by Christian Baines

Cover art
ISBN: 978-1626395107
Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
Pages: 314

A school in turmoil over its senior play, a sly career as a teenage gigolo, an unpredictable girlfriend with damage of her own, and a dangerous housebreaker tied up downstairs. Any of these would make a great plot for budding filmmaker Eric's first movie. Unfortunately, they're his real life. When Julien, a handsome wannabe actor, transfers to Eric's class, he's a distraction, a rival, and one complication too many. Yet Eric can't stop thinking about him. Helped by Eric's girlfriend, Mary, they embark on a project that dangerously crosses the line between filmmaking and reality. As the boys become close, Eric soon wants to cross other lines entirely. Does Julien feel the same way, or is Eric being used on the gleefully twisted path to fame?

Reviews:Nancy Ferris on Outlaw Reviews wrote:

Right from the start, I was gripped by this story. 18-year-old Eric’s mom has a busy career, leaving him alone for months at a time. All this freedom enables him to straddle multiple worlds – as a student producing one of Shakespeare’s more controversial plays, a boy toy to Margaret, an older female client, and as mate to Julien and Mary. Oh, and let’s not forget about the complicated relationship Eric has with the burglar tied up in his house and that godawful MP3 he keeps playing.

So even though there’s not a single likable character in this story, Eric’s conflicts, craziness and unpredictability kept me entirely enthralled, making me laugh, hold my breath, and shake my head in disbelief. I liked that Eric’s bisexuality is understated, yet unrepentant. I also appreciated the stellar writing which easily elevates this book into the literary realm.

This is the type of book best read without knowing any specifics, so I’m not going to spoil it for you. Just know that you’ll laugh your head off, be horrified, and question your sanity…or Eric’s.

A total mindfuck and one of the more creative books I’ve read in a while.

Amanja on Amanja Reads Too Much wrote:

This is the spoiler free review of Puppet Boy. To read the spoiler full version with all the sexy details please go here.

I met the author of Puppet Boy over the summer at one of the Pride festivals I attended. He was selling his books at a booth and read me (ahem) like a book. I was wearing my bisexual colored Captain America shield shirt and he pitched me the story of this bisexual thriller that sounded incredibly interesting. So naturally I bought it and it sat in my TBR pile for 6 months. Well, once I picked it up I devoured it in under two days. It’s one of the fastest page turners I’ve read all year.

It’s the story of a 17 year old Australian high schooler, Eric, who attends a Christian school with an emphasis on drama and art. He wants to be a director with an edge when he finally gets to go to college in America.

He makes money to escape Australia by selling himself as an escort to the wealthy and allowing them to indulge some pretty risque fantasies. His secret life also includes a home intruder he has locked up in his basement and some pretty wild fantasies of his own that may tip from sexual to violent more often than not.

That is all set up within the first 10 pages and the rest of the book is a wild ride through this graphic coming of age tale that is definitely not YA safe. Eric experiments with sex, drugs, violence, and most of all power. The theme of the book centrals strongly around the forces of who’s in charge shifting back and forth and when one allows power to be given up verses when it is taken by force.

The pacing and writing in the book are spot on. I was never bored, the book never lagged, but I was never lost. This is what it looks like when an author has a full plan from beginning to end and it all comes together coherently, twists and all.

The characters are complex but believable and well as diverse. Baines creates a world of depravity which is only restrained as much as our own, in that everyone can mostly manage to function at work and school during the day before getting to their secrets at home. The book is equal parts sexy and disturbing but wholly entertaining.

I strongly recommend this book to any erotic thriller fans out there. I personally don’t read the genre very often but if this is how they all are I’d love to start. But I think this may have set the bar high for me to enter that world.

5/5 movie cameras cause this one deserves to be made into one, i’d watch it for sure!

About the Author

Christian Baines has written on travel, theatre, film, television, and various aspects of queer life, factual and fictional. Some of his thoughts have spawned novels, including queer urban fantasy series The Arcadia Trust, the horror novella Skin, and Puppet Boy, which was a finalist for the 2016 Saints and Sinners Emerging Writer Award. Born in Australia, he now travels the world whenever possible, living, writing, and shivering in Toronto, Canada on those odd occasions he can't find his passport.

Other Books By Christian Baines