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Rick R. Reed

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Books by Rick R. Reed
· The Blue Moon Cafe
· Dead End Street
· High Risk
· In the Blood
· Orientation
                >> View all



Publisher:  Quest Books ISBN-10:  1932300791 Type: 


Copyright:  May 2007 ISBN-13:  9781932300796

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Barnes &
Rick R Reed [WRITER]

The Internet Is the New Meat Market for Gay Men
Now a Killer Is Turning the Meat Market into a Meat Wagon...

One by one, he's killing them. Lurking in the digital underworld of, he lures, seduces, charms, reaching out through instant messages to the unwary. He's just another guy.
They invite him over. He's just another trick. Harmless. They're dead wrong.
When the first bloody body surfaces, openly gay Chicago Police Department detective Ed Comparetto is called in to investigate. Sickened by the butchered mess of one of his brothers left on display in a bathtub, he seeks relief outside where the young man who discovered the body waits to tell him the story of how he found his friend. But who is this witness...and did he play a bigger part in the murder than he's letting on?
For Comparetto, this encounter with a witness is the beginning of a nightmare. Because this witness did more than just show up at the scene of the crime; he set the scene. And maybe, he's more than just a killer...maybe he's dead himself.
Comparetto is on a journey to discover the truth, a truth that he needs to discover before he loses his career, his boyfriend, his sanity...his life. Because in this killer's world, IM doesn't stand for instant stands for instant murder.

WHEN TONY logged on to the Men4HookUpNow website, he didn’t know that this would the last time he would type in his screen name and password, the last time he would scroll through thumbnail-size pictures of men in various states of undress, or the last time he would read an instant message.
Tony didn’t know that logging on to would be one of the last things he would do.

Professional Reviews

“IM” by Rick Reed is a fast-paced page turner that I could barely put down. The title is the abbreviation for “Instant Messaging” but in this case, the instant messaging results in instant murder. While it is a mystery concerning a series of crimes against gay men, and featuring a gay detective and a questionably gay killer, the plot twists, character development, and suspense make it a story any fan of mystery or crime fiction will enjoy.

The story is about Timothy Bright, a man sexually abused as a teenager by his aunt’s boyfriend. He now seeks revenge upon the gay world, as well as his aunt and her boyfriend. He preys upon gay men who log onto, instant messaging them and getting them to invite him over for a night of hot sex. Once they let him in their homes, he murders them. Chicago Police Department detective Ed Comparetto, who happens to be gay himself, investigates the crimes. Ed soon becomes convinced Timothy Bright is the murderer, until he learns that Timothy Bright actually died years before. Complications ensue as Ed seeks the killer and the truth behind the real identity of Timothy Bright. Several attempts to catch Bright fail until Ed puts not only himself, but his boyfriend, Peter, in serious danger.

What I found most interesting about “IM” was how Reed used different point-of-views to achieve his effects. The primary story takes place in the present day, detailing Ed Comparetto’s investigations in third-person. However, the author also uses diary entries from Timothy’s aunt, discussing Timothy’s childhood and how she came to realize he was mentally unbalanced. Most daringly, Reed creates chapters told in first person by Timothy Bright to explain how Bright became a killer. Reed manages to pull off these first person sections magnificently, not making Timothy completely repulsive to the reader, yet staying away from making him a sympathetic villain. Timothy’s first person narration is bold and allows him to flaunt to the reader how clever he is that he can get away with his crimes.

“IM” has many gruesome scenes which make it unlikely the reader will pity Timothy. Because of the highly descriptive sexual encounters and the repulsive murders that result from them, I would caution readers to stay away from the book if they cannot stomach blood and violence, yet the violent scenes are not simply for gratuitous shock effect, but to help the reader better understand Timothy’s evil nature and the sexual revenge he is set on committing.

Rick R. Reed has written several other novels and short stories. Fans of mystery and suspense may want to explore his work further. At the end of “IM” are several pages of his upcoming vampire novel “In the Blood” which gives a taste of his work in other genres. If his other books are as fast-paced and well-developed as “IM” I would read them as well. I may, however, think twice before I ever instant message anyone.

