Denton Brislow is a pretty average cop - with an above average libido - in an anthropomorphic future Denver. He and his partner are called to investigate the horrific slaying of one of the city’s most influential families and one of their servants.
This may sound like the start to your run-of-the-mill cop action novella, but I assure you, it is not. You see, it comes to be that Denton’s bloodline has ties to Society - an underground religion whose divination consists primarily of… homoerotic sex.
Before reading this book (having been briefed on its content) I feared this plot device would amount to little more than a convenient excuse to introduce an orgy every few pages. The orgies were there, I assure you. But I am happy to report that St-Pierre managed to take the high road and craft a cohesive, believable religion with clearly defined rules, checks and balances. A lot of thought went into the way it manifests itself and how it folds into larger society.
Fair warning. This book is not for the squeamish. It describes bodily fluids a plenty. Sex. Lots of Sex. And then some more sex. There is mention of incest. Denton is reminded of his initiation, which happened whilst he was still a minor. And twice in the novel, he has visions of him having intercourse with the ghost of his own father.
As a counterpoint, he does not agree with all the traditions and rituals of his newfound brotherhood. At times, he is truly disgusted. (You will be too.)
The great irony of this novel - where sex is such an important theme - it is not very sexy. It does not feel pornographic. St-Pierre does not spend a lot of time gushing over the characters’ sexual encounters. Sometimes it is as crude as “...and then we fucked for three hours.” I believe this was done to emphasize the doctrine of Society, that sex is about the transfer of life energy from one vessel to another. Enjoyment thereof being a convenient side-effect. So this is not a big loss to me.
My main criticism of this book, aside from the dubious legality of some of its sexual encounters, is that the “furry” aspect of the book feels more like spice added, rather than a key ingredient to the recipe. This story could easily have worked with human characters. Apart from the occasional mauling, the only benefit of adding tail, paw and claw to the mix would be to soften the unpleasantries - to remind the reader that this is a different society and universe than the one we live in.
Your mileage will vary with “Finding the Line”. You are likely to either love it or hate it. Though it falls flat as a pornographic piece, I will recommend this book based on strong characterization, solid narrative, good flow and the uniqueness of the concept. Recommended. * * * *