7 With 1 Blow is a BDSM story unlike anything I’ve read before

Caraway Carter (right) and our common friend and fellow author Hunter Frost during an outing last year in San Diego

Caraway Carter (right) and our common friend and fellow author Hunter Frost during an outing last year in San Diego, while we all attended GRL.

Caraway is a friend. We met because we both publish with the same publisher. I put this out there to make sure you know, but also because I will try to not let my knowledge of the man influence my review of the work. Given my recent posts on causa Ferranta I believe that to be a wise cause. Naturally, you also know that I’m no reader of BDSM, nor would I ever even consider to test this on myself (or anyone else for that matter). The mere thought of pain, our causing anyone else pain is so much the opposite of what I consider enjoyable, I’d be out the door before any dom/slave had a chance to react.

Having said that, I’ve had a lot of opportunity to read BDSM, and some of those books have left me with a bitter aftertaste, particularly when it comes to things like rape or – as such authors prefer to call it “non-con”. 7 With 1 Blow is sort of borderline. Let me begin with the blurb:

When Taylor Little, who styles himself “Dom Seven,” is unwillingly taken into custody by the Cadre, he is put between a rock and a hard place. Either he will go to jail for his abuses against the local BDSM community, or he will accept retraining from the bottom up, learning to be a slave before he ever lays a flogger on another human being again.

In this tale of redemption, Taylor must face his demons as he learns to accept his status with mouth, mind, and heart.

The stunningly beautiful cover of 7With 1 Blow. I've adored this cover for months now. The photograph is taken by Australian talent Chris Joel Campbell.

The stunningly beautiful cover of 7 With 1 Blow. I’ve adored this cover for months now. The photograph was taken by Australian photographer Chris Joel Campbell.

Why insert the blurb? I’d hate to give away anything that the author doesn’t want you to know. 7 With 1 Blow is a mixture of suspense, with a touch of BDSM erotica (although nothing even close to some real erotica), along with a story of growth. At times, it reads almost like an introduction to BDSM. And here’s where I will honestly admit that I don’t know enough about the codes and rules of BDSM to say whether Caraway follows common codex or if he plays with the BDSM rules. As an outsider, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about the practice, both why people are attracted to it, something about “reaching subspace”, and I think I understand. I really do, although I am also convinced that I wouldn’t want to do what it takes to get there… LOL For Taylor, I’m glad he gets there in the end.

That is one aspect of the story. I’ll also be honest that when I read the first couple of pages, I felt nothing but regret: regret for having promised Caraway a review, and regret at having ended up with another BDSM novel on my reading list. The beginning is gut-wrenching, it’s a hard read, for very good reasons, and I will honestly admit that I barely got through those pages. I was close to giving up, put it away. But I’m a guy of my word, so I pressed on. I’ll say this: if you don’t like BDSM, this is not a book you’ll pick up. And if you like this sort of novel, you   must read it. The beginning is vital, it sets the stage for what comes, and without giving away anything, just press on. The fact that the beginning is so very difficult to read is also a testament to Caraway’s talent as a writer. The pain the slave feels, becomes so palpable that my muscles twitched and I became nauseous.

As you read on, the tone changes, and as we follow Taylor’s retraining (as it’s framed in the blurb), we are given a very educational insight into the world of BDSM and how it can be practiced, safely and healthily. One of the most amazing and touching aspects of the novel is the absence of long-winded sex scenes. In fact, while sex is mentioned in passing, without making a fuss about it, it’s not a central aspect of the story. Quite the contrary, and I found that extremely refreshing. I can’t even begin to say how tired I am with sex depictions, page after page. We all know how that works. I’m more interested in what’s going on in people’s minds and hearts and Caraway does a masterful job at depicting just that, the inner conflict in Taylor, as he grows, learns and begins to understand the true meaning of BDSM.

The ending? A bit abrupt, a bit quick for my taste. At 46K words, 7 With 1 Blow isn’t quite a novel, but it’s a very long novella. I’ve given much thought whether the story should’ve continued, to fill those 4K to make it a full novel, but I think Carter made the right decision. Why? Well, why don’t you find out for yourself?

7 With 1 Blow is released TODAY, from Beaten Track Publishing and is sold from Amazon and other fine online retailers. Whether you’re into BDSM or just curious about what the fuss is all about, read this amazing story!

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Have a wonderful weekend!


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