All Night Long is a smooth read, one that pulled me right along, the flow of the prose, especially the dialogue, even making me forget that I should be taking notes for this review. What better proof could there be of Madelyne Ellis’s skill as a writer?
The plot isn’t particularly complex—Black Halo, a popular metal band, is thrown into confusion mid-concert by the lead singer Xane’s declaration just before he storms away that he’s leaving and the band is breaking up. Soon enough, though, it becomes clear that the survival of the band is really only a sub-plot, and the real action rests in the developing relationship between Ash, the band’s leader, and Ginny, the girl who waylays him in his dressing room, as hundreds of girls have done before. Will Ginny recognize how much more she wants than the single, all night long fuckfest she asks for? Can Ash overcome the wounds of his past and break through the bonds of determined non-commitment? Is there really any question? It doesn’t matter that we’ve seen this sort of set-up over and over again. Ellis knows how to get the maximum mileage out of that familiar scenario, and how to insert the maximum of mind-blowing and often creative sex without being repetitive.
Somehow it all feels believable. Some readers might wish that the heavy metal band setting had a darker tinge, with more gothic moodiness and angst and destructive behavior. I didn’t mind at all that the band members, behind their eyeliner and flamboyant quirkiness, are quite likeable guys. The three of them, deserted by the defector Xane, hide out from ravening fans in Ginny’s scruffy hotel room, so her “all night long” fantasy doesn’t turn out quite the way she envisioned it. But after some playful group sex the other two band members have the decency to remove themselves to the van and the bathtub, respectively, so Ash and Ginny get enough steamy one-on-one time to make them realize that they’re made for each other, however much they try to resist that truth.
Readers who are not particularly turned on by clever word-play and imagery may not savor such phrases as “the event horizon [of orgasm] sped towards him,” and “Water droplets clung to the fishnet strands, so they looked like spider silk hung with raindrops,” the way I do, but they’re not likely to be disappointed, or unmoved, by the sex described. Eroticism drives the whole book, with hints of deeper emotions. This is just as well, since the plot thread about the possible break-up of the band are not resolved at all, which only makes sense when you read the author’s note at the end. It turns out that All Night Long is part of a series, and not intended to stand alone. I found this rather annoying, but in fact I should have noticed that the book’s parenthetical title was Black Halo Unplugged #1 and not been so surprised.No guarantee, but I just may be hooked enough to look for the next two books about these characters (along with the missing singer Xane, and Ginny’s missing roommate Dani, who turn out to be missing together, but not missing much.)