Saturday, October 25, 2008

Island Song by Alan Chin

Story discription by Alan Chin
Reviewed by Bryl Tyne

Two years after the death of his lover, Garrett Davidson sits in a Hawaiian beach shack, staring out over the vast empty Pacific. He has nothing left. Despair has robbed him of his elegant home, his lucrative job and his sanity. The single thread holding him to reality is the story he has come here to write—Marc’s story, the story of his lost love.
Then Songoree, a local surfer, breezes into his life, and as he attempts to heal Garrett's spirit, they become entwined in a touching, yet dangerous relationship. But Songoree’s kahuna grandfather has plans for Garrett, and when a clash of wills erupts between grandfather, grandson, and hostile islanders bent on destroying the connection between Garrett and Song, Garrett is caught in the middle, fighting for his life and plunging headlong to a moment that will brutally test the boundaries of the human spirit.

Bryl's review:
I recommend this novel to anyone searching for a deeper meaning to life and love

Although marketed as paranormal gay romance, this book is SO MUCH MORE! Island Song is full of page turning, artfully depicted adventures and involves many touching issues that could make the toughest of hearts weep.

However, erotic - Island Song is not. I found the love scenes tastefully written. Without adding the "gag" of purple prose, the scenes were descriptive enough to visualize while bearing just the right amount of enticing sensuality.

Don't get me wrong, the romance between Garrett and Songoree is one of the most beautifully mastered tales of male love that I have ever read. Let me share with you one example...While reading through a scene where something as innocent as a shoulder massage that Songoree, out of concern, administers to Garrett, I found myself blinking back the tears.

Alan Chin's writing is breathtakingly descriptive, and yet his vivid scenes and accurate scenarios, his multifaceted character depictions, and the overall movement throughout the book was never tedious. I picked Island Song up, and four and a half hours later, closed it feeling as if I had taken the deepest breath of fresh air imaginable.

This book was expertly crafted, and I can't wait to see more from this new author.

Spine Intact, Some Creases by Victor Banis

Reviewed by Ruth Sims

As important as this book is (not to mention just plain fun to read) I'm surprised there isn't a raft of reviews. Yes, it's a little pricey and I'm as cheap as the next person. But this one, trust me, is worth the money. Victor Banis was a hero who didn't set out to be, and doesn't even claim the title. But he is.

I love good fiction, but I've always been partial to nonfiction, especially biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. I've read good, bad, and ick. There are many reasons to praise this book, not least of them is that Banis was a pioneer in gay writing at a time when that was a hazardous thing to be, an openly gay man before Stonewall, a time when there were no gay pride parades and gay pride itself was almost unthinkable. Homosexual characters in fiction were required to be miserable, self-hating, and preferably suicidal.

Well, somebody forgot to tell Victor Banis that he couldn't create cheerful, brave, happy gay characters. So he did. If you've never read any of The Man From C.A.M.P. books you should. Banis was young when he wrote them and they are a trip. They're fall-down funny, and the indomitable hero, Jackie, makes Batman look like a wuss (although in appearance he may be closer to Robin). Banis is a writer who clearly delights in what he does and who he is. A master of the written word, he has written 150 books that he can remember and others he has forgotten, under various names, in a career that stretches across nearly fifty years. He knew everybody. He even talked to Hef inside the Playboy mansion, of all places for a gay boy to find himself. Jackie, of C.A.M.P., would have made the most of it.

Spine Intact is a difficult book to write about simply because of its scope. It encompasses a tremendous amount of political history regarding publishing, censorship, gay people, homophobia, and more. Banis was subjected to spying by the government, and during his writing and publishing years he had the Sword of Damocles hanging over his head in the form of possible arrest, prosecution, and jail time. He saw the McCarthy Era as it happened. He had packages and letters opened by the Post Office. Yet through it all, the reader doesn't get the feeling of someone who is frightened, bitter, angry, or full of "why-me". He may very well have been all of those things from time to time; he would hardly have been human if he hadn't. But Victor Banis is quite possibly the most balanced (he would probably say, with a laugh, that he's unbalanced) individual around. Banis has become an icon without intending to be, and any author who writes books with gay characters and every reader who reads them, owes Banis and people like him. They took the lumps and the risks, and defended free speech.

