“IM”–leave the lights on


Leave the Lights On

Amos Lassen

Rick Reed is an amazing writer—he grabs you with the first sentence and does not et go until you have closed the covers of his new book “IM” (Instant Message). This is scary stuff and I have trouble still looking at the IM’s I receive.

There was a time, before computers, when gay men met each other in various and different places. Now the internet brings us a whole new way of meeting and finding a partner for a few intimate moments is relatively easy. There is a minus to this however. You never really know the person you meet but then they don’t really know you either. Instant messaging has, in some ways, replaced gay bars and bathhouses. A sexual liaison is just a click away in the computer age and you don’t even have to look your best to sit behind the screen of your computer.

What Reed does in this book is look at the anonymity of internet sex and shows how easily we can be duped into meeting a serial murderer on the web. His story which is set in Chicago is about a serial killer who preys on gay men. In a convoluted way, Reed gives us a compelling story that makes you think twice. Reed’s wonderful storytelling ability makes this story seem very real.

Chicago detective Ed Comparetto is called in to investigate a series of murders in the gay community. He knows the reason he was selected for this assignment is because he is gay and it appears that the fact that he is gay should in some way help him to figure out why a young gay man is dead.

The story, as Alice would say, gets curiouser

and curiouser and becomes a psychological thriller and very intense. Reed’s characterizations are downright scary. They are bigger than life and seemingly very real. The descriptions and the sex will have you turning pages at rapid speed. There are twists and turns on almost every page and if I have to make a complaint it would be that I was exhausted reading.

This is a book that is definitely not for the weak of heart. The fact that it could actually happen is what is really scary about it. The reality of it is like being slapped hard across the face. I learned to carefully check out whoever sends me instant messages so now when that box pops up, I think before I reply.

I have read several of Reed’s books but I must say this one beats them all. His style is clear and precise and crisp and his story is full. The descriptions are wonderful and when a book keeps me guessing, I am hooked. Now Rick—what else is on your calendar?

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