At 70 pages, Book 1 of Secrets of the Elusive Lover by Mike Wells is a quick, easy read which I finished in under an hour. Wells’ writing style is clean and crisp and I found Elusive Lover a well-written short story with snappy dialogue and fascinating astrology information. Wells is a prolific author with fifteen books under his belt, all highly regarded among his readers. This one is no different.
We meet the anti-hero, Adam, lying in wait for his next “mark” as the book begins. Independently wealthy (sort of), Adam spends his days honing his new age skills of Tarot Card reading and astrological chart interpretation. When he’s not perfecting these skills, he’s using them to pick-up women, ideally between the age of 18 and 24. His latest conquest-in-the-making is Bethany, a nineteen year-old college student half his age.
Certainly the intent of the author, Adam is completely unlikable. At best he’s a misogynist, at his worst he’s downright creepy. He seems to have no remorse for the deceitfully despicable ways he uses to lure women into his bed and keep them there until he tires of them. The lengths he goes to in order to keep the women a secret from each other is borderline sociopathic (including a laminated pocket list of steps to clean the house of one woman’s presence before another enters his lair). Eventually we learn that Adam was dumped by three separate women. He sees these rejections and the “forced” monogamy that accompanied the relationships as excuse for his current lifestyle.
Bethany unwillingly falls into Adam’s web of deceit after a well-planned meeting in the local bookstore. Wells does a fantastic job of capturing the essence of a fairly typical undergrad. His depictions of Bethany’s roommate struggles, time spent studying, and her insecurities focused on not fitting in were so reminiscent of my college days that I could easily visualize who Bethany was and fell in love with her as easily as I came to detest Adam. Adam seemingly recognizes her worth as well as she unwittingly sets off a path of self-destruction in Adam as he finds himself caring for her. There is a promise of intense character growth from Adam, which unfortunately the reader won’t see unless they buy the Book 1 & 2 compilation of Secrets of the Elusive Lover. As Book 1 was a freebie, this shouldn’t be much of a hardship for anyone interested in Adam and Bethany’s story.