Title: The Man Inside Me
Author: Sean Kerr
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 202 Pages
Category: Historical Romance, Gothic Horror
At a Glance: The Man Inside Me was a 5 star read for me. It is a terrific story fraught with danger, horror, romance and even a bit of well-deserved retribution.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Victorian London is a difficult place to be when you are gay, as Henry and Gabriel know all too well.
When they were young at Oxford University, Henry and Gabriel’s love burned hot and bright, and they thought to change the world together until a devastating tragedy ripped them apart.
Now, as youth fades away, Henry can no longer stand to see his own reflection in the mirror. All he sees is a sad, tired old man whose body has betrayed him. He craves the touch of another, to feel attractive and vital once more but his obsession with finding a cure for insanity has stolen his life away, and now his work has taken on a dark and sinister dimension. How far will he go to recapture the passion of his lost youth?
Gabriel fears that Henry is losing his mind, and when a brutal killer invades their lives, they are thrust into the dark depths of Victorian London in a fight for their very lives.
As their friendship is tested to its limits, Gabriel cannot help but wonder if there is still a chance for love. Can they move beyond the friendship that has spanned over thirty years and find the love that once made their hearts beat as one?
You may never be too old to find love, but will you be able to survive it?
Review: If I had to label this brilliant novel, The Man Inside Me by Sean Kerr, I would say it falls more in the gothic horror genre entwined with a romantic subplot thrown in for good measure. I am almost ashamed to attempt to summarize this incredible story but just to give you an idea of what lies ahead of you, I will try my best to give you a synopsis.
The story centers around two men, now middle aged, who once were lovers in their early college years. Gabriel John Utterson pursued his study of the law while his friend, Henry Jekyll, would go on to become a doctor who studies the mind, specifically to seek a cure for madness. They meet and fall in love, and all is quite well until Henry’s mother remarries the despicable Dr. Lanyon. From there, it is a matter of time before she falls emotionally further and further away from the son she loved. And when tragedy strikes Henry’s life a second time, he becomes consumed with the pursuit of creating a chemical that will soothe the unhinged mind.
As Henry pursues his experiments, he and Utterson remain friends but never again are lovers. Then a mysterious killer appears on the streets of London, and he seems to be targeting the men who recently passed a bill through Parliament that made sodomy a foul crime. None of Utterson’s friends can believe that one of their very own crowd was responsible for presenting the bill for a vote. As the killer continues murdering, Utterson begins to recognize a distinct change in Henry—one that defies logic and sends spirals of fear and horror down Utterson’s spine. Could Henry have something to do with the murder spree? Can John manage to save the man he still loves despite all the lost years between them?
Let me clear one thing up right away so I don’t confuse you: even though the author’s blurb calls Utterson by his first name, Gabriel, nowhere in the story does anyone really use that name. Instead, they use his middle name, John. So, for this review I will be calling Utterson John as well.
John is grappling with the fact that his waistline isn’t as trim as it once was, and his hair is thinning, and that the current political scene makes it even harder for men such as him to really have a fulfilling and meaningful relationship without pubic scandal and retribution. He has always loved Henry, since college days, and when Henry came back after the death of his mother so very changed and emotionally remote, it was terribly hard on both of them. But John knows Henry and while he has attempted to keep his distance from his dear friend, it doesn’t take him long to see that Henry seems to be unraveling.
Henry has such a horrible secret, one that haunts him in both his dreams and his waking hours. His desire for revenge against Dr. Lanyon, who destroyed both of Henry’s parents and got away with it, is like a growing cancer inside his mind. Lanyon runs Bedlam and scoffs at Henry’s ideas about chemically balancing the tortured thinking of those inmates of the infamous hospital. What Lanyon says is gospel and so Henry’s ideas, no matter how steeped in scientific verity, are tossed aside and he is laughed at by his peers.
It’s this point in the story that the real horror aspect of the novel takes hold, and it is one wild ride to the end. The one responsible for the brutal murders is introduced, and he is the stuff of nightmares. It doesn’t help that there is something so charismatic and sensual about the man—something that easily lures in not only his next victim but, eventually, John as well. It will take all of John’s strength and his love for Henry to save them both.
From the well-crafted horror scenes to the deep grain of romance and love that runs throughout this novel, I really cannot find fault with any aspect of this book. The language is that of the day and yet, rather than feel stilted or difficult to grasp, the dialogue was rich and passionate. Historical fiction is often a challenge to connect with emotionally, but not so with Sean Kerr’s work. Mr. Kerr draws the reader into his fascinating tale and makes them more than a spectator, instead creating a relationship between reader and written page that keeps one entertained.
The Man Inside Me is a terrific story fraught with danger, horror, romance and even a bit of well-deserved retribution. But most importantly it’s a rescue mission, one borne out of love and long-lasting friendship, and that is perhaps the most satisfying aspect of this novel, overall. This was a five star read for me, and I hope you will delve into the mesmerizing imagination of author Sean Kerr and this incredible book.
You can buy The Man Inside Me here:
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