BOOK REVIEW

   SUICIDE CASANOVA - ARTHUR NERSESIAN

Arthur Nersesian is the author of some highly acclaimed, albeit, quirky literary novels. His credits include debut novel, The Fuck Up, Dogrun, Manhattan Loverboy and Chinese Take-Out. Though I have not yet read any of the above-mentioned titles, after reading the impossible-to-put-down Suicide Casanova, I anxiously look forward to owning a complete collection of Nersesian's works.

In
Suicide Casanova, Nersesian takes readers down quite a road. We get more than just a glimpse into the souls of men, we are forced to stare into the eyes of the soul for 377 turbulent pages…which, translated, equates to a long, hard unblinking gawk into an unrecognizable darkness that just might be our very own unrecognizable reflection. Talk about stirring.

Told in patches of flashbacks, we get to meet our main character, Leslie, a wealthy, high-powered attorney. His wife, Cece, has just died. Though it wasn't murder, he is somewhat responsible for the strangulation that killed her. Cleared of any foul play, Leslie is forced to meet with a psychiatrist. Thankfully not through patient - doctor sessions, we get to see what led to Cece's demise, as well as Leslie's fall from--well, it was never graceful--his fall from, let's say, Mount High.

How to explain the plot … Sky is a porn star. Once Leslie sees her films he falls in love with who she is. It becomes his life long obsession to meet her. Once he tracks her down, the unthinkable happens. They meet. She is a stripper, a whore, a porn star--and he loves her. He hates her. They don't so much date, as become involved as she flip flops from one pimp/agent to the next.

Leslie meets Cece. She is a dominatrix. He thinks Sky is out of his life for good. But she isn't. Can't be. She is inside of him. And when Cece finds that he still has a thing for Sky--she leaves Leslie.

In desperate need of help, Sky finds herself on Leslie's doorstep. She has hit rock bottom. She is pregnant and wants to clean her life up. Leslie has a lot of decisions to make. Eventually, Sky moves on, marries and grows a small family into something meaningful.

When Cece dies, Leslie wants Sky back. His obsession is powerful enough that he develops an alter ego, poses as a photographer and tracks down Sky's teenage daughter. He'll do anything to have Sky want him … anything.

This is no traditional Romeo & Juliet love story. It is like no love story I've ever read, which is why it reads fast, deep and intense. There is even a little legal matter as a side-story line that takes place in the book--not anything like a John Grisham might write, thank goodness.

Suicide Casanova is dark, disturbing. There is drug usage, drinking, strip clubs, adult bookstores, heavy descriptive sex, masturbation, murder, pimping, X-films … it is filled with everything that I never see or hear of in my everyday life. Believe it or not, there is a story in the mix of it all. A sad story. Nersesian makes the reader care about what happens to these people, sympathize and at times empathize with them. A great story by a talented writer.

REVIEWED BY PHILLIP TOMASSO III

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR, PHILLIP TOMASSO III

Phillip Tomasso III is the award-winning author of Adverse Impact, Johnny Blade, Third Ring, Tenth House and Mind Play. He works full time as an employment law paralegal, freelances for a community newspaper and writes regular book reviews for Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, The Best Reviews and Curled Up With A Good Book. Tomasso also writes middle grade novels under the pen name, Grant R. Philips. King Gauthier and the Little Dragon Slayer will be released by Port Town Publishing, September 2003; Sounds of Silence in the Fall of 2004 by Star Bright Books. Living in Rochester, New York with his wife and three children. Tomasso is currently at work on his next mystery and middle grade novels.

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