Bloodletting by William D PrystaukBloodletting
By William D. Prystauk

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Description: Punk rocker and sadomasochist Denny Bowie, a legwork guy for a private investigation firm, is out to find the killer of five masochistic men, as well as his childhood friend, fetish photographer Tommy Heat. He gets back with Penny Dallion, the goth-girl of his dreams, and is enthralled by his hot and androgynous new boyfriend Erin Marr. While investigating Tommy’s murder, Denny discovers pictures missing from Tommy’s meticulous collection. These photos not only hold the key to the killer’s identity, but may also prove Penny’s involvement in the murders.

Embroiled in New York’s vibrant S&M subculture, Denny revisits old haunts: fetish clubs in Greenwich Village to find the killer who’s a step ahead of him – and maybe right behind him.

My Review

Denny Bowie, is a lot of things. He’s a PI from Chicago. He’s a masochist and a submissive. He’s also best friends with a fetish photographer who just happens to be the latest victim of a serial killer in New York, so he fakes his way into the investigation with the help of an old girlfriend -a former love of his life, and the Domina who just happens to be the daughter of the Captain of the homicide division.

The killer (or killers) seem to be just another pervert who has simply gone too far. At least, that’s how the detectives see it. Denny knows better. In the crime scene photos of the victims, posed like mannequins at some fetish bazaar, he sees what the detectives cannot -clues that hint at the fact that things might not be as they seem.

“Bloodletting,” is a crime novel in the vein of “Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris. The protagonist is one of us, and many of the support characters are too. Beyond the fact that it is written very well by an author who clearly knows which end of the whip to hold, and beyond the fact that it is a engaging story, I think what stood out to me most was the respect the author offered the S and M community. Unlike many other novels, where BDSM is used both for shock value and as scapegoat, “Bloodletting” manages to take us there and back again, respectfully and honestly.

There are no easy answers in this novel, and no slipshod misdirection. The author maintains the mystery throughout, and when the identity of the killer (or killers) is finally revealed, all the clues fall into place, and it makes sense. “No spoilers” means I cannot say much more about this -but once you’ve read this novel, I think you’ll agree that where other writers might have fallen to cheap tricks that amount to little more than scapegoating, this author stays true to what is true about our community, and manages to do it while providing a very good read.

The short review: Buy it, read it. You won’t be disappointed.


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