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Fog: A Novel of Desire and Reprisal - Jeff Mann Simple. Heart-rending. Difficult. Stomach-turning. Lyrical. Oppressive. Creepy. Romantic. Emotional. Depressing. Tense. Complex. Thought-provoking. Poetic. Disturbing.Fog was all of the above.

As a (self/proclaimed) experienced reader of non-con, I truly (and very emphatically) found that this book contained one of the most difficult scenes I have ever read. This is because it is set in a real-life situation, with no fantasy or fiction-like feel to blunt emotions. To be frank, I felt like I would vomit. I put it down several times, and almost quit the book entirely (if it weren't for other reviews/comments indicating there was (kind of) an end to this black rainbow.

Mann is, in turns, a very lyrical and very blunt writer. Perhaps more than any writer I've read recently, he effortlessly sets a scene that varies from creepy to vivid to tense. The setting is a key part of the setting:

"If I didn’t know better, I’d say that someone had plastered the windowpanes with translucent paper, that we were moored inside a pearl"

Furthermore, Mann never let's you forget - a life is on the line:

"We don’t want to give Rob any auditory evidence, in case we decide one day to let him loose, which is a big If. "

"A pit in the forest floor is a more preferable denouement, as far as Jay is concerned"

"Why does suffering have to be a black wind-borne seed sprouting more of the same"

"From a far distance, a train whistle sounds. Wind picks up, roaring in the chimney, making the house creak. “Oh, God,” Rob gasps. His shivering begins anew. “Sounds like death. Doesn’t it sound like death to you?"

What seems deceptively simple, is rather complex - in fact, I originally considered the simplicity of some scenes a negative of the story, until I looked deeper:

"The gag’s unnecessary, but I savor the feeling of power it gives me to control his speech."

“Hurt me? No. Hell, no. You’re helpless. You can’t hurt me."

"Just you and me and the fire inside and the ice outside"

“None of this is real. This is all a mad erotic dream,”

I have so much I could say about this book. There is so much I wanted to touch on in this review- I could go on forever. I'll refrain, as it will seem I'm nitpicking, whereas I'm truly reveling. I'll just say that this is a thought provoking book- very hard to take, but if you can stomach it, it is worth it.