Tag Team Review: Max by Bey Deckard

Novella (49,000 words)
Genre(s): transgressive, psychopath, dark erotica, QUILTBAG

Fresh out of school, Dr. Crane takes on a new patient who both intrigues and unnerves him. Charming, manipulative, and amoral, Max has exactly the sort of mind Crane finds himself drawn to with fictional characters.

As Max weaves himself into Crane's life, Crane realizes that while fiction might be safe, Max certainly is not.

When the professional line between them thins, who gets to define where one man ends and the other begins?

Sara - 4.5 Hearts

I’ve said it more than once, I’ll read anything as long as it’s written well even if it’s dark, depraved and full of the folks being debased and this book, it’s written brilliantly.

You liked it. I swear. I didn’t push you into anything. You wanted it.

This book is loaded with psycho sexuality, with moral ambiguity, with pure WTAF-ness and I couldn’t get enough. We begin the story with fresh faced and new to the practice, Dr. Dennis Crane with one Max. Crane wants to be the type of professional to be – professional – and yet when Max flirts with the chance to get an upfront and personal look into the workings of his mind, it’s an offer Crane can’t refuse.

I love that Dr. Crane has doubts but he also has the kind of curiosity that could very well kill the cat. That we know what movie and what character gave him the push to be a shrink of the minds and get inside people’s heads. When Max starts to twist things, to make Max want things he’s never wanted before, even I started to wonder…

… the mysteries of the human mind are both multitudinous and rather fascinating,n’est-ce pas, mon cher?

Max is the type of character that always intrigues me. It’s a sick curiosity of the mentally twisted, the master manipulators and how they do it. I mean, to a point a good number of sexual predators and serial killers and a charming skill that lures their victims in and makes them vulnerable. Here, we have Max who uses his own knowledge of psychology, though a bit depraved and turns the tables on the Doc so much that you wonder who really is analyzing whom?

Though certain lines reminded me of movies and/or songs, the lyrics added to the unease of the unknown. At one point, I started to wonder if I was actually enjoying the story or if this was my reader’s version of dub-con. My own hearts filthy lesson at wanting to take a trip to the dark side. The twists in the story are amazing. Just when I thought I knew what was up, I would turn the page. Just when I thought I had a handle on what was the true reality, Crane would snap out of that one into another or he would get a text from someone I should not have forgotten about because, fuck! OMG!

It was madness, but it was a beautiful fucking madness indeed.

There is a soundtrack to go along with the story that, as a professed music nerd, makes it even better. I mean, anyone who can make a playlist with Marc Almond singing about making scenes, being a team and making headlines sound like a dream, is a-fucking-okay in my book but music and books have always been the heart of my life so I love the soundtrack. Listening to it gave the story a cinematic quality reminiscent of some deep and disturbing films that I happen to find, interesting. I have to add a few lines from a song that wasn’t on it though because for me it was on repeat when I would think of how lost or maybe just how found Crane was becoming all because of Max. It’s a bit less, transcending than that on the soundtrack but, for me it’s that deep part of Crane that can’t figure out which side of the looking glass he is on.
Heaven help me for the way I am
Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done
I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand
But I keep living this day like the next will never come
-“Criminal” by Fiona Apple

Max is a twisted mind fuck of story that will have you guessing and more than likely getting it wrong each and every time. Toward the end I was lost and confused and really stuck with needing to know the truth just like David Mills needed to know what was in that box delivered to the middle of the desert. I needed to know and what I got… man, that end. I almost wish it went darker… yeah, I just said that but at least there is some sort of breathing room now that it’s over and maybe I can leave the dark side and go home too. No? Kay? I have friends on this side anyway and they have snacks.

SheReadsALot - 4.5 Hearts

There was no climbing back out of the rabbit hole; he was fucked and fucked good, but at least the company was interesting.
Down the rabbit hole indeed...

What a twisted, psychological thrilling roller coaster of a ride Max turned out to be.

I'd rather warn potential readers there are triggers in here: rape, dubious consent, unethical practices, cheating, some violence. (A checklist of sorts that guaranteed me reading) And I don't consider this a trigger by any means, but there are readers who don't like vaginas in their fiction *gasp*...whelp, there are few in here (put to good use might I add. I mean it is a Bey Deckard title *grin*) Is Max dark? I don't think so. On a scale from 1-5, maybe 1 or 1.5? It's more a head game...a devious fucking head game.


There's oodles and oodles of lies. And I've read this 1.5 times, and I'm trying to figure out where all the truths were.

Set in Montréal, Dr. Dennis Crane is a newly minted psychologist, married and seems to have a normal life. Enter his patient, young Max, who he can tell has a madness in his eyes, that Max is hiding something. But Dr. Crane is drawn to the younger man. Maybe he can diagnose him, fix Max. He doesn't even realize he's been ensnared in the spider's web and Max is running the show.
"Are you afraid of me, Dennis? You shouldn't be. I'm trying my very best to make you understand that I like you. And I'm offering you the very thing you desire the most: me. You know I'm a fine specimen of amorality. I'm giving you the opportunity to look behind the curtain. No holding back."
I believe I've made it known I enjoy reading the cray crays, especially when they're well written. Psychopaths, sociopaths, amoral puppet masters that treat others they encounter as their toys...I enjoy reading them.

This is Max.

He's a level 7 on my scale, 100%.  And I was plugged in for his show. Really enjoyed that twisted fucker.

Reading Dr. Crane lose more of himself to the miasma of the depravity that reeks from Max, and you read it as Crane knows and still can't help himself. *claps hands wildly* That was everything. The story is told in a journal style, from Dr. Crane's POV. Max and Dr. Crane's interactions starts with sessions, and steadily moves from the doctor's practice, taking over Crane's life. A mild mannered man who develops kinks he didn't even know existed. The sex was scorching hot, while the lines between doctor and patient blurred, melded and made new definitions.
"I've opened you up to a whole new range of experiences. Once you get acclimatized, you'll see it the way I do."
I had minor quibbles.  I wanted to know more. What exactly happened during the missing days? There are hints, subtle hints dotted in between the lies. It's a little frustrating not knowing. Maybe there'll be a B-side to Max? Maybe not. Who knows if the world's ready to know what's going on inside that "lizard brain" of Max's. *wink*

The ending is...I'm still a little wide eyed after that ending. I don't know what else to define it other than a little sad, yet fitting.

Recommended for readers who like amoral liars, characters who don't care to define their sexuality and twisted psychological erotica.

Watch your step.

That rabbit hole, man...it's a helluva ride.

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  1. Great review ladies! I loved this one too.

    1. Thanks, Debra! It was a really fun ride. I already re-read half of it again. LOL ;D


  2. Thank you both for the wonderful reviews :) You made my day.