Spine Intact has humor, wit, gossip (but not the malicious kind), history, and compassion. He tells stories of a family that lived in poverty in every way except that of spirit. In fact, when you read about the Banis family you feel that you may be reading about the richest family on earth. They're not a group of Pollyannas and they had their ups, downs, and tragedies but they had each other. There's a delightful story of him and his mother in a bookstore, with his mom calling out the titles of books ("Here's Lesbians On Parade." Is that one of yours?") to the sound of dropping jaws. He doubts she even knew what a lesbian was. I fell in love with Mother Banis at that moment.

There is so much in this book that a complete review would be as long as Les Miserables. My only complaint, and it's not really a complaint but just an observation, is that it should have been two separate books, one dealing with the his autobiographical material and gay history aspect, which were so intertwined, and the other with his sprightly comments on writing and the world, comments that are pithy and wise. It's hard to say if he is amused or bemused by life. Both, I think.

Just as an example of the comments and of his breezy, reader-friendly way of writing, I hope he and his publisher will indulge me in quoting a couple of my favorite lines (there are so many!) "...regret [is] just another...way of flagellating oneself. ... If you like yourself what is there to regret?" (page 326) On supposed Biblical condemnation of homosexuality: " I just know some are dusting off their Sodom and Gomorrah mantelpiece villages at this very moment."(page 342) In the last chapter, writing about not worrying about offending someone because you're going to, sooner or later (he says it much better than that and throws in a great quote from Winston Churchill's wife) he ends by saying "...serve the cheese balls anyway. Someone will love them." (page 358). Trust me. There's a story behind that!

Deadly Vision By Rick Reed

Reviewed by Lori L. Lake for the Midwest Book Review

Cass D’Angelo lives a regular life in small town, Ohio, with her seven-year-old son, Max. She works at a popular diner and has little unusual going on in her life except, initially, the lack of a girlfriend. Her whole life changes, however, after being struck on the head during a storm. When she wakes up in the hospital, she discovers that she’s acquired psychic powers, specifically the ability to visualize the grisly deaths of local girls who have recently begun disappearing.

The killers are an insane, but handsome, psychopath and his smitten and spectacularly confused girlfriend. We find out very quickly that they worship a devil-like entity, “The Beast,” and when they discover that Cass has directed the police to unearth one of their victims, they go after her and her family.

Like Charlaine Harris’s Harper Connelly character, Cass D’Angelo is a psychic character who’s fascinating to read about. She’s thoughtful, smart, and capable. Unlike Harris’s character, who travels around to use her gift, Cass is mostly happy and settled in her Ohio home and committed to family, friends, and her community. That makes her deadly visions and horror over the sick murders even more palpable. Everyone is at risk, even her own son.

Reed gives us alternate chapters from the perspective of the twisted killer’s girlfriend and of our increasingly-stressed heroine. His secondary characters, particularly Cass’s mother and Cass’s journalist girlfriend, are lively, interesting, and essential. His use of tone, pacing, and atmosphere is masterful. A natural born storyteller, this author does an excellent job showing Cass’s increasing panic in the face of the killers’ single-minded murderous intent. With every page, the reader’s tension level rises until the wild climax. At times graphic, always descriptive, and endlessly suspenseful, this novel takes you on a rocky ride through horror and anxiety. Will the killers be thwarted? Will Cass live to see another vision? Will she lose the one she loves the most?

Highly recommended for all who enjoy heart-pounding suspense, horror, and good old-fashioned fright within an expertly constructed narrative.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Man Oh Man! Writing M/M Fiction for Kinks & Cash by Josh Lanyon

Review by Vincent Diamond

Kinks and cash? Who wouldn't be tempted with a juicy title like that? With this intriguing title nibble, author Josh Lanyon, entices readers to dig further into this smorgasboard of writing about male/male fiction, erotica, and romance. A multi-published author himself, Lanyon has the publishing experience and awards to author a how-to guide on appealing to the male/male market.

Lanyon makes the distinction early on that male/male stories are different than gay fiction. "In M/M fiction, the romance is the foundation." He emphasizes that even a genre story such as mystery, thriller or paranormal, must have the appropriate genre elements plus the romantic elements that focus on a male/male relationship (which may or may not include traditional romance elements such as Happily Ever After). In traditional gay fiction, the emotional elements of relationships are often glossed over and are not the focus of the story.

The reason for this romantic emphasis is the nature of the male/male market: women. Yes, gay male readers are beginning to discover—and enjoy-- these stories, but the vast majority of publishers in this genre readily admit that most of their customers are women. Women enjoy stories without the "baggage" of main female characters; they want exciting stories with adventurous action; and they want hot sex scenes with two men. Sex scenes that don't include women.

