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Nicole Camden

REVIEW:  The Nekkid Truth by Nicole Camden

REVIEW: The Nekkid Truth by Nicole Camden

Nicole Camden Nekkid Truth

Dear Ms. Camden:

 The story is narrated by Debbie Valley, a photographer who does crime scene photos on the side. She suffers from a disease called prosopagnosia, a type of face recognition amnesia, which resulted from brain trauma incurred during a car accident. She cannot recognize anyone’s face. Not her mother, her father or even a lover. It drove her slightly crazy when she first realized she had the problem but Debbie is the kind of person who is able to recognize the value of just being alive, particularly each time she take a crime scene photo.

After the accident, Debbie became fascinated with bodies because she couldn’t recognize faces anymore. Much of her work is of nudes which garners three reactions: “shock, disgust, or rapture”. But to Debbie, it’s her way of surviving, of living. “I can’t help but feel that if it’s my destiny to live life without ever again knowing the relief and joy of seeing a familiar face, then at the very least I can enjoy what I do without shame and sometimes with a great deal of pleasure.”

The real problem is that Debbie is in love with Detective Marshall Scott. Scott and Debbie have a complicated history since it was Scott’s partner who caused the accident leading to Debbie’s disability. Debbie doesn’t hold it against Scott, but Scott holds it against himself and despite his attraction toward Debbie, has never taken any action. He also recognized that she was a mess, emotionally, following the car accident. Everyone seems to know that the two of them are hot for one another but until his birthday party, they’ve been circling like wary beasts in a cage.

And the man himself, where’s he at?” I was starting to calm down, though if I had to move off this stool I was going to lose it again.

“He’s over at the other end of the bar,” he said gently, pointing, and I jerked to attention.

A dark-haired man with a stubbled jaw and a dress shirt opened to reveal a tanned throat sat almost directly across from me, surrounded by men and women vying for his attention. He would say something occasionally, but mostly he just stared at me, and I supposed it must be Detective Scott. God, he was hot.

Debbie, for all her pluckiness, is still suffering from her disability. “Since I’d gotten hurt, I had doubted, often, whether I was capable of loving anyone anymore. How could I? I wouldn’t recognize Mel Gibson if he walked through the door, much less someone I loved.” But Scott realizes that he and Debbie belong together and act on his long time feelings and her long time invitation. The sensuality of the book was increased because Debbie’s narration, her focus on the other senses, on the beauty of the body, the sweet musky smell of man, sex, and lust all created a visceral image for the reader. ‘It felt as if he did me for hours, so tirelessly, so carefully did he work me.”

While the relationship is tender and sweet and joyous to read, it is because the reader falls so hard for Debbie that the story has so much appeal. This is one of my favorite passages from the book:

When I woke from the coma they’d kept me in to keep the swelling in my brain under control, the first thing I’d seen was a tiny blond woman with blue eyes looking down at me. She was crying and laughing at the same time and calling me her baby. It took me a minute to recognize her voice, and when I did I became even more frightened than before. I didn’t recognize her. This stranger had my mother’s voice. I panicked and jerked away, screaming, and the doctors came in and sedated me. It took days to sort out what was wrong with me, and I cried every time I looked at my mother and didn’t see the woman I loved more than my own heart.

I remembered learning in college that when a baby first looks into its mothers face, there is an instant connection. Something about the mother being a mirror of that child’s self, and that mirror in some way defines what it means to exist. I would argue that it also first defines what it means to love. I think that was the hardest part for me, losing that connection, and it wasn’t till I looked down at her hand clasped in mine weeks later that I found a measure of peace. They were my mother’s hands, wrinkled and tiny, filled with love.

The remarkable thing about this story is how much emotion and depth the relationship is given despite just the one narrator. I never felt as if the hero was a mystery. Debbie’s struggle to come to grips with taking the chance of loving someone, despite her disability, was a tender and meaingful. The A- is because the suspense thread was weakly inserted and unnecessary in this short story space.   A-

Jane

PS this book is free right now. FREE!

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REVIEW:  The Fetish Box by Nicole Camden

REVIEW: The Fetish Box by Nicole Camden

Dear Ms. Camden:

One of my favorite romances is The Nekkid Truth, a novella in the anthology “Big Guns Out of Uniform.” For the longest time, that novella was the only published thing to your name and I’ve recommended it frequently. I’ve even told people that the novella was worth the entire price of the anthology even though I didn’t like any of the other stories. I nearly broke my finger trying to download the review copy of your new three part story.

Nicole Camden The Fetish Box
Unfortunately The Fetish Box failed to live up to my excited expectations. The series is sold in three parts, but it reads like a full novel that was cut randomly in three parts in order to fulfill some arbitrary word count for the three parts. I’m not going to even attempt to review the three parts separately because each part doesn’t deserve its own review. It would be like selecting a random number of chapters and then reviewing each set separately.

There is no arc from part to part but then there is no arc to the entire book. Haphazard is a good description for this book. It’s a surface treatment of erotica, romance, and mystery. Each one is trotted out for a short period and time and then shelved for some other topic. The mystery aspect is revealed in the second section and is largely forgotten in the third section until the end.

24 year old VIRGIN Mary inherits a bar and sex shop from her biological mother who gave Mary away as a baby and then never visited once. Mary is a struggling artist with a small circle of friends so she decides to pack up all her belongings and move to Florida to find the legacy her mother left her. There she meets John and Max, two very different but sexually powerful men. John, in particular, wants to train her to take Mandy’s place in their lives (which seems kind of weird and unsexy in some ways). Mandy was a dominatrix and arranged fetish parties for those who liked a taste of something different.

Within seconds of meeting her, Max is kissing and disrobing her. John propositions her after sitting down to lunch with her. It’s very quick and a not little off-putting. There is almost no serious introspection by Mary at either her bio mother’s abandonment or the unexpected inheritance. She is delighted to delve into sexual relations, initially with John. In fact, the first and second parts of the story seem to set John and Mary up in a romance but Mary has sexually feelings she would like to explore with Max. The latter would be fine if it was set up as Mary experimenting with newfound sexuality but instead she feels guilt and nervousness in her intimacy with someone other than John. (Maybe it would help if she didn’t have sex with Max while John was passed out in a post orgasmic coitus on her sofa in the next room).

A late mystery is introduced when Mary’s life is threatened by an angry customer of Mandy’s who feels his marriage was threatened by Mandy’s sex parties and his wife’s participation in those sex parties. I was confused as to what purpose this served other than to have John and Max and others rush to Mary’s defense.

We are treated to POV scenes from John, the scarred war veteran and Max, the roue (who read like he was about 50) but, again, neither seemed to move the story forward. I kept thinking about what this book was about. Was it about downplaying social expectations regarding relationships? If so, why the traditional ending? Was it about sexual exploration? Then why didn’t we see more actual exploration and why were the male POVs even there if it was about Mary’s journey? Was it a mystery? Because that was both cliched and predictable, not to mention brought up only when necessary.

I’m not really sure what this book is or who the readership for the book is. I’ll read a Camden again but it might just be The Nekkid Truth. D

Best regards,

Jane

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