Guest Review: The Runner (Runner, #1) by Karma Kingsley

Alex Banez is a runner for a Los Angeles film set. When he has a chance encounter with executive producer Atwell Richards, he finds himself falling fast and hard. Atwell is rich, powerful, gorgeous, and everything Alex never thought he would have. But Atwell also has a dark side and an inflexible need for control that threatens to suffocate everyone around him.

Alex has to figure out if he can love Atwell without losing himself.

Guest Reviewer - Annery

You know when you plan, anticipate, and salivate at the thought of a book? When you look at the cover, read the blurb, and rub your greedy hands together anticipating a good time? Yeah. *sigh* That’s how I felt and then got kicked in the ovaries. I don’t even know where to start.

Let’s start with the cover. Though I admire and covet them as much as the next reader it doesn’t influence my enjoyment of a book, however I’ll point out that as pretty as the tattooed boy on the cover is he has zero resemblance to anyone in the book. Zilch. But whatever, right? If only!

I’m a fairly patient and generous reader and I allow myself to believe any number of BS stories if they’re well told. I believe in shifters, vampires, and lizard men having meaningful and fulfilling relationships with mortal humans. I’ve enjoyed tentacle porn, alien yaoi abductions, and Mpreg. I’ve sworn on a stack of Bibles for the truth of certain Insta-Lust books, I’m looking at you “Uneven” by Anah Crow or lesser trifles like anything by Charity Parkerson, Ella Frank or Tricia Owens. I enjoyed them all and was left with a smile on my face. No such luck here.

All of the events in this book take place within maybe two weeks as far as I could figure and they concern Alex Banez, a “runner” on a film set falling head over heels in love with Atwell Richards who I can only imagine as some sort of demi-God and producer extraordinaire kind of like Robert Evans in his heyday. About a million things happen and the author flirts and dangles about a thousand tropes. I didn’t believe a word of it.

I should’ve known I was in trouble when at about page 5 I came upon this little nugget of Alex first laying eyes on Atwell:

“Alex’s breath caught in his throat, and his gaze unconsciously softened at the beautiful set of brown eyes that lifted to meet his. But it wasn’t just the stranger’s eyes that captivated him -- it was the full package. The way his face jutted down in sharp angles, softening at his cheekbones to give his elegant features an almost homey touch. The mess of soft blond curls that fell delicately about his head, framing his face in a way that took the breath right out of anyone daring enough to gaze upon his beauty.

Let that sink in. This is not a shifter/fated mates story. Maybe it should’ve been. So many things would’ve made sense and been acceptable.

Alex wants to be a director so he’s making his way up the film industry ladder being a “runner” on a movie set. Perfect. Plenty of meat on that bone for narrative fodder. But no. Alex also comes from a troubled childhood complete with foster care, druggie brother, and a criminal past that’s never fully explored. One of the problems with this book is that it seems like the author threw in everything but the kitchen sink. IT’S ALL HERE. The no-good brother, the unsavory past complete with addiction, the sassy female friends/relatives who are utterly comfortable giving gay men dating advice and watching them screw, the hints of rough sex, dominance, and submission in the bedroom, the age difference, the all powerful man whose presence makes others quake in their boots etc. It’s all laughable.

Atwell (what kind of name is that to yell in the midst of orgasm?) like Alex is smitten at first sight so I guess that’s good news:

“Atwell found him intriguing, enthralling even. Hell, they’d only met for a few moments and he was damn near obsessed with the man.”

Atwell wines and dines Alex the same day they meet and the “boy” does half hearted protests but allows himself to be impressed by Atwell’s “luxury Cadillac”, in this case a Jaguar XJ, later a Maserati, and the unbelievable fact that he is part owner of an exclusive Hollywood restaurant:

“You own half of a restaurant? I didn’t even know that was a thing,” Alex said.

Amish people wouldn’t be impressed by these things. Ugh.

The rest is just more nonsense about Alex not wanting Atwell’s help to rise in the film industry but also can’t go to school because ‘reasons’ and Atwell though being an industry titan doesn’t seem to know who David Fincher is! WTF #@* Also I don’t think producers are as revered by the general public as the author seems to think and what kind of project are they working on that requires multiple directors at one studio lot and all powerful Atwell watching over them?
From there we’re off to the bedroom for some ‘mine’ moments and laughable attempts at D/s but it’s all good because Atwell’s refractory period is awesome!
Alex is not only a recovering addict but also seems to have some kind of eating disorder but there’s no time to dwell on any of that because he’s too busy crying over Atwell and looking pretty.

I could go on but I won’t because it would just be cruel. I’m going with two stars because the book is not intentionally malicious, there’s no erasure, technically it’s well formatted, there were very few typos or errors and who knows? Maybe it was just me. Maybe there’s someone out there who’ll love this and it will rock their world.

*** On a side note I know that authors want to signal the ethnicity of their characters but just saying so is enough. I’m Latina, so are my siblings, relatives, and many friends. We don’t go on all day dropping Spanish words into every conversation. Many Latinos don’t even speak Spanish. On the plus side there were no misspellings this time around. Praise for small favors.***

A review copy was provided.

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