Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dance Your Way to Psychic Sex

Dance Your Way to Psychic Sex
by Alice Turing & Francis Blake, Illustrator

(Chutzpah Publishing / 0-956-65660-9 / 978-0-956-65660-5 / September 2010 / 420 pages / Amazon UK 20 Pounds Sterling)

Reviewed by Dianne Salerni for PODBRAM

We easily believe what we ardently desire to be true.

This is the tagline for Alice Turing’s novel, Dance Your Way to Psychic Sex, which tells the story of a book (called That Book) and a New Age movement called Psychic Dancing that takes Great Britain by storm. Leo, a mentalist by profession, knows it’s a scam. It has to be a scam, and he’s both envious and contemptuous of whoever thought it up first. Henrietta also thinks it’s a scam, because Henrietta knows all about brainwashing – and she really doesn’t want to experience that again. Yet, both Leo and Henrietta find themselves sucked into the Psychic Dancing uproar because Belle and Denzel believe it whole-heartedly. And Henrietta loves Belle. But Belle loves Leo. And Leo doesn’t want to believe he’s fallen in love with quirky Denzel, but Denzel won’t have sex with him until Leo admits he’s gay.

I was expecting a humorous romp from this book, and perhaps an exploration of belief, desire, and illusion, explored through a bizarre psychic hoax that might turn out to be real. From the description on the cover, I thought the romantic quadrangle would involve the farcical nonsense of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. While it started out this way, I wasn’t sure what to make of it halfway through. The tangled love story is more raw and painful than humorous, and my growing dislike for Leo and Belle throughout the book made it hard for me to root for them ending up with fragile Henrietta and sweet but weird Denzel. There were lengthy internal monologues and scenes that didn’t move the plot forward. I know the current fashion in dialogue tags is to use only says (if anything) – but for me, it drained the life and rhythm from the dialogue scenes. This is, of course, only a personal preference.

The writing is technically without fault, and the book has a quality look and feel. The cover design may not be the final version, since I have an ARC, but it’s colorful and interesting. The editing is clean, and wide margins make the pages easy to read. There are some great lines in here – including some particular (but crude) advice from Denzel that I’ll probably never forget. The overall premise is intriguing, but the execution did not win me over.

Editor's Note: The cover shown here is the final cover. The reviewer had a pre-release copy. This book is currently available only from Amazon UK or directly from the author. See her website for details.

See also: Alice Turing's Unusual Website
Another Review of the Book