Review: Strip Shot: The Prequel to Behind the Velvet Curtain by Matt Converse

We've all seen strippers up on stage. Did you ever wonder how they got there? The answer might surprise you.

Michael is a scrawny kid from Ohio who moves to San Francisco with his boyfriend Kenny. He loves everything about the city, except the guy he's with. When things turn ugly, how will he escape and how will he survive on his own, completely alone in the big city?

Along the way, he meets an eccentric cast of characters in his own personal Oz. An unlikely and not so yellow brick road with unexpected twists and turns lead him to the stage, but what will he find when he gets there? Will he have what it takes to make it as a stripper? Sometimes, you only get one shot.

Twenty-One year old Michael has always known he was destined to move away from his sleepy Ohio town and go somewhere exciting. With his boyfriend Kenny, they take off to San Francisco, California, and Michael feels like this is exactly where he was supposed to be.

Settling into his new environment proves to be a work in progress, but he meets some great people who help him come out of his shell, and forge his path to becoming a stripper.

One of the most notable parts of this story for me, is Michael’s sexuality, and his preferences regarding sex with men. I really appreciated that Michael had very clear feelings about penetrative sex, and this was demonstrated in both his interactions with men, and his own internal musings. Most, if not all, the gay erotic stories I’ve read over the last two years, have revolved around anal penetration, and I was really pleased that Michael’s preference for oral sex only, was made clear from the beginning, and remained consistent throughout the story. It was a refreshing reminder that not all people enjoy penetration, either receiving or giving, and that sex can be just as fun and sexy without it.

Michael’s confidence was really nice. He was comfortable in his own skin, and appeared to thrive in his environment once he settled into the city. There wasn’t really a chance to find out how he was in Ohio because the story begins as he and Kenny are leaving the State, and heading towards their goal of San Francisco. All I had to go on was his memory of events and how stifling he believed them to be. I would have liked to know more about how his behaviour was different in Ohio than it was in California.

Some of the scenes in this story didn’t quite fit into the overall plot, and I wasn’t particularly engaged in those parts of the story. Michael’s dreams didn’t interest me, and I would have preferred not to read about them. I do think the author has a knack for writing some creepy shit, but I think that would have served better not to be included in this story. It didn’t seem to take the plot anywhere that I could see, and became distracting, with no clear overall message.

This story needs a thorough edit. Some parts of Michael’s internal dialogue was repetitive, and unnecessary. I think a full edit and polish would do this story a lot of good. Another thing that was missing was the engaging of all senses. It would have created a more three-dimensional experience.

I liked Michael’s journey, and I thought some tightening of the storyline would have made him a less scattered character. His thoughts seemed to jump around alot, and it took a lot longer to get to the point of the monologues. I enjoyed the direction of the story, and the reason for Michael choosing the job he did. His confidence and easy-going nature made him a nice character to follow.

I was disappointed in the flippant and dismissive nature with the complex issue of domestic violence. I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to reflect Michael’s naivety about this issue, but it certainly did showcase how young and sheltered he was, even within the freedoms and growing potential provided by San Francisco. It was a major sticking point for me, and I’ve been rattled by it for a few days.

Overall this story had potential, and was interesting. I liked Michael’s character, and his journey to a big city. I would take a chance on the author in future, as his skills in writing develop, because the subject matter overall is something I am interested in reading more about. With the small horror element added in via Michael’s dreams, I can see this author doing really well in that genre, once the writing is tightened up.

A review copy was provided by the author for an honest review

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