Lanyon traces the history of male/male fiction to its roots in fanfiction (stories written in an already created universe such as Star Trek and The Sentinel). Written almost entirely by and for women, a substantial number of male/male authors have made the transition from fanfiction to professional publishing. And they've taken with them the recipes for cooking up a best-selling story: characters that readers care about, dramatic scenes with clear settings, and sex scenes that both serve the story and arouse the reader.

Lanyon quotes a number of publishing professionals throughout the book, letting their comments add distinctive flavor to the points he's making. (And a few appear to mis-step; one editor for a New York print publishing house makes statements that show a clear lack of understanding of the totality of the male/male market, dismissing women as readers entirely). The e-publishers readily embraced male/male fiction, and editors from Amber Quill, Aspen Mountain Press, Loose Id, Samhain Publishing, Torquere Press, and others discuss what storylines work, what submissions catch their eye, and how quickly the market changes. MLR (Man Love Romance) Press founder Laura Baumbach has terrific insights into the ever-evolving market for readers and authors.

With chapters on topics such as characterization, pacing, dialogue, and setting, a reader skimming the Table of Contents might mistake this for the same-old, how-to-write-good tomes of the past. But Lanyon's nitty-gritty details on these topics, and their application to male/male writing is the real meat of the book. By using examples from his own writing and others, Lanyon is able to point out exactly why or why not writing works. (Clunky blocking, un-necessary adjectives, boring physical beats). Even better, Lanyon edits on the page several writing samples to show readers how to maintain POV, how to block action scenes, how to cut bland words, and how to incorporate the crucial elements of male/male fiction.

He generously provides some real-world samples of an outline, synopsis, and query letter for his book The Hell You Say. Seeing the actual words on the page along with Lanyon's advice on pinning down a storyline is invaluble. For readers who are new to publishing, the resources section include listings of contests and publishers that are open to male/male fiction. Chapters are laid out in a logical order, and the overall design is easy to follow. Major points are often in a call-out text box or bolded for emphasis.

Even if you don't write male/male fiction, anyone writing erotica, GLBT fiction, romance or other genres will get a satisfying meal out of this. More than a how-to genre book, Lanyon's advice on writing is universal—and tasty.

Hard Hats by Neil S. Plakcy

An erotica anthology, including an introduction and story by Neil S. Plakcy

Review by Vincent Diamond

Cleis Press continues their series of erotica anthologies based on male archetypes with this installment on construction workers: Hard Hats. (Cowboys, Truckers, Cops—are they running through the Village People? Will we be seeing Native American Hotties someday soon?)

Editor Neil Plakcy worked on construction sites himself, and, as he says in his Introduction, "From the shirtless carpenters to the beefy laborers, there was plenty of guy candy." Some of the stories here are just that: guy candy with a little scenery stuck in to make it work for this theme. Twenty-one stories are in this collection, and they generate a lot of heat and sweat—for the characters and for the reader. Better though, several of the stories really delve into the concept, and authors have come up with some interesting takes on the building trades.

Rob Rosen's "Hammered and Nailed" is a fun start to the collection. When a new condo owner takes possession of his place, he christens his home with a jerk-off session that includes a tradesman's hammer. When the hammer's owner shows up to finish some carpentry, smut ensues. Raw and rocket fast, the story zips right along.

"Fantasy Man" by Aaron Michaels is one of the longer stories in the book; it has a set-up that shows a character looking for action then finding it at the construction site across from his office building. Smoothly written, with some fun language, this story is one of the stand-outs in the collection.

Plakcy contributes his own "Daniel in the Lyons Den." When site foreman Joe Lyons takes an unexpected fall in a thunderstorm, the assistant building manager (hired only because he knew Microsoft Project- a nice, humorous touch) saves him from drowning. From there, it's only a few short steps to Lyons' site trailer, a hot shower, and some even hotter sex. With his astonishingly foul mouth, Lyons is probably based on a real foreman—somewhere. Construction sites aren't know for having especially erudite and articulate men so this touch of realism from Plakcy is humorous and real.

"Vertigo" from A. Steele is another stand-out. Conrad Wilcox is afraid of heights, and when his new office is under construction, he's forced (kind of) to face his fears. Steele has a deft touch with dialogue, and the action is both realistic and tense. Conrad's lover literally fucks him into the air; it's un-nerving and sexy to read about it.

