I have been a loyal reader of Marilyn Jaye Lewis's work for a long time and am always enraptured by her stories, their tremendous readability factor with razor sharp wit and wisdom, and naturally, the highly charged erotic weave. Yet, I have never been as compelled to write a book review as I was the moment I (reluctantly) closed her latest masterpiece, Freak Parade. My first thought was "She has to write a sequel!"
Lewis's reigning lead character, Eugenia Sharpe ("That's right, I used to be famous...") draws the reader right into her decidedly "cool" but also unaffected persona from page 1. With charm and grit, "Genie" takes you where she's been, where she stands (in the penthouse suite of her soon to be former lover and producer, Darryl) and then, fasten your seat belts folks, on her transformative Manhattan voyage of challenge and adventure in page after page of her dark, and ultimately, enlightening discovery of herself and unimaginable future. Eugenia Sharpe is a heroine we adore. She is smart, unabashedly feisty and tenacious.
Lewis does a superb job of narrating from the perspective of Genie. The reader glides through this fascinating character's wonderful streams of consciousness. I found myself sincerely caring about and rooting for Genie throughout the entire book.
All of the characters in Freak Parade are keenly developed, that goes without saying, but each one is so fascinating, unique and authentic that I felt like I was hanging out with a really groovy group of New Yorkers. In fact, when I was not reading Freak Parade, I missed these colorful folks and wished I had friends like them.
The banter between Genie and her friends (Wanda, Chas and Frankie) is splendid. They spin one clever remark after another. The reader has little time to appreciate the verbal choreography of one colorful character before it's followed up with something even more hysterical or intriguing from another. I could not wait to see what would happen, or be said, next.
This story has so much literary merit on it's own that one could forget it is erotica (though not easily). The erotica in Freak Parade is edgy and raw, leaving even the most stoic reader writhing. But unlike a lot of erotica, Freak Parade can easily stand on its own as a intriguing, page-turning smart, sassy and sexy novel. That said the erotic scenes Lewis treats us to are heated and highly charged. The steamy adventures Genie hedonistically enjoys merge seamlessly into strong story lines. I was on edge page after page following Genie's blazing hot love story with Latino hero "Eddie". I pride myself on being fairly fluent in Spanish, but thanks to Eddie's taunting dialogue with Genie, I have learned that "hinchado" means swollen.
A great book is one I can't wait to pick up again, stay up way too late reading and when I get down to the last twenty pages I slow down to hasten the inevitable ending of what had been a captivating escape into a new horizon. Such was the case with Marilyn Jaye Lewis's new erotic novel, Freak Parade. I did not want it to end. Hence, I will be looking for Freak Parade II.