Review: Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey

Book Cover of Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey

This is part of my series of reviews of asexually-themed fiction from Dreamspinner Press.

What is this story about?

The protagonist, Ollie, is a successful model who has just bought a house in Pacific Heights where he can live with his brother, who is a private investigator. The very day that he buys the house, his brother dies. Therefore, Ollie gives up modeling so he can keep his brother’s PI business going. A year later, he meets again his brother’s buddy, Kade, and together they end up investigating a bizarre pornographic reality TV show where the contestants keep on having mysterious ‘accidents’.

What kind of sexual and/or violent content is there, if any?

There is so much that am probably going to miss something, but what does come to mind is: quite a few detailed sex scenes, a pornographic reality TV show, mention of suicide, multiple murders and attempted murders, and … yeah, I think that paints a picture. IIRC, all of the sex is consensual, but sometimes happens under shitty circumstances.

Tell me more about this novel.

It is a male/male romance mixed with a detective story. It’s the exact kind of M/M which I do not like – detailed sex scenes, and I really did not give a damn if Ollie and Kade got together, so the romance was pretty boring. It seems the only ‘obstacle’ to their romance is that Ollie does not believe that Kade will commit to him, just as his ex-boyfriend Jacob broke his commitment to Ollie. And it did not feel like much of an obstacle. It did not help that Kade is an idealized ‘lover’ character – I prefer my romances to involve clearly flawed characters.

I admit that I actually found the porn reality TV show Sex House interesting. For a while, I was interested in whodunit. During the course of the story, I lost interest, and I found the ultimate reveal unsatisfying because it was too predictable (and because the perpetrator was such a two-dimensional villain).

It was interesting to read a story set in San Francisco/Oakland when I am thousands of miles away. Alas, not much of the setting was used. And between the time I started this novel and finished this novel, the warehouse fire in Oakland happened.

Asexuality?

On the asexuality content scale (1 = least asexual content, 10 = most asexual content) I would rate this story as a 2.

Ollie is demisexual. The word ‘demisexual’ is never used in the story, but Ollie’s descriptions of his experiences fit with demisexuality. I think the first hint we get of this is in Chapter 4:

Jacob had viewed sex as something that felt good and should be had as often as possible, apparently with whoever offered. I needed a deeper connection to let anyone that close. Trust of some kind had to be established before I got into bed with anyone.

It is stated that, in spite of being a model, Ollie has only had sex with a few people in his life because he does not become sexually interested in people before he’s established an emotional bond with them.

The reason I rate this as a 2 rather than a 1 is that demisexuality seems to contribute to Ollie’s insecurity in his relationship with Kade. However, it seems that demisexuality is only deepening a trust issue which would have existed even if Ollie were not demisexual, rather than being the actual cause of the trust issue.

Was this written by an asexual?

Yes, Lissa Kasey is asexual.

Hey Sara, do you like this story?

No, I don’t. Then again I generally do not care for the M/M genre (and as I read more M/M, I am coming to the conclusion that it is not so much because it is M/M, as that many readers who read M/M are seeking something which does not interest me), nor do I care for detective stories, so this story was fighting an uphill battle to appeal to me. People who love M/M and detective stories will almost certainly enjoy it more than I did.

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3 thoughts on “Review: Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey

  1. Pingback: Reviewing Asexual Fiction from Dreamspinner Press | The Notes Which Do Not Fit

  2. Given that I’ve written quite a bit of M/M myself, both original and fanfic … I understand what you mean. I actually feel a bit of a disconnect with most of the M/M romance community (which consists primarily of heterosexual women), because readers seem to seek stuff that I can neither provide nor find particularly interesting to read or write about.
    Like they’re “Whee gay marriage! Cute!” and I’m like, “yeah, it’s nice, sure, but, yanno, respectability politics?”

    • I generally try tot keep my fanfiction activity separate from this blog but … I will admit that *I* have written an M/M fanfic novel. In that case, it was a canon M/M pairing, and it was a fanfic in which I was (mostly) sticking with canon pairings. The M/M relationship was really a subplot, albeit a subplot which had huge ramifications for the main plot.

      But yes, most people who write M/M fanfic do not do it to remain consistent with canon.

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