I have to preface this by saying that I love Rick's writing. This story is a tale of two men from very different backgrounds. Having read the blurb I expected that. The past couple of Rick's books have been different to others I have bought (a few of which I have read already and several are still in my to-read list). This one was, like Caregiver, an unexpected surprise. Next on my list is Homecoming. Anyway, back to Tricks... I didn't really understand Arliss. I didn't understand how someone like Sean could date someone like Arliss (and, boy, do I sound like a snob but, hey, I have evolved A LOT over the past few years but I am not sure I am THAT evolved). I think a lot of people would have a bit of a hard time being able to stand thinking of all the ramifications that a job like Arliss' entails - the groping, the poking in the butt hole (putting money inside his rectum was just weird LOL), the come-ons. I realize that many strippers probably feel NOTHING towards some of the sad gits that go to strip clubs to see young, firm flesh on display but it has to be hard on the less accustomed partners... That's my (uneducated) take on it.
Another concern would be how would Sean introduce Arliss to his business acquaintances? OK, Arliss is his partner but would he tell them what he does? And I CANNOT imagine anyone telling their professional colleagues that their partner's number one ambition in life is to do porn (whether gay or straight). As much as said professionals may enjoy watching porn I doubt they would want their partners to be one of the stars. So I can see where Sean is very against that ambition and that's even without considering the health risks involved and then the emotional issues of your partner having sex with other people (regardless of claims of emotional detachment). Again, am I being a snob? I don't think so.
I wondered, several times, why Sean didn't just up and dump Arliss. And when Arliss was thinking that Josh (the porn producer's second in command) was 100 times better looking and how he would have loved to have had sex with him (if he had still been single) it kind of pissed me off. He was totally shallow in parts and that was an example. I guess Sean should be grateful that Arliss was so in love (having been deprived of the emotion throughout his life up to that point) with him that he would not have had sex with Josh. But, with Arliss being so stuck on being a 'porn star' and not taking Sean's feelings regarding this issue (of Arliss screwing many other guys even if it was 'only a job') I was really thinking it would have been a dumping offense. I almost wanted Arliss to pay for his choice, poor and uneducated as it was. Why allow his naivete as an excuse for ignorance? He was, after all, a hustler from a young age and had been a witness to a lot of life's seedier elements. Apparently, he learned nothing from his experiences.
The one person I was left curious about, at the end of it all, was Josh. I would LOVE to read Josh's back story. He was interesting. There was a reason for him to be the way he was. So, after the ending (whatever the results) it might be nice to hear what happened to make Josh the way he was and what happens to Josh in the future (depending on the outcome). I did predict the nature of the movie, though. That was fun! :o)
Now, I am off to read Homecoming by Mr Reed.