Instant messaging has become for an entire generation of young gay men what gay bars and bathhouses were for the generation that preceded them. Quick, anonymous, no strings sexual encounters are now a click of the mouse away in a computer age world where glory holes have been replaced by web cams. Gay men no longer need to endure the requisite small talk in dark, smoky bars filled with the mingling scents of too much Obsession and Polo or furtive encounters in department store men’s rooms and can opt instead to silently chat with the like-minded and dispense with the small talk. Instant messaging has become like window dressing for the unsightliness of promiscuity – its high-tech anonymity taking casual sexual liaisons out of seedy, urine-soaked restrooms and sanitizing it in a façade of high-tech gloss. It’s promiscuity streamlined. Author Rick R. Reed explores the relative anonymity of the instant message generation with IM, a cautionary tale about a serial killer preying on the gay men of Chicago. Along the way he shows us that, while technology may have civilized promiscuity, promiscuity is alive and well – just taken out of the bars and bathhouses to the obscurity of the World Wide Web.

When Chicago PD detective Ed Comparetto is called to the grisly murder scene of a young gay man, his life is plunged into a nightmare as he is caught up in a cat-and-mouse game with a creepy killer – who may or may not be dead himself – who uses a gay Internet hookup site to lure his victims. Told from the multiple perspectives of Comparetto, both the killer and his occasional victims, and through the journal entries of the killer’s estranged aunt, Reed creates a fresh, multi-layered narrative that never tires. It is this approach, in fact, that skillfully saves the book when Reed weaves dangerously close to formula territory. Characters run the gamut, most engagingly colorful with hints of cliché. There’s the fired cop racing against time to salvage his life and career, the misfit serial killer who was orphaned and sexually victimized as a child, the aging society matron who drowns her demons in Bloody Mary’s, and the hunky new boyfriend whose do-good ways may just get him killed. While it’s formulaic suspense thriller all the way, Reed wisely pitches just enough curve balls to keep the reader invested right down to the “nick of time” ending. Ripe with genuine suspense and an escalating momentum that doesn’t let up until the very end, IM is the kind of deliciously nasty psychological thriller that’s guaranteed to raise gooseflesh even under a hot summer sun.

Peppered with enough graphic violence laced with sexual overtones to satisfy fans of James Patterson and Christopher Rice, the novel repulses and titillates with equal aplomb. Squeamish readers beware – IM is explicit in its depictions of the sexual violence that befalls the gay victims of Reed’s fiendish serial killer. But if you’ve long-hungered for a gay version of S7ven, then IM is your dream come true.

Thematically, Reed crafts a strong allegorical tale of promiscuity within the gay community and its dire consequences. There’s a lament here for the cautionary message that the AIDS virus sent in discouraging the often life-threatening practices associated with random sexual encounters – now virtually discarded by the new circuit party generation. As AIDS has become less death sentence and more manageable malady, Reed seems to indicate here that the gay community may be taking false comfort in that manageability. With his aggressive and merciless serial killer, the author seemingly reminds us that there are always new threats forming, unseen and undetected as we go about the monotony of our daily lives – genes mutating into diseases, childhood abuses cultivating future violent predators. Be mindful, Reed advises with IM – what you can’t see today may indeed be able to kill you tomorrow.

From Euro-Reviews
A serial killer is once again targeting Chicago’s gay community, leaving no trace of entry and no clues behind. The deaths are gory, turning the stomach of even the most hardened police detectives, including Ed Comparetto, himself a publicly gay detective. The murders are baffling, and the one witness Ed encounters, a man named Timothy Bright, is so elusive that his absence results in Ed’s being removed from the force. Supposedly, according to superiors, Ed grew tired of the lack of evidence and instead manufactured this witness.

But when Ed’s library research uncovers the death two years earlier of a man with the same name and the same appearance, Ed {along with the reader} is forced to wonder whether the paranormal might be inexplicably involved. In the process, Ed meets Peter, a handsome gay librarian, and despite his grief over his failed relationship with Dan, which had ended six months earlier, Ed finds himself becoming more strongly involved than he had expected. While their devotion blossoms, the killer escalates his own involvement and denouement upon denouement turn Ed’s world, and the story itself, upside down.

IM, subtitled “Instant Message or Instant Murder?” is one of the most convoluted and compelling suspense novels this reviewer has had the pleasure to read. Rick R. Reed delivers a superbly plotted and thrilling tale which is expertly crafted and designed to keep any reader looking over her or his shoulder while reading, and stay awake late at night. Definitely not a book for the queasy reader, I still recommend IM as a story which is well worth the reading for the characterization and intricately woven plotting. Mr. Reed demonstrates a gifted imagination in unraveling secrets and griefs going back decades, and complications unexpected to the reader. Kudos to Mr. Reed for this most excellent novel; this reviewer shall definitely be seeking out his other work.

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