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Review: “Blue on Black” by Carole Cummings

25654472Genre: Gay Steampunk

Length: Novel


Bas is a tech tracker, undercover. In his search for a few missing techs, he finds himself in the middle of a thug empire in the desert. Baron Stanslo is hiding more than Bas or the Directorate reckon, and while Bas keeps an eye out for the techs, he discovers a brutal world ruled by a mad man and populated by the oppressed and the bullies who oppress them. Fortunately, he’s skilled enough to become easily accepted into the illusive group; unfortunately, he may not be able to get back out.

Blue on Black by Carole Cummings is one of the best books I’ve read all year. Go read it!  Review done. *wink*

First thing I noticed: The writing was great, like, really super great.

Second thing I noticed: I had no idea what was going on half the time and I loved it. I understood just what I needed to at the time, but I was surprised at every page. There were plot twists and plot twists and plot twists. Holy smokes—trust no one. I also appreciated how the magic system wasn’t completely spelled out for me. By the end I still had questions. I love that.

The third thing I noticed was that the Blue on Black was striking some very familiar vibes, à la Steven King’s Dark Tower series. It wasn’t horror exactly, but it was steampunk, thrilling, terrifying in some respects (fuck spiders), and the plot and people were convoluted and diabolical. The cherry on top was the touch of magical realism.

The characters had their own motivations and acted consistently. I don’t usually reread novels, but there are layers upon layers, and now that I’ve read it, I want to reread it and catch everyone in their lies. Kimo was probably my favorite character, but Bas was was another great one. Both were complex, believable, sexy in unique ways, and interesting. When I was reading this, I imagined the characters as they would be in a graphic novel—I could picture them perfectly. Cummings draws them so well.

I didn’t classify this as a Romance, or erotic (no slash tags), but if you like those things, you won’t be disappointed. Trust me. At the same time, I’d recommend this to someone who doesn’t enjoy Romance, but loves spec fic.

Carole Cummings has a website and a blog: You can find her other works there, and on DSP’s website. I’ll definitely be reading more.


B. A. Brock is a reviewer for DSP and QSF.  He enjoys reading, writing, running, family and food, and fills his life with bent bunk.  He especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature. His website is You can find him on Goodreads:

Dreamspinner Press–Where Dreams Come True… International publishers of quality gay romantic fiction since 2007.

DSP Publications–Off the Beaten Path. Worth the Journey.

Harmony Ink Press–LGBTQ+ Young Adult Fiction.

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