Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Rating: 3 stars
Type: Standalone Novel
Received from Publisher
Blurb: At twenty-three, Poe Montgomery is going nowhere. He still lives in his father’s basement and spends most of his time tagging with his friends. When an arrest lands him in debt, Poe accepts the front desk job at Permanent Ink, the tattoo shop owned by his father’s best friend, Jericho McAslan. Jericho is nearly twice Poe’s age, but with his ink and prematurely graying hair, he quickly takes the starring role in Poe’s hottest fantasies.
Review: Being arrested was not part of Poe’s plan. Well, he doesn’t really have a plan. If he did have a plan working for his dad’s friend Jericho would not have been it. Jericho wants to pay forward the rescue he got when he needed it. Poe finds himself working as the receptionist at Permanent Ink, Jericho’s tattoo studio while slowly paying his dad back his bail and legal fees. Jericho can tell Poe is not thrilled with the job. He’s not engaged. When Jericho gets Poe to agree to be his apprentice Poe finally sees how important a tattoo can be for people. Poe also begins to notice how attractive Jericho is. Jericho tries to avoid a relationship with Poe. Poe’s love of graffiti ends up a sticking point in the inevitable relationship with Jericho. People in Poe’s life have trouble accepting Poe can love more than one thing.
I think this book could have been really good. I just needed more. Like, I appreciated all the topics brought up, but their exploration felt shallow. Two artists become a couple and they spend their time creating art yet there was very little discussion of art. There was a Banksy name drop and an Ed Hardy name drop, but there was more discussion of unfair prison practices in the US than there was about the intersection of graffiti and fine art. Or even just the history of modern graffiti in America. There wasn’t even any kind of discussion about basic tattoo styles or colors used. In short, the book about tattoo and graffiti artists doesn’t really talk about tattoo and graffiti art. This didn’t just happen with the art. Poe and Jericho have a daddy kink thing going on, but it’s not really discussed. Each guy wonders how they feel about it, and what it means for them, but there was no real discussion of the power exchange. It wasn’t even shown a lot. It was shown, I’m not complaining. But for a book that drops the phrase “sex positivity” there wasn’t a lot of sex or even affirmations that sex can be part of a happy and healthy relationship. I feel like this book dabbled in a lot of subjects, but failed to explore any one of them meaningfully. All the bases were covered with the appropriate buzzwords but that was the extent of it.
Overall I appreciated the plot. Some plot points came straight out of 1980s graffiti movies like “Beat Street” and “Wild Style” but without the DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash walk ons. For the most part it was the classic tale of boy meets boy and they fall in love. Poe’s character arc has him growing up and accepting adult responsibility. Jericho needed to remember we are made from our mistakes. It was pretty charming. Interestingly, it’s Jericho who takes a long time to figure out what’s up.
So, can we talk for a minute about that half-pipe and quarter-pipe Poe built in his dad’s basement? I just want to know if at any point any of the authors, betas, various editors, and the proofreader who worked on this book thought to Google how big those things are. I’m not talking basic footprint. I’m talking height. Nowhere does it say miniature. How is Poe going to fit a 20 foot tall half-pipe in his dad’s basement? How is he going to skate on it if he can fit it in the basement? Even if he builds a mini half-pipe how can he skate on that? You need overhead clearance to do tricks. This was a pretty big fail. Big, like a half-pipe. A half-pipe sized fail. Maybe I’m making too much of this. It wasn’t a plot hole, it wasn’t mentioned overmuch, and it doesn’t do much more than offer insights to Poe’s character. But I just spent a good portion of a day laughing about this with friends and family. This book will forever be the book with the TARDIS basement that’s bigger on the inside. 30 seconds on Google could have prevented that.
If you’re looking for a charming book with sexy tattooed guy and a sexy skater who can’t resist each other this is it. Unfortunately, it’s not much more than that even though it tries to be.