Steel Sleet
by Eric Del Carlo, futuristic (2007)
Loose Id, $4.99, ISBN 978-1-59632-583-8


Eric Del Carlo is not a new author as he's had two fantasy novels published previously along with a short story here or there. Therefore, when I realize that he has a romantic gay science-fiction story on sale, I am curious enough about how that story will turn out to be to snap it up the moment it goes on sale.

Steel Sleet is a reference to the doors of a tower that our assassin Nickerson tries to get past before he realizes that he's walked right into an ambush. Meanwhile, street hustler BlaqJaq is on the prowl looking to get laid when he stumbles upon the commotion caused Nickerson's failed night out and Nickerson himself, bleeding slightly, pointing a gun at BlaqJaq's head.

Set in Earth in the distant future, this is a May-December romance as Nickerson is 40 while BlaqJaq is probably about half his age. Not that I have a problem with that, of course, but I think I should point that out to readers who may want to know this before buying this book. I'm not going to go any more into the storyline of Steel Street because the author has a few twists and turns in the story that I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate having spoiled here. But this is a pretty solid story, I have to say, with the author doing an excellent job here balancing the whole chase scene with some romantic scenes between the two guys that I find actually quite believable.

Because this is a novella rather than a novel, details and characterization aren't too detailed or actualized, but I find that the author has done enough to bring this story and his characters to life. This one reminds me of all those fun science-fiction movies I have watched mostly on video where things can get a little cheesy in a good way, only in this one the guys actually break through the unspoken homoerotic tension between them to actually do the nasty. Cool.

I'm going to be quite disappointed if this author doesn't follow this fun little tale with something else.

Rating: 85


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