2 out of 4 stars
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In the decades since drag racing became part of popular American culture, the sport has undergone tremendous changes to make cars faster and more efficient. Love, Lust and Combustion by Mingo Moran explores drag racing mechanics of the 1980s while also introducing an erotic love story to a typically cut-and-dried profession.
Travis Davis is a semi-pro drag racer who wants desperately to make a name for himself on the racing circuit. With his extensive knowledge of mechanics and a talent for getting ahead of the competition, Travis is closer to reaching his dream than ever before. His passion for cars is only tempered by one thing: his need for a woman to share his desires. When a member of his crew breaks up with her boyfriend, Travis is given an opportunity unlike any other, and he is not about to pass it up.
A very important aspect of this book is its use of technical language. At least half of the story is a mental explanation from Travis about what he is doing to his car to fix certain problems. Splitting up the mechanically intense language are some erotically charged encounters, which are the only moments that make this book fit into the "romance" category. Unfortunately, even the sensual moments are a bit shallow. There is no real build-up to the romance, so I am not satisfied with the story as a whole. It comes across as an unfinished work, but one that does have unrecognized potential.
Despite the drawbacks, there are several points that the author handles quite skillfully. The book takes place in the 1980s, so details like gas being expensive at $1.35 a gallon are pleasantly appropriate. Also, Travis is given a fairly complex philosophy of life that he adheres to throughout the book and mentions multiple times. For instance, the author writes on page 7, "If steel failed to do what Travis wanted, he could bend it, weld it, or better yet throw it away and get a stronger piece. You could not do that with people." This kind of attention to personality bleeds into the other characters as well, and they tend to have believable emotions and thoughts.
I was disappointed to find typos and errors in nearly every paragraph. Misspellings and inappropriate punctuation are prevalent, and there are many places where dialogue is left without quotation marks. Due to the errors and incomplete nature of the book, I have decided to give Love, Lust and Combustion a rating of 2 out of 4 stars. There is strong sexual content throughout the story, and profanity is included on most pages. I would only recommend this book to mature readers.
** The author has since had the book edited for grammatical errors based on this review**
Love, Lust and Combustion
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