Sticks and Stones by Jamie Craig

AQP Allure

Erotic Gay Historical

ISBN: 978-1-60272-509-6

Reviewed by Cassie

   

 

Paul Dunham, singer, dancer, actor extraordinaire, and one of the big stars of Hollywood, is furious when he finds out the casting for his latest musical.  His costars are up-and-coming Jack Wells, a man Paul believes canít act or sing and who is reputed to be obnoxious and rude on-set, and Betty Thayer, a woman he once had a brief affair with.  In Paulís mind, the casting is a recipe for disaster, and heís determined to do anything and everything he can to change it.  When the studio head refuses to see his point of view, he decides to be professional and get through the shoot with as few problems as possible. 

Jack Wells has spent years dancing, taking singing lessons, and working harder than anyone else to get the opportunity to be in a major picture.  Starring with one of his idols, the gorgeous Paul Dunham, is icing on the cake.  Unfortunately, on their first meeting Paul is cold and dismissive, and Jack canít help getting an attitude with him.  Jack sees something interesting in the tightly controlled Paul, and decides to see how far he can push the man before he breaks. 

Paul and Jack are at odds at every rehearsal, but itís not long before the tension takes on a different undertone.  For 1950ís Hollywood stars, any whiff of scandal, especially attraction to their own sex, could mean the end of both their careers.  Can Paul and Jack work through their animosity and keep their careers?

Sticks and Stones mixes the classic love-hate relationship, the glory of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and the danger of being gay in a time and a place in which it wasnít at all accepted to form a story thatís fun, hot, and surprisingly emotional.  At first I was worried that the extreme dislike Paul felt for Jack wouldnít be able to translate into anything else, but Jamie Craig did an admirable job of keeping the transformation believable.  Uptight, secretive, and the master of the false front, Paul was a fascinating character.  His control made the times he slipped and let something show all the more interesting.  Brash, wild, and a lot more upfront with his feelings, Jack is the total opposite of Paul.  Watching them fight their way toward each other was amusing.  The cast of secondary characters, including Paulís best friend and his wife, studio execs, the filmís cast and crew, and others fleshed out the story nicely, providing support or additional conflict.  One of the best things about Sticks and Stones was the setting.  I felt immersed in the making of a 1950ís Hollywood musical.  With lots of conflict, a great setting, and a satisfying ending, you canít go wrong with Sticks and Stones

     

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