The Red by Tiffany Reisz
Released: July 11, 2017
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: “You smile like the devil,” Mona said.
“The devil doesn’t smile,” he said. “The devil smirks.”
A brief overview of my history of reading Tiffany Reisz – I think her Original Sinners series is amazing, especially books one and two – they have a spot on my favorites shelf. I am not a fan of her fiction book set in Kentucky, The Bourbon Thief. But overall, I really like her voice. She has a way of writing that resonates with me.
That being said, many of my reviewer friends who read The Red previous to me warned me it was super erotic and a little “out there.” That it fit firmly in the erotica category and to not expect a HEA. I was honestly a little scared to read it but I knew I had to try it for myself. Maybe because I was warned – but even though I don’t read a lot of pure erotica (because I like a firm HEA) this one was an engaging read. So here is the same warning to you: This is erotica. It’s basically sex scene after sex scene. Some of the scenes made me squirmy. There isn’t a lot of back story on our protagonists, although a story is weaved in throughout the book. The ending felt like a forced, pretend HEA, in my opinion. But I think this book will produce a lot of varying, strong opinions. It’s the type of book that you know if you recommend, some will disagree. But that is okay. That is why this genre is so fun.
The Red is an art gallery, owned by Mona Lisa St. James . This gallery used to be a premier spot to display the best art – but times are tough these days. After Mona’s mother suffered and died from a prolonged illness, Mona realizes there is no money left, but she promised her mother, as she lay dying, that she would do anything to save The Red. But now that her mom is gone and Mona takes a good look at the books, she realizes she would need at least half a million and there is no way that is going to happen. She is going to have to sell. But a man appears in her gallery who has an offer. Wearing a three-piece suit with the looks of a long ago sophisticated person, this man, Malcolm, offers Mona a million dollars if she becomes his whore for a year.
“What is it you want from me?”
“May I be blunt with you?” he asked.
“I’d prefer it.”
“I very much wish to fuck you.”
She opened her mouth and said nothing.
“Too blunt?” he asked, a slight smile on his lips.
He wants to use her body, as he sees fit, every month or so, for one year, and then he will make sure The Red stays in business. Mona, twenty-five years old, can’t believe she is agreeing to this…but she did promise her mother she would do anything. And he warns her, “anything” is on the table.
“I’m not paying you a million dollars just to fuck you. Fucking you is the least of what I’ll do to you. What I’m paying a million dollars for – minimum, mind you – is to fuck with you.”
She doesn’t know why Malcolm chose her or what his specific intentions are, but she agrees and one night in the near future, he meets her in her brass bed, located in the back of The Red, with all the paintings in storage. From here, they meet, about once a month. Each meeting is revolved around a different painting. One is Olympia, where Mona puts white sheets on the bed, as the painting shows, and wears a velvet choker with a flower in her hair, as Olympia does in the painting. She does this for each painting, as Malcolm leaves her a clue to each painting shortly before he arrives.
Malcolm tells her she isn’t going to like some of the sexual encounters. She is beaten once by 100 strokes with a cane. Another time he takes the shape of a Minotaur. Which, I am sure has you scratching your head. There is a paranormal aspect to this book, but I don’t want to go too far into details. Best to let it expose itself.
What I can tell you is this book is pretty much all sex. Some of the scenes took me out of my comfort zone. Some were tough to read. But overall, I found this story engaging, since I knew to expect this. Some may say it’s an odd story -I’d say it’s a unique story. It’s unlike anything I have read. For those completely brand new to Tiffany Reisz….I don’t know how you will like it. For those that know Reisz’s writing, I think you will be more prepared. I had fun with this. Coming in at under 300 pages, I read it in almost one sitting. It’s a total fantasy escape.
The ending – eh – not my favorite ending, but I don’t know what I really wanted out of the end. As I mentioned earlier, to me, the end felt like a forced HEA which I totally didn’t need.
Very interested to hear others thoughts. This one is definitely one you need to text your girlfriends about when you finish. Tori read it and liked it but had a few more reservations that me I think.