Author: Marie Sexton
Genre: Romance / Comedy
“Too bad nobody had given me advance warning about the axe-wielding maniac. I might have made myself a bit more presentable.”
It’s an incredibly rare thing, but every now and then you land up downloading something from Amazon that you are absolutely convinced will be rubbish but that somehow turns out to be a decent read. I wouldn’t have thought Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac would be such a find – it’s only 38 pages long, so I was expecting the usual poorly written pseudo-porno setup between an author and a maniac on the run, and if there was an unnecessary amount of thrusting then so be it. What I had instead was a quick little read that was both humorous and touching enough to earn a recommendation.
Josh is a 42-year-old author who’s having a bit of a rough time in life. His partner of many years has recently left him and he’s sequestered himself at the family cabin in a vain attempt to get over his writer’s block. None of this is helped when the rather excitable and bouncy (and considerably younger) Rad Fox rocks up on his doorstep with a crowbar and pickaxe asking to dig up the floor in Josh’s lounge. Josh is a sensible being and decides that this is a decidedly unsafe and weird request, and bids Rad to be on his way.
But Rad’s not without his tricks, and knows the way into a man’s heart and lounge – with a good coconut chicken curry. Through the course of the evening’s conversation it comes out that the request to dig up the lounge isn’t as bizarre as it originally sounded – turns out that way back in the day Rad’s grandfather and Josh’s great-uncle were a couple in a far less forgiving time, and mementos of their relationship are buried somewhere under the lounge.
What follows is a surprisingly touching story of lost love, adventure, and sexual re-awakenings.
The Writing Style
Praise be to Mother Isis, not a run-on sentence in sight!
Given that this is a very short read I commend Marie Sexton for being able to construct a fully coherent story with well-realised characters. Both Josh and Rad have their own distinct personalities with just enough back story for them to make sense. There are moments of genuine humour as the encounter between the two is set up in a very clichéd manner only to have (particularly) Josh react in very real and lucid ways. There are also moments that are genuinely heartfelt, and again points must go to the author for being able to squeeze this into a very short amount of space.
What I also liked is the way the two sexual encounters were dealt with. There’s nary a raging cock nor flying bodily fluid to be found, for which I am eternally grateful. More people need to learn from Ms Sexton’s example that balls-to-the-wall vulgarity does not necessarily equate to erotic or romantic writing. The sex itself isn’t really described beyond the fact that it happened, with the first time being a lusty and animalistic affair while the second time is a more tender and slow approach, which makes complete sense in the context of the story.
Very pleasantly surprised.
I’m not very big into romance stories, so you need to tickle something in me to get my attention. Unlike most of what I read for this blog, which seem to want to tickle my prostate with a rusty rake, Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac goes for the light and fuzzy with just the right amount of situational comedy to elicit a few laughs and the occasional raised eyebrow. In amongst all this it also manages to touch on shifting societal values, issues of perception when it comes to aging, and a very realistic approach to an adventurous new relationship.
Props also to Marie Sexton for being realistic enough to admit that there is a very real danger of concussion when you have sex up against a solid fireplace.
My Final Rating: 6 / 10
Buy Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac at Amazon.com