The end story, "Sandhogs" gives readers a nice glimpse into the life of a miner. Set in the claustrophic world of the underground, a classic older man/younger man scenario plays out from beneath tons of rock and earth and steel. Author Kiernan Kelly has a nice touch with acknowledging the real fear and unease that must be a genuine part of the working world.

If you're looking for an evening's read that will give you a happy ending, this book is for you. If you're looking for a glimpse into the variety of trades that make up much of the blue-collar world, Hard Hats does that, too. But mostly, if you want some vivid description of man-on-man sex, hard bodies, and hunky construction workers, this is the book to choose.

STAIN OF THE BERRY by Anthony Bidulka

Reviewed by Neil S. Plakcy
In Stain of the Berry, his fourth Russell Quant mystery, Canadian author Anthony Bidulka demonstrates a sure hand with character, plot and setting. Quant, a gay private investigator based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is awakened one night by a phone call from a frightened young woman. “He won’t leave me alone,” she says. “He wants to hurt me.”

Before he can help, though, the phone goes dead. Only later does he realize that the young woman, Tanya Culinare, committed suicide shortly after the call. Hired by her parents and brother, Quant tries to understand who or what tormented her so that she was forced to leap from her apartment balcony to her death.

In each of his previous books, the Lambda-award-winning Bidulka has taken his sleuth to exotic locales, and in Stain of the Berry a secondary plot, concerning Russell’s missing neighbor, Sereena Orion Smith, takes the intrepid sleuth to Canada’s far north. This jaunt, tied into Russell’s trepidation at approaching his thirty-fifth birthday, combines with the question of what has happened to Tanya and her friends to make a very enjoyable read. *****

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Angel Singers by Dorien Grey

Reviewed by Rob (paddyofurniture)

It is certainly hard for me to believe that The Angel Singers is the twelfth book in the Dick Hardesty mystery series. It doesn’t seem that long ago that The Butcher’s Son kicked off this wonderful series with a tale of arson and mayhem, and introduced us to one of the most endearing, not to mention enduring gay investigators, Dick Hardesty.

The Angel Singers takes us into the world of a gay men’s chorus (and by the way gives quite good information and insight into that particularly fascinating world) and introduces us to a particulary nasty man named Grant Jefferson who happens to be sponsored by one of the choral group’s benefactors. It is not long however until Grant is scattered far and wide by a car bomb which lets the reader know there was some serious dislike for Mister Jefferson. Due to his nastiness there is no shortage of suspects for Dick to sift through on the way to revealing the somewhat surprising solution of this murder.

However as entertaining as the solving of the crime is, it is in making the characters come to life that Grey really shines. Just like an elegant merlot chablais, this series has gotten better with time and age, each novel seeming to improve on the last to create a rich tapestry of not only Hardesty’s professional life, but also his home life. Dick, Jonathan and the adorable Joshua are characters we have come to love and to really care about, and I find the home and family life is every bit as entertaining as the mystery. Grey is a master at writing tongue-in-cheek wit, and there is plenty of that to be found in The Angel Singers.

If you already love the Dick Hardesty series, as I do, you will love this one too, and if you have never read a Dick Hardesty book (and shame on you if you have not) this is as good as any of them as a place to start.

Voyeur by Jon Michaelsen

From loveyoudivine Alterotica's His and His Kisses Anthology - MEN
Reviewed by AJ Llewellyn for Dark Diva Reviews
Kevin enjoys gardening on the balcony of his high-rise. When he notices a chiseled Adonis staring out the window of the penthouse across the street, the sunlight cascading down the man’s naked torso, he’s mesmerized. What begins as innocent glances soon spirals into an obsession that changes his life forever.

Kevin has an obsession; one that involves the muscular Adonis in the penthouse adjacent to his high-rise condominium. He’s told no one, not even Alice, his best friend at the office of his fascination. He purchases binoculars, adds a camera with zoom lens and spirals into the depths of voyeurism before devising a plan to finally meet the man of his dreams. An evening of easy conversation and lustful glances ends far too soon, but not before Tony plants the most amazing kiss ever on Kevin’s lips, leaving him yearning for more.

When Tony shows up at Kevin’s apartment the next night all bloody and bruised, Kevin offers him instant refuge…and his bed. But not all is what it seems. Police burst into Kevin’s home, searching for the killer of a man in the penthouse across the street—Tony’s so-called partner.
Will Kevin’s pleas of innocence save him from this horrible turn of events?


