Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: TPG Books
Murder touched Stephen Dobbins long before he reached manhood, and it left him drowning in a sea of loneliness and self-doubt. A chance meeting with a young American serviceman gave him the strength to try a relationship and discover love for the first time since his loss.
For eight months his union with Dustin Earl flourished, until the Dustin was forced to travel back to his small Southern town to care for his mentally challenged brother. Shattered by Dustin’s departure, Stephen journeys three thousand miles to rekindle that love, and make a life with Dustin. What he finds, however, is the excesses of a dysfunctional family gone crazy.
This story is not your average feel-good romance, although it has many touching moments. It is a powerful look at love through the looking glass of tragedy. The story is both beautiful and disturbing, and not for the faint of heart.
It is almost entirely told via the character’s dialog and several long flashback sequences, both of which I find tedious in other novels, but the way the author allowed the story to unfold held my interest throughout. The reader finds himself at story’s ending within the first dozen pages, and then spends the rest of the book discovering how he got there as the author skillfully peels back one layer after another.
This novel is well written and adeptly paced. Although the author occasionally dips into eye-rolling melodrama, I found it a captivating read.