Review: Dark Alley by D.S. Wrights

Reviewed by Ronelle

Alice is in her thirties, single, and determined to chase her own sexual pleasures. While out with friends one night, she’s given a card inviting her to the mysterious Dark Alley, and although she’s warned against going, she can’t resist. What follows are encounters that fulfill her wildest fantasies…and then some.

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Maybe I shouldn’t write a review for a book I didn’t finish, but maybe I can save someone else from wasting their time. Why didn’t I finish Dark Alley, you ask?

Because I. Hated. Alice.

She’s in her thirties, single, and bitter as all-get-out about it, though she kept trying to convince the reader (and maybe herself) that she wasn’t. In the opening chapter, Alice went to a club with her married ‘mommy’ friends, but she was so angry and resentful towards them, I wondered why she’d even bother. While I empathize with her position (I’m one of the last in my friend group without kids), I was disgusted by her bitterness towards them. Even her best friend wasn’t immune once Alice found out she was pregnant.

Then there’s the guys… and this was where her bitchy star shone its little heart out. First, and in fairly rapid succession, Alice pondered screwing the cute younger bartender and the anonymous Mr. Scotch. But when a younger soldier approached her to ask if he could buy her a drink—that’s literally all he said to her—she immediately labeled him Creepy with a capital ‘C’ and thought he was treating her like a whore. Whoa, Alice, back that truck up for a minute. Weren’t you just trading sexual comments with Mr. Scotch a second ago? And somehow him telling you that he only stared at pretty women when they were lying exhausted under him is somehow less creepy than an offer to buy you a drink? Her attitude towards the soldier seemed to be crappy simply because he was in the military.

Okay, so she’s a crummy person, but I figured maybe the sex would redeem this.

Nope.

Alice seemed to live in this bubble of overdramatized defensiveness; as far as I could tell, Alice was the only one thinking she had defend tending to “all of her needs”. She spent so much time waffling, prevaricating, and justifying her decision to go the Dark Alley until I just wanted to scream “get on with it already!” When hanky panky time finally did roll around, I was disappointed. The author couldn’t keep track of her characters positions during the act and descriptions like “her unusually sensitive buns” or “piece of flesh in his pants” definitely killed the moment.

I never got to a point where I could tolerate Alice. And it wasn’t just the character I had issues with, either. The writing was… awkward and stilted. The word choice was odd (“first expression” when most would say “first impression”) and repetitive (using the same verb multiple times in the same sentence). I suspect the author is not entirely comfortable writing in English, which is fine, but if you are writing for an English-speaking audience and you’re not fluent, then find an editor who is.

Oh, and there were a lot of typos: Missing words, duplicated words, inconsistencies like spelling out some numbers and not others (two and 8)… things that an editor would easily have taken care of.

Bottom line: If you can grit your teeth and get past Alice’s less-than-agreeable personality, you might like this. For me, there was nothing enjoyable about Dark Alley.

Rating F-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Dark Alley: Stranger
by D. S. Wrights
Release Date: June 26, 2015

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