbow Reviews
Literary Fiction for the Internet Age
Emotionally distraught after finding male pornography in her son's room, Philip Flaxen's mother shares her discovery with her husband. Ashamed and disgusted with this revelation, Philip's father disowns his son, kicks him out of his only home, and warns him to never return. Philip turns to his only friend, Robert Spraque - "Sprakie" - who takes him into his apartment. Sprakie introduces him to the seedy world of adult internet sites where Philip can get work by "baring it all" in order to stay off the streets.
Online, Philip encounters a "customer" different from his normal patrons - this client is well educated, articulate, and thoughtful. Intrigued, Philip breaks all the rules to meet this man face to face in hopes of kindling a romance. As it turns out, Philip's admirer is an extremely successful though considerable older author. A May-December romance ensues yet both men struggle with their very different backgrounds and social strata. Each consider whether they should turn idolater or leave love behind. Meanwhile, a series of cold blooded murders involving Philip's acquaintances occur and neither Philip nor his lover realize that their choice for love is also a life or death decision.
In "Turning Idolater", Edward C Patterson has create a novel best described as contemporary literary fiction. Inspired and anchored by Melville's "Moby Dick", Patterson explores the social mores impacting two men drawn to one another yet kept from complete commitment due to the fabric of their very different backgrounds and colliding realities.
Through Patterson's lyrical prose and keen understanding of the human condition, he creates characters so real I felt as if I was reading a memoir. Frequent reference to literary classics and intricate and loving descriptions of priceless book restoration invite the reader into a contemporary equivalent of a Jane Austin novel. Fans of Patterson's work will certainly enjoy Turning Idolater.
by Todd Fonseca
Turning Idolater - http://www.amazon.com/dp/1440422109 (Paperback)