Tuesday, January 13, 2015

BOOK REVIEW/INTERVIEW: Sociopath by Lime Craven

If you enjoy a slightly dark and very twisted read that is quite unpredictable, this one should definitely be on your TBR list. This was such an engaging page-turner I wish I would have picked it up sooner. Check out the blog's review, author interview, and character interview....

Book Review:

 4.5 Stars

Aeron Lore is a young success, the leader of Lore Incorporated, a huge media company, and currently obsessed with acquiring SilentWitn3ss, an up and coming surveillance product, as well as it’s owner, Leontine Reeves. Oh and Aeron Lore is also a sociopath!

Initially he didn’t quite strike me as how I’d envision a true sociopath to be. He seemed more adjusted perhaps than what I envisioned.  Out of curiosity (I know, it killed the cat), I did a little googling (because it’s just been too many years for me to remember specifics of any college psych classes I took), and low and behold I found he more or less did fit the profile.

MD Health.com defines it as a “mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others.”

Hmmm. Yep, sounds a lot like Aeron though he’s learned to hide or conform to some degree as taught by his equally if not more psycho mother. If you’ve ever watched the Showtime drama Dexter, you might notice similarities between how Dexter’s adoptive father “trained” him or channeled his tendencies and the way Aeron’s mother has “raised” (and I use that word loosely) him. And I thought this even before his assistant Tuija was watching the show ;-)  But doubtful Mrs. Lore had any good intentions with her handling of young Aeron. As far as spectrums go for her, she’s bordering on that Norma Bates line, the very far end from June Cleaver.

But back to the story. Aeron is a busy man— playing guardian to his little brother, running a huge corporation, trying to squash his completion, woo Leo, and keep the jealousy of his fake girlfriend in check. Although to be clear, Aeron may be many things but he’s not a man-whore. On the contrary he’s monogamous and very selective about his women, though his brand of kink may not turn most women on.  It’s original as far as contemporary erotic romance plots go—I can’t say I’ve read one with this predilection before. 
“When it comes to smart, gorgeous women, I not only hit the jackpot—I rammed it repeatedly with the business end of a sharp stick.”
Meanwhile, Leo has some secrets of her own, and here’s where the intrigue builds and the romance (using this term lightly too) comes into play.  Aeron takes a "unique" approach to seduction, in a sociopath fashion with his own style of romantic gestures and mostly for his own gain.  This is one twisted love affair where even the hearts and flowers are warped! The story is very intriguing, and while the subject matter is “dark” the majority of the story somehow still felt “light,” largely in part to Aeron’s witty first person POV that kept even the heavy stuff entertaining.

That is until the end when the twists start piling up, one in particular that I found particularly gut-wrenching, and then the darkness really starts creeping in. And by the end you’ll be left gaping and definitely questioning your own definitions of sane and psycho.

Aeron probably won’t become one of your dreamy “book boyfriends.” He’s just not sweet, warm, or fuzzy like that. But as a character and a narrator he’s extremely intriguing. And the plot—a real page turner—has plenty of elements of humor, suspense, and some WTF moments.

Aeron’s banter with Tuija is priceless.  She’s a great supporting female character that I really adored. 
“‛It’s like Stockholm Syndrom, but the office version.’”
Adding to the witty factor, the book includes definitions as the beginning of each chapter that are fitting, funny, and thought-provoking: 
"Trust (noun): the warm fuzzy realization that you have way too much dirt on someone for them to f*ck you over."
Had I actually read this in 2014 before making up my top book list of the year, I would have most likely included it, and if it weren’t for the reading interruptions from my kids and hubby I would say I couldn’t put it down. Admittedly it may not be for everyone. You’ll need to enjoy unconventional romances, appreciate psychological stream of conscious narration, ditch any notions of unicorns and rainbows, and enjoy erotica. But relish in the fact that it’s not a cookie cutter story, far from predictable, pushes boundaries, and makes you really think twice about the characters.  This well done psychological romantic thriller with taboo elements is full of excitement and a fun twisted ride.

There’s no cliffhanger but there will be a second book, Sociopath:Legacy

Till then enjoy the blog’s interview with author Lime Craven, as well as an exclusive character interview with Aeron and Leontine where Aeron reveals his mermaid fantasy! Therapists are standing by ;-)


Author Interview: 5 Questions with Lime Craven

Q1.  Let’s talk writing in general first. How did you get started writing? How long have you been writing? And can you tell us a little about your writing process?

I’ve been writing all my life—I studied English Lit and Creative Writing at university—but it was around eight years ago that I first started to write novels with the intention of getting published, just after my daughter was born. I’m a very eclectic reader and that spills over into my work.

My writing process very much reflects my binge-happy personality. My brain is a little like a coffee grinder, and any idea spends a long time “percolating” before I sit down to write. I will quite often just think about a novel for a few months, feel it out in my head, then sit down and binge-write it in a month. Then of course you have to revise.

Q2.  What do you feel is the biggest challenge when writing either in general or when writing Sociopath?

How long do you have?! In a lot of ways, Sociopath was an easier write than other projects of mine. I’d try to write alpha male types, but I’d get a little way in and just HATE him and think, “No, the way I’m writing him, he’s too much of a sociopath.” One night, I thought, “what the hell? Let’s just write a full-on, balls-deep-in-dark sociopath.” So I guess what I’m saying is that I find writing normal, balanced human beings really hard. Erm.

