Sorry this will be brief. Picked this up on a rec from MandyM, having a hankering for something contemporary, non-kink and just about people. Glad I d...moreSorry this will be brief. Picked this up on a rec from MandyM, having a hankering for something contemporary, non-kink and just about people. Glad I did. This tells the courtship of a couple of guys who could be your neighbors, except they are in the deep South, with all of the sensibilities there, both loving their roots and struggling against them. The story is set against a backdrop of music, bluegrass/roots music, and both protags are musicians. The entire story is well done, with very real people, a perfect amount of conflict and resolution, a perfect mix of protags being both dumb and smart in very human ways. The music story is well-mixed in: I found the references to music business interesting, but that aspect never felt self-conscious (i.e., I never felt 'taught', the info melded seamlessly with the narration).
Ultimately it is a feel-good story (though it does have juicy moments of WtF angsty conflict), but not mushy, not overly sweet or precious (my GR buds probably know I have a low tolerance for this).
Highly rec'd for an easy-going feel-good weekend read.(less)
note: this is not "m/m romance," though there are 'romantic' elements. If you are interested primarily in romances, might as well back-arrow out now....morenote: this is not "m/m romance," though there are 'romantic' elements. If you are interested primarily in romances, might as well back-arrow out now. Having said that:
Whoa. I'm really digging this author. His voice is strong, his writing of a style that just sucks me in, gives me a good shake, and doesn't let me go. This is the second of his books that I've read, and after a short breather (one needs one, to give the dust time to settle, and to think over some of what you've just read), I'm ready for the second part of this title (separate story arc; this one is complete).
This book, like his other, is narrated in 1st person, tight and close. The protagonist, Antony, is a short-fused, chip-on-his-shoulder, mean mother-fucker out and proud gay man in red Texas. His lover is brutally gang-raped and murdered while overnight in a jail on trumped-up charges of rape of a minor. Antony vows to get even and we follow his rage through some pretty ugly shit as he uncovers the extent of what happened. Antony is a hero, but he's a muddy one, maybe a little bit crazy, resulting in a story that is chilling, intelligent, and thoughtful.
To my mind, this wasn't quite as powerful as How to Rape a Straight Guy, but it comes close. I still give it five stars. There were some editorial issues--lead instead of led was prevalent, some others popped up here and there, but they didn't reach critical mass for me. In some respects, the setup was a touch far-fetched for me to summon up a full steam of outrage--but only a touch.
In sum--excellent, especially for those who enjoy strong characterization and moral ambiguity in protags. Dark, but not gratuitously so (IMO--though YMMV). Will certainly keep an eye on this author.(less)