Dead Ringer

Heidi Belleau and Sam Schooler. Riptide (riptidepublishing.com), $19.99 trade paper (356p) ISBN 978-1-62649-338-4
Belleau (the Rear Entrance Video series) and debut author Schooler collaborate on a refreshingly clever tale of unexpected love. Brandon Ringer is the 19-year-old misfit grandson of James Ringer, who was a dashing Hollywood star in the 1950s. Brandon parlays his genetic luck into working for a celebrity-lookalike escort agency, fulfilling the fantasies of older men who want a night with “Jim.” The sex part of the job is easy, but his attitude earns him low ratings; he knows nothing about his grandfather except that his parents called the old man a screwup and think Brandon will follow in his footsteps. Percy Charles, a lonely 21-year-old disabled by chronic illness, collects James Ringer memorabilia and is trying to track down the elusive Ringer grandson. When he stumbles across the celebrity-lookalike website, he arranges a meeting with Brandon. Their mutual attraction gives them both a chance to grow as individuals while getting closer to each other. Trust, secrets, self-doubt, and trauma challenge their relationship and their self-images. Belleau and Schooler handle the sensitive subjects of abuse and sex work in a thoughtful and compassionate manner. This is a wonderful, thoughtful new adult story, perfect for introspective readers concerned about what they project and what the world sees. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/24/2015
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