Q3.  What was your inspiration for Aeron’s character?  As evident in your Author Notes as well as through the depth to the character, you obviously did your research. Were you inspired from a real life story/newspaper article? Someone you know? Or pure imagination?  You did a fabulous job with the male point of view too. How did you get inside Aeron’s head?

I’m glad you liked Aeron (if, indeed, “like” is the right word for a guy like him). I did a lot of sociopath research because Aeron’s perspective is so intimate and full-on, and it had to be convincing. But I’m not a psychologist, so it was always going to be a guessing game. I read books like The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas, Without Conscience by Robert D. Hare and The Empathy Trap by Tim & Jane McGregor. I’ve been told by some readers involved with psychology that I’ve done a good job, which makes me very happy (and relieved).

I love TV shows like House of Cards (the Kevin Spacey version) and movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, pieces with deeply flawed male characters who have intimate, honest and direct relationships with their audiences. And I adore books where you truly feel you’re being spoken to, as a reader. That was something I wanted to play with.

I didn’t really think of Aeron being a guy, when I was building his character. I just thought of him as Aeron and he happened to be a dude. It’s awesome if he comes off as authentic.

Q4. Do you have a favorite scene from the book?

The last scene, before the epilogue. Obviously I can’t go into it without giving out spoilers, but the role reversal, the adrenaline rush I got when writing it…the whole book felt like I’d dragged the reader along a dark corridor for hours, and had suddenly smacked them about the head (which makes me sound like a complete sociopath, but when you finally get to make your ‘big reveal’—it’s so satisfying).

Q5. Sociopath: Legacy is up next. What can you tell/tease us about it? Will be dual point of view this time?  Might we get the full story on what happened with Mrs. Lore? Does Montgomery get what’s coming (should be coming) for him? ;-)

Ooh. I can’t give out specifics…but yes, it is dual POV. There was really no other way to write this one; it’s a book full of answers. But there’s a price for all of that, right? That’s how these things work. If Aeron and Leo want the truth, they have to pay for it.

Stay up-to-date on the latest with Lime Craven:

Character Interview: 5 Questions PLUS with Aeron and Leo from Sociopath
Media Mogul Aeron Lore Confesses Secret Mermaid Obsession!

Q1.  Aeron— How are things going between you and Leo? You had a crazy little twist in your relationship, have you forgiven her? Do you trust her, and by trust I’m recalling your own definition of the word?

You can’t measure a relationship in terms of how much you trust someone. You have to think about how much they trust you. Forgiveness is similar; I think it invalidates any kind of logic, personally, but it works for others and that makes it work for me.

So…all things considered, yeah—I’m enjoying Leo very much. I suspect she forgives me for everything, in brief moments.

When she remembers to.

Q2.  Aeron— If your life was turned into a movie, what would the soundtrack encompass? Leo— feel free to add your two cents to the playlist as well.

Aeron: I’ve always liked that Blue Oyster Cult song. What is it again? Don’t Fear the Reaper. I love the way it takes two of the most complicated subjects we have—love and death—and makes them really simple. Sells them to the listener. Genius.

Leo: Probably Aha by Imogen Heap.

Q3.  Leo—You’ve had a bit of an ‘experimental’ sex life. What can you spill about your latest bedroom boundaries? Is Aeron pushing any limits or are there things you’d like to try?

Leo: I try not to think about boundaries. If you consider it that way, you’re more likely to be afraid. Sometimes I think I’d just like to try simpler things…slow movements, gentle touches. Not that he can’t be gentle, but it’s never in the purest sense of the word. And then other times, I think I’d be bored if that was all he ever amounted to.

Q4. Going to just throw this one out there since I’m sure a therapist could have a field day with this topic for you Aeron and even possibly Leo— Mother’s Day…what are your personal feelings on that holiday?

Aeron: I think it’s twenty-four hours long and happens on a weekend.

Q5. For both Aeron and Leo—Describe each other in just five words.

Aeron: strong, weak, brazen, smart, gorgeous.

Leo: enigmatic, intimidating, elusive, witty, honest.

Plus for a little extra fun, here are five rapid fire questions for both of you!

#1 Bite or lick?
Aeron: You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.
Leo: Ignore him. I’ll go with bite.

#2 Cameras on or cameras off?
Leo: On, always.
Aeron: No comment.

#3 Phone sex or sexting?
Aeron: Don’t answer that.
Leo: But don’t you think—
Aeron: Nobody needs to know this shit.

#4 Sheets—cotton or satin?
Aeron: Cotton is better for traction.
Leo: [Silence]

#5 Hot tub or pool?
Aeron: Pool. Because sometimes I like to pretend I’m a sparkly green mermaid. There—how’s that for a headline?
Leo: Hot tub. [Aside] I’m sorry about him. He hasn’t had his coffee yet this morning. 

Thank you Aeron, Leo, and Lime for two amazing interviews! Now here's hoping Aeron doesn't dig up dirt on the blog in retaliation for these nosy questions ;-) But I think we're safe; there's that whole "trust" (see Aeron's own definition) thing! lol 

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