Kevin Mitchell has a neat, orderly existence with his high rise condo, his balcony garden and his investment clients. An accountant with a deadline looming, he finds himself increasingly drawn to the man living in the building opposite him. Knowing nothing about him, Kevin enjoys staring at him but fascination with the handsome stranger quickly turns to obsession, distracting him from his real world. Buying cameras and binoculars, spying becomes his full time occupation. Finally meeting the man, whose name is Tony, Kevin becomes embroiled in a white-hot love affair with him…but is there more to Tony than meets the…er, eye?

Jon Michaelsen does an excellent job of building up the tension of lonely Kevin’s increasing obsession with the hot and sexy Tony. At every turning page, the reader worries that the scrutinized stranger will catch him, at the same time feeling it’s all a bit…creepy. The theme of one neighbor spying on another and becoming obsessed is well traversed fiction – but the gorgeous, evocative prose Michaelsen uses to describe Kevin’s reawakened senses, not to mention the scorching sex scenes and the surprising plot twists make this compelling, refreshing reading.

Rated Five Delightful Divas by AJ Llewellyn: A Recommended Read

L.A. HEAT by P.A. Brown

Reviewed by Niel S. Plakcy

Chris Bellamere seems to live a charmed life in the City of Angels. Blond and handsome, he’s a well-paid computer engineer, living in a luxurious home and tricking with a different sexy guy each night. But darkness lurks even in the sunny environs of LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood.
LA homicide detective David Eric Laine couldn’t be more different. A beefy, hairy bear, deeply closeted, he lives in a crappy house and suffers the homophobic comments of his partner and other officers in silence.

A serial killer brings these two men together—and ultimately into each other’s arms. In P.A. Brown’s debut mystery, L.A. Heat, Detective Laine and his partner are chasing a man they’ve come to call The Carpet Killer, who kidnaps gay men, tortures them, kills them, then wraps them in carpeting for disposal.

This is not the sun-drenched LA of the movies. It’s a workaday vision of this complicated city, from the side streets of Beverly Hills to the deeply wooded canyons where evil lurks. Against his judgment, David finds himself falling in love with Chris, though all clues seem to point to Chris as the killer.

All David’s strength of will must transfer from maintaining his place in the closet to believing that Chris is not the killer himself, but instead the killer’s target. Chris brings his considerable computer talents into play as he seeks information on a former trick, now dead. “While the crackers and the decrypters ran against the database he refreshed his coffee one more time… In another ten minutes his zombie machine registered success. He was in.”
L.A. Heat is not so much a mystery as a thriller, though the clues don’t all come together for our intrepid detectives until the heart-stopping conclusion.

This is a strong new entry in the narrow niche of gay male mystery, and I hope the future brings more adventures for this sexy pair.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Orientation by Rick R. Reed

Reviewed by Tyler R. Tichelaar

Orientation is surprisingly different from Rick R. Reed's previous highly suspenseful novels such as "IM" and "High Risk." Most of his books feature very dysfunctional villains whom the plot circles around. While "Orientation" includes the character of Ethan, who is a frightening yet somewhat inadequate villain, the novel's real focus is on love rather than suspense or terror.

Robert and Keith were lovers whose relationship lasted only a short time before Keith died of AIDS at Christmas 1983. Robert cared for Keith until the end, and Keith, who was financially well-off from writing popular children's books, left Robert with enough money to be comfortable the rest of his life. In the years that follow, Robert has had several lovers, but none ever compared to Keith. Robert, now well into his forties, is living with Ethan, who is two decades younger. While their relationship was hot at the start, they have started to grow apart. Robert even suspects Ethan of cheating on him when Ethan makes excuses for why they cannot spend Christmas together. Alone on Christmas, Robert goes for a walk along the beach. He soon meets, Jess, a young woman who is contemplating drowning herself in Lake Michigan because her girlfriend, Ramona, left her. Robert convinces Jess to come home with him, and then a strange series of coincidences and dreams make Robert and Jess believe she may be Keith reincarnated. To substantiate the possibility, Jess was born the same day Keith died. Robert, tired of Ethan's antics, begins contemplating a relationship with Jess. Little does Robert know that Ethan also wants out of their relationship, but in a far more drastic way. Will Robert end up with Jess? Is Jess really Keith reincarnated? And if so, can a gay man love a lesbian woman?

