Richard Marzten thinks he’s getting away with the perfect affair—his wife will never suspect, and he’ll continue his luxurious lifestyle with the addition of afternoon trysts.
But cheaters never prosper, and, in Richard’s case, they may not even live. His lies begin to unravel, and his fling with Gretchen turns from a dream to a nightmare. The man who had it all soon realizes that his foolish foray could cost him everything, and a desperate man is a dangerous man.
Lust, murder, panic, anger…Where will it end?
A trip to the wild side in the great company of a dissatisfied, ad-man with a case of entitlement syndrome. Richard was born poor and raised humble and marries rich. His wife is a bit older than him. He doesn't need to work, but chooses to. There's no real sense of family coming from the triangle of husband, wife and teenage daughter.
Richard is bored and slightly jealous, always hearing about his best friend's liaisons. With consumate skill and art he plots his intended infidelity very carefully. An advert, a careful vetting process (not careful enough) and bingo - the beautiful Gretchen, who apparently wants the same thing he does - "No Strings" sex - is in a hotel bed with him and it's mind-blowing. And it's addictive.
All goes well, until it doesn't. A disturbing phone call and the wheels start to fall off big time.
Richard is not a particularly despicable guy. Yes he's a cheater and more as the novel develops and his safe life unravels, but he kind of had my sympathy to a degree. He's a bit of a chancer, he skates at work until he need to put the effort in and he does. He harbours ambitions to be a writer, but doesn't apply himself. His relationship with his wife has drifted into apathy and complacency, but not quite total indifference. Neither of them make much of an effort with each other. His relationship with his daughter is less.
I liked the risk-taking Richard as he comes alive once he has committed to his venture. When things threaten to fall apart, I liked the ride SaFranko took us on as Richard tries to steer back towards terra firma, making more and more irrational and impulsive decisions along the road. Each one actually taking him further and further from safe shores.
Great fun, exciting and tense, a bit like rubber necking at a car crash, with a cracking ending.
Not that I've ever needed reminding, but if there's a message to take from No Strings - it's Don't be a Dick!
No Strings is my second Mark SaFranko book after enjoying the amazing The Favor back in 2015 - one of my books of the year. Scratching my head as to why it has taken me five years to try something else by him.
Read - September, 2020
Published - 2012
Page count - 201
Source - owned purchased copy
Format - Kindle