4 out of 4 stars
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When Helen Mably meets a homeless man asleep on a park bench, she is spooked when the filthy drunkard recognizes her and makes unsavory claims about her past. The strange encounter stirs up horrible memories of her urge to seduce men, getting in over her head, and her father’s betrayal.
When Ex-Chief Inspector, David Mably, reports his daughter missing, Stuart, a reporter for the local newspaper, believes there is something more to Helen’s disappearance. Stuart has a vested interest in the missing woman as he was romantically involved with Helen Mably twenty years ago. When Stuart begins digging, he unearths some sinister secrets. Years ago, Helen claimed that she was raped by police officers, but the case never went to court. Sources claim that it was her father, Chief Mably, who pressured her to drop the charges.
The further Stuart digs, the more shocking and violent his findings become. His life is threatened, and no one is cooperating. Why did Helen vanish? Did it have something to do with what happened twenty years ago, and how does her father fit into all of this?
A Boneless Kiss by Gerald Wixey is a thrilling novel that will have readers questioning what is real and what is not—sometimes straddling the lines of both. It’s told from the first-person perspective alternating between Helen and Stuart. As the story unfolds, readers are transported into the past to understand Helen’s plight and then, with that information, are thrust into the present to understand the consequences of what transpired twenty years ago.
After reading Wixey’s prior work, I counted my lucky stars that I could read more of his material—this one was just as alluring as the last. Character evolution is the author’s specialty; this was especially true in Helen Mably’s character. The initial introduction of her drew an unsavory portrait, and I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to root for her in good conscience. Then little by little, she began peeling back her layers. As she evolved as a character, my opinion evolved as well, which made her more tolerable. The intense desire to be loved by her father, past traumas, and her proclivity to fill a void struck a chord with me. By the end of the book, she was not the same person she was initially—and neither was I.
Another thing that I loved about the book was the examination of what it means to be a victim of assault—the shame, the anger, and even the tendency to dilute the truth. Despite the inception of the #metoo movement, victims of sexual assault are still wildly stigmatized. I admired the author for acknowledging these issues rather than sweeping them under the rug.
My only dislike about the book was that it ended. Wixey’s books are definitely an escape, and I found myself unprepared to return to reality, but alas, all good things must come to an end. The storyline was exceptional. The novel was professionally edited, so I am delighted to give A Boneless Kiss a rating of four out of four stars. I thought the book brought to light some controversial topics, and the character development was on point.
For readers who love dark psychological thrillers, get ready for a wild ride! I would recommend A Boneless Kiss to those who are drawn to books about the human psyche. What motivates people? Is nefarious behavior intrinsic? Can villainous characters redeem themselves? These are the questions readers will find themselves asking. I would not recommend the novel to those triggered by profanity, explicit content, and sexual assault.
A Boneless Kiss
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