This is advertised as an erotic suspense thriller. In all possible ways this definitely qualifies on all counts.
Dana Black is the main character of the work. She is a troubled adult working in real estate in the same company as her sister and in the same town as her mother did as well.
The only caveat is that this is erotica of a specific nature. There is no graphic sex, but there are adult situations throughout the book. From the beginning, where the murderer is dealing with a victim in their dungeon killing floor area, Barr spends a lot of time filling in the backstory until in the final chapter the surprise ending blasts into reality.
The characters are very well developed even to the point of some side characters being fully realized and very three-dimensional.
Apparently, there is a lot kinkier activity that goes on in real estate agent’s life than anyone suspected. Between rendezvous and meetings at private clubs, the people most involved find each other, learn more about themselves and each other and finally are all surprised by the truth.
Dana’s character flaws and poignantly her PTSD is a factor that keeps the true villain hidden in mysteries and shadows. Dana has experienced a trying childhood. She was apparently abandoned by her mother after her father’s alleged suicide. She grows up in a toxic town in Pennsylvania and does truly become a strong and clever woman. Throughout this she makes assumptions that are not only wrong, but she only reaches them through sketchy memories, very infrequent encounters with her estranged mother and the trial of growing up with a grandparent. She seems to be doing well for herself, but as the murders increase, in the agency she works for, she doubts herself, her lifelong ideas and even her own actions.
The relationships are between Dana and others. First, is Dare, a secretive Dominant with a very twisted sense of irony. The second is Aidan Cummings, a detective. There is her sister Melanie, the shining star of real estate agents who is a workaholic with questionable ethics. Her mother, Cassandra Beckett, has a supporting role that contains a few twists when considering Cassandra is an invalid being cared for by a 24-hour live-in caregiver, Lorelei Simpson.
Then peripheral characters come into play. There is Endicott Coxwell, the gay real estate agent and BFF of Dana. His involvement becomes more important as the story progresses even though he is really an important friend to Dana. Dr. Eleanor Lawrence is Dana’s psychiatrist who almost thinks she is figuring Dana out but never accomplishes it. Deborah Lee Decker, is the owner of Rock Canyon Realty that they all work for. She is truly a ruthless and self-serving person, playing everyone against everyone else making more plot twists. In an unusual development, Barr makes each of these people as real as the main characters.
The plot crosses from erotica, suspense, thrilling, murder mysteries and even some comic relief.
Throughout Barr maintains vignettes where the murderer describes the developments in the dungeon where the murders are always involved. This is all done very well and with smooth transitions between each of the many views presented here.
This is a well-written and exciting read for those who like thrills-a-minute. Again, a warning is needed. This contains erotic and consensual kink which may be upsetting to some adults and definitely not for children.
Expired Listings – by D. M. Barr – ISBN: 0997711817. Published by Punctuated Publishing (September 16, 2016). ($3.99 USD Amazon Kindle Edition) Reviewer received book from Author as an e-book.
Reviewed by Chris Phillips
Chris I Phillips