Ice, Wind and Fire - Mel Keegan

Ladymol's Review

In many ways, this is the classic “boys’ own” thriller: guns, car chases, drug smuggling, white slave trade, crashed planes, treasure…. Only, the heroes are gay! Alex and Greg are long-term partners, one a photojournalist, one a war-reporter. Meeting on a case many years before, they are now a pair, and nothing can separate them. I found this part of the storyline very interesting: it’s not often we have such a positive depiction of a stable couple. They are so in love, incredibly sexy and know that their monogamous commitment is keeping them alive.

On holiday in Jamaica, they find a crashed plane and when they report it they find that a number of other people were looking for the plane, too. The trouble escalates until they are running for their lives, not knowing who to trust or where to turn for help.

Boys' own thrillers really aren’t my favourite novels, but I really did enjoy Alex and Greg and the sex between them is very hot, as well as having that added delight of being between such a committed couple. What puzzles me is that this novel is so entirely different from Mel’s other work. Most of the people I’ve met through slash are highly intelligent women, and I’m really not sure that this novel would appeal to them all that much. It doesn’t have very much emotional development and concentrates on the plot. The baddies are really very one-dimensional, and even Alex and Greg are rather obvious. How this book came out of the same imagination as Nocture, one of the most amazing books we’ve reviewed, really amazes me. It’s not bad—far from it. It’s just not in the same league as that novel.

By all means give it a go if you like a racy thriller but get fed up with ultra-straight James Bond type characters. Greg and Alex couldn’t be tougher or more masculine, resourceful or dangerous, but when they have sex, they like to have it with each other! If only they’d make more movies with this delightful kind of reversal.

Cerisaye's Review

If you’re looking for an exciting thriller with a hefty dollop of romance and a whole cookie-jarful of hot spice this is the book you need. Mel Keegan’s first published novel is an easy read perfect for a bit of escapist fun. Actually I’m surprised he hasn’t written a sequel as it begs to be a series and would make the basis for a good TV show to dispel a few myths about gay men.

Keegan succeeds because he creates characters you want to know better and when you finish reading need to know what happens next. The action adventure plot provides enough conflict and intrigue to put the characters through their paces. Okay it’s a bit far fetched in places, and problems no sooner arise than they’re solved, but who cares when you’re having so much fun? And the important thing anyway is the satisfyingly romantic- and very sexy- relationship between two men, partners for 3 years.

Hunky Alex Conner is a photojournalist for Perspective. Beautiful boyfriend Greg Farris, two years younger, is a writer for the same newsmagazine.

Alex is a transplanted Aussie working in London, passionate about human rights, motivated partly because a gay man knows what it’s like to be victimised and discriminated against.

Despite his boyish dancer’s physique Greg is tough: from a respectable middle class family he was abused then disowned by his homophobic father, forced to survive any way he could. Eventually he fought his way into journalism, filled with anger and inner steel that makes him a dangerous adversary.

Alex & Greg escape grey grim London for the azure Caribbean, a well-earned two weeks sleeping, lazing on a beach, a bit of scuba diving and a lot of shagging!

They’ve been together since Greg met Alex in Port Stanley during the Falklands War in 1982. Scared into commitment by AIDS, both however clear, they’re two halves of a whole bound by love, trust and promises made by choice. Not that they’re never tempted to stray; but there’s no need when the sex just gets better. Each knows the other’s body as well as his own, every kink and pleasure-point. There’s a lot of sex, sensual and very erotic. Alex is quite the romantic with his seafaring fantasies, shades of Dermott & Robin!

When the lovers go diving in Montego Bay and find the wreck of a light plane, complete with dead pilot and no sign of damage, resting on a reef, they disturb a hornet’s nest that shatters their island idyll before it’s hardly begun.

Though used to danger and living on adrenaline, the luck that brought them through war reporting in SE Asia and the Middle East is sorely tested. A day out becomes a near-death experience, beginning an adventure of thrills and spills, including hurricane and bushfire, car/boat chases and sharpshooters.

A millionaire American businessman trafficking in drugs and young boys is implicated in the disappearance of that plane with its cargo of gemstones. Keegan provides good background on Jamaican history and contemporary society, violent and profoundly homophobic.

A light and racy read you won’t be able to put down, this is vintage Keegan.