Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Review: Pleasure Model

Pleasure Model by Christopher Rowley is the first illustrated novella in the Netherworld Series published by Tor Books and Heavy Metal Magazine back in 2010.  This short-lived collaboration was branded as Heavy Metal Pulp.

In Pleasure Model, we meet Detective Rook Verner of the the Hudson Valley Police Department.  He's assigned a strange murder case involving a high-profile victim.  Upon investigating the scene, Rook and his partner discover a pleasure model, or "Pammy," was overlooked by the killer(s).  Pammys are illegal, genetically-grown humans, created as living sex toys for whoever purchases them--or rents them out.

The story contains elements of Blade Runner (artificial beings), Solyent Green (government conspiracy) and 50 Shades of Grey (sex, kinky and otherwise).

I loved the author's minimalist writing style.  The story is fast-paced with just enough descriptive details and exposition to ignite the reader's imagination.  There's no data dumping in Pleasure Model.  It wasn't until page 77 that I was able to figure out what year this dystopian story occurs in, which required some arithmetic.

The reader is never bored with the story.  Shocked sometimes, yes, but not bored.

And speaking of shocking, two women reviewers on hated the book, giving it a 1-star rating, because they thought it objectified demeaned women.  However, 88% of the other readers, including some women, liked the book, giving it anywhere from 3 to 5-stars, for a 3.9 star average.

I don't think the book itself was demeaning towards women, but showed a future society that looked upon genetically-grown people as tools and toys that can be callously treated and easily discarded once they outlived their novelty and usefulness.  More importantly, the protagonist, Rook Verner, doesn't mistreat women, naturally-born or artificially-created, in any way.

Nor is Rook alone.  He receives assistance from allies, mostly intelligent and capable women, that serve more than eye/mind-candy for the reader.

There are mixed feelings about the small black-and-white illustrations found on most of the pages in Pleasure Model.  I liked them because it saved the author from having to add additional descriptions that would bog down the flow of the story.  Besides, I like graphic novels and comics, which is one of the reasons why I bought this book; although I can't remember from where.

The biggest disappointment was the story's ending.  Or, more correctly, lack of a satisfying conclusion.  Pleasure Model ends rather abruptly, which I would be fine with if I had books #2--The Bloodstained Man, and #3--Money Shot handy to read right away.

Otherwise, I enjoyed Pleasure Model, and it is my pleasure to give this story a 4-star rating.

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