Here's a wonderful review of The Painted Doll from Saskia Walke's blog, The Naughty Lady From Shady Lane:
The other novel I have had the pleasure of reading recently was M. Christian's PAINTED DOLL. Very different, but another absolute treat of a read. Now, this one is not out yet, but I'll be nudging you again when it is. M. Christian got in touch with me to ask if I would blurb one of his forthcoming novels. Gulp. He also said he admired my work. I confess I wondered if he’d sent the mail to the correct person! :) I’ve never been asked to do this before, and whilst M. Christian is a writer who I’ve shared pages with in anthologies before, I’m pretty much in awe of all that he does. His fantasy novel, THE VERY BLOODY MARY'S was a super, gripping, thoroughly entertaining read.
It was a great honour to be asked to blurb a new novel, and I set about the task nervously. Wow! My nervousness was nothing to the sheer uselessness I felt after having read the novel. I don’t know whether my blurb will be used, but I had to give the novel mention. If futuristics are your thing, you really have to watch out for PAINTED DOLL.
PAINTED DOLL is set in an eerie future world -- the type of world that always gets me, where things are both similar to what we know but also not of our experience, so that the vivid images we encounter tease along our perception uneasily. In this future world we encounter the story of The Painted Doll, a woman who works as a dominatrix in order to hide a secret past and her true identity. As the story progresses and The Painted Doll slowly removes the layers of her mask for us, we find out her story and the reasons why she’s had to take on a new identity and hide. I don’t want to say too much and spoil the plot, but The Painted Doll is on the run from some very bad people. Most importantly she has had to leave and hide in order to protect her lesbian lover from those very bad people. The novel is compelling, gritty, erotic, and at its centre lies an intense love story.
M. Christian is an author who straddles genres with apparent ease, as well as writing with literary panache. In this novel (and in his previous works) he plays with the recurring themes of sexuality, gender, and identity, questioning them by setting them at odds with what we know and understand. PAINTED DOLL resonates; it truly is a story that will stay with you.