After going on a Aleksandr Voinov reading binge over the last couple of months I can honestly tell you… I still have no idea what to expect when I start reading one of his books. Seriously. I never know where in the world the setting is going to be; London, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, the US… they are all over the map. They could be historical or contemporary. They could be shocking and uncomfortable or sweet and tender. I just never know. That’s the impression I’ve gotten from reading the Dark Soul collection, Sky Bound, Country Mouse, and Gold Digger. I haven’t even started reading Special Forces yet. I’ve been asked, even begged by a few friends (Samantha says I HAVE to read) to pick it up and try it. I’ve heard it’s long, uncomfortable, and graphic, and if I’m going to be completely honest once again, I’m a little scared of starting it. I thought by reading Gold Digger, which is about one of the main characters of Special Forces’ son, I could maybe get a taste of what I would be getting myself into. Apparently, I was wrong.
Gold Digger, to me, was a little more than just a m/m love story. As with Dark Soul, by the end of the book I started to think about what the book was actually about. Yes, it seems like it could be just another entry into the gay romance genre, but lines like this make me think a little more while I’m reading:
“It’s a big step, Nikolai. Never underestimate that. You’ll run into gay guys who’ll tell you you’re not actually bisexual, just scared to come off the fence, and a whole lot of people who’ll tell you bi guys don’t exist and you have it all wrong.” He shrugged. “Though I personally don’t care how you define yourself.”
“Oh, I’m the son of a gay guy. I know these categories aren’t worth shit.”
Nikolai is on a business trip to try to get an excavation company to help his gold exploration company with a find. He meets Henri, a slightly older, completely “out” gay man. Henri is the nephew and heir apparent of the CEO of the company Nikolai wants to do business with. When Henri propositions Nikolai after a business dinner Nikolai is uncomfortable, but intrigued and even though he has never had any sexual relations with a man before he is turned on and goes for it. What starts out as a spur of the moment, one night stand develops into more when Nikolai keeps coming back for more.
I liked Nikolai. I could understand his hesitation and the time it took to come to terms with his sexual identity. He had always thought of himself of a heterosexual man, his interest in Henri throws that off kilter. He also is a corporate nomad, with no home and no real relationships that tie him down in any way. So while he is coming to terms with his sexual interest in Henri he is also trying to figure out how any kind of relationship will fit in with his world and if he wants his life to change. I didn’t connect to Henri as much as Nikolai, but then this story wasn’t told from his point of view and I think he pretty much already knows what he wants and is comfortable with himself.
While all of this is going on, we also get a glimpse of how Nikolai was raised and what kind of family he has. His sister is a bitch, his mother is portrayed the same way, and his father, who just recently came back into his life, still lives with the horrors of his past. I think Nikolai is pretty darned well-adjusted to have come from all that. There wasn’t an overload of angst in this story. No mental self-torture. Which was nice actually. Just a man falling for someone, making a decision and then figuring how that works with his new partner and their lives. Of course, there was the background story of the corporate deal, a big take business take over and what not, but that was all secondary to the story of Henri and Nikolai.
I guess I’m going to have to read Special Forces now. I was intrigued by Vadim and the glimpses I got of his story. I’m still a little scared, but Aleksandr Voinov always takes me on an unexpected reading journey that ultimately leaves me satisfied.
“Where are you, sexy?” Henri’s voice, a low purr that made Nikolai’s hair stand on end, but in a good way. Instinctively, he turned around, and he saw a dark-haired guy just walking in. Yep, Henri.
“Holy shit, you’re the most accomplished stalker I’ve ever met.
“It’s not stalking if you like it,” Henri responded and ended the call, coming toward him with a smile.