Rick R. Reed puts his characters in a difficult situation. The concept of reincarnation and two lovers meeting again is not completely original in fiction, but Reed has done his research—he mentions the real life story of Bridey Murphy's claim to reincarnation, and he adds a gay twist to the reincarnation plot. I was also reminded of the more disturbing scenes in the Nicole Kidman film, "Birth," where a child was Kidman's reincarnated husband.

While Reed explored paranormal possibilities, I appreciated the realistic ending. Fans of Reed's novels will be entertained by Ethan's attractive villain role—I actually found him the most interesting character in the book—but readers will also note a different tone to this book which suggests Reed is seeking to express himself in new ways, pushing against the limits of his genre just enough not to lose his faithful readership, yet to explore deeper questions, not simply about being gay, but about what it is to love someone.

"Orientation" is not my favorite of Rick R. Reed's novels, and I think the end is a bit contrived to reflect the suspense ending his fans would expect, but I appreciate his effort to push the genre's boundaries. I will be interested to see if he continues to look deeper into his characters' emotions beyond the fear, lust, and anger that motivated his previous villains. I also enjoy the paranormal possibilities he only slightly experimented with in "Deadly Vision" and now in "Orientation." I would like to see him focus more on the paranormal in his future novels.

THE HELL YOU SAY by Josh Lanyon

Reviewed by Neil S. Plakcy
The Hell You Say, Josh Lanyon’s third mystery in the Adrien English series, gets off to a fast start with a phone call to Adrien’s mystery bookstore, Cloak and Dagger Books in Pasadena. His clerk, Angus, has been hanging out with a group of fellow UCLA students who’ve delved a little too deep into Satanism, and someone’s calling the store to put a deadly hex on Angus.

Author of a series about a gay Shakespearean actor who’s also an amateur sleuth, Adrien is also, in a twist of fate known only to mystery writers, an amateur detective himself. Trying to help his clerk, Adrien finds himself getting caught up in a world of curses, demons, and murder.
In the great tradition of amateur sleuths everywhere, Adrien has a connection to the police force, and in his case it’s his sometime boyfriend, Jake Riordan. Why only sometime? The deeply closeted Jake also has a girlfriend, and only a few people are privy to his occasional desire for man-on-man love. Adrien must contend not only with inverted pentagrams painted on his doorstep, but also with his lover’s fervent attempts to keep him out of the case—to keep their relationship from going public.

Adrien’s life is filled with interesting, humorous characters, from the mousy new clerk who might just be a Wiccan to the daughters of his mother’s new beau, who greet him in “a butterfly swarm of scented breasts and long legs and silky hair.” The fast-paced plot keeps things moving along smartly, joining the Christmas season with the Witches’ Sabbat of Yule and Adrien’s mother’s impending nuptials.

Though this is the third in the series, you don’t need to have read the first two to enjoy this—you just need a taste for a witty, page-turning mystery.

The Angel Singers by Dorien Grey

Reviewed by Drew Hunt
Nothing requires more harmony than a chorus, but when an eager Jonathan Quinlan joins his local gay men's chorus, his PI partner Dick Hardesty becomes immersed in a seething cauldron of conflicting egos, power struggles, rumors, gossip...and murder.
When a protege of the wealthy chorus sponsor get blown up, Dick is hired to find out if anyone from the chorus was involved. As is all too often the case, there at first seems to be too many suspects, and then another man is killed in an apparent mugging. Or was it?

This is the twelfth, and most explosive, Dick Hardesty story.

In some ways I was quite relieved when Grant died. He was, to put no finer point on it, a bastard. And he isn't the only bastard to meet his end during the unwinding of this complex tale.

It's difficult to talk about the gripping main mystery plot without spoiling it for the reader. Suffice to say, Dick's loved ones are put in grave peril because of it. His investigations also bring him back in contact with the delightful Iris and Arnold Glick. Alas we saw little of his friends, Jared, Jake, Phil and Tim.

Dick's personal life continues to enthrall. Joshua is a delight. He's a typical five-year-old kid. By which I mean, he's moody, melodramatic and messy, but still loveable. Grey does an awesome job in writing about life with a pre-schooler.

Jonathan. What can I say about this guy that I've not said before? He has grown from the innocent and naïve man who first appeared in Dick's life several stories back. His increased maturity is natural and believable. However, there still remains an essence of trustfulness and a willingness to try to find good in everyone he meets. The closing of the story had me blinking away tears at just how true this last statement is.

GWR Fiction Reviews doesn't have a recommended read award, but if it did, I would definitely nominate this story.