Talker (Talker #1)

Title: Talker (Talker #1)
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link:
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella (96 PDF pages)
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5



Summary Review: A  story that will move you and make your heart ache for Tate, a damaged and broken man, and Brian who made him whole.


Tate “Talker” Walker has spent most of his life hiding his scars under a bright punk facade, and until he sat next to Brian Cooper on a bus, it worked. But Brian has spent his whole life being the invisible man, and he’s used to looking below the surface. What he sees in Talker is a fragile and lovable human being.

Brian is outwardly straight, but Talker is desperate for love, and when Talker’s behavior leads to some painful consequences, Brian is forced to come out of his closet—in dramatic fashion. He’ll do anything to make sure Talker sees that he’s the Prince Charming Talker has always needed.


“There’s none so blind as those who will not see.” This phrase fit both Brian and Tate to a ‘T’.

Brian was on the way to his first track meet when Tate came on the bus. He was scary looking with his tribal tats and piercings extending all over his head and face and other visible areas of his body, obviously designed to divert attention from what he didn’t want anyone to see, his scars. But Brian was glad when Tate sat next to him because he felt like a freak after a month in college with no friends, and even scary looking Tate was better than no one. As he got to know him better Brian realized that Tate was always talking, twitching and dancing to music that was either playing in his head or through his ear buds, and he was constantly in motion as if he couldn’t stop. The other kids made fun of Tate’s looks and his sexual orientation, but Brian was only too happy to have him as a friend.

For two and a half years Brian and Tate remained best friends, and for nine months they lived together in a crappy apartment eating Ramen noodles because Brian had lost his athletic scholarship when he blew out his arm and his part-time job could only go so far to pay expenses. Tate suggested that they share a place even though he still had his scholarship and could have continued to live free in the college dorm, but he wanted to be with Brian. Initially Brian assumed that his love for Tate was based on friendship and had nothing to do with sex. It took his then girlfriend, Virginia, to show him that he was not all that straight, and in fact he was just as gay as Tate, the only difference was he had been living in a closet all his life. The fact that he looked like the All-American young man with his blond hair, blue eyes and a body and face to die for had women throwing themselves at him, so even the thought of being gay was a foreign concept for him.

Tate was as different from Brian as night from day. He had had a horrible childhood with the physical scars to prove it. His mother, an alcoholic, accidentally set their apartment on fire when he was very young – she died but he was left with burns over his entire body. His father was another loser, consequently he ended up in foster care. Despite countless surgeries he was left terribly disfigured and his scars made him wary of everyone. Tate thought of himself as unlovable except for Brian who he knew loved him, but what neither of them realized until it was almost too late was that it was the kind of love he craved. He was so vulnerable, lonely and hungry for affection that he would place himself in dangerous situations despite Brian’s warnings, and when he found himself a job that only he would think was OK, Brian became really scared that he would get hurt. Eventually, because he was determined to lose his virginity, he ended up with a man who had no respect for the gift he was offering and Tate’s entire life changed. That night the music died for the man who played music in his head all day and all night long, and Brian could only grieve for his friend who learned such a painful lesson, and the worst part was that Tate blamed himself and thought it was no more than he deserved. Although Brian could not undo the physical and mental damage to his best friend, for the first time in his young life he acted like an adult and made the creep who hurt Tate pay for what he had done so that he would never come near him again.

Talker is not a lighthearted story but I would urge you to read it because you will be moved by Tate who had suffered so much rejection in his short life that he had no feelings of self worth. Brian was determined to show him how much he was loved and made what was for him a huge sacrifice so that Talker would see him and believe that he was in love with him and wanted him sexually. Tate told him at one point that it was too bad he wasn’t gay because then their relationship could go somewhere, but it was okay because Brian made him feel safe. 

Great characterizations are what I look for whenever I pick up a book, even more than a wonderful plot with all the bells and whistles, and in Talker Amy Lane excelled with two well drawn protagonists who were very different but recognized that their greatest need and gift was each other. Talker is told from Brian’s third person POV so we don’t really get to know as much about Tate’s thoughts except through Brian, but what was revealed was someone fragile and vulnerable who desperately wanted to be loved.

The secondary characters were also well drawn but the one I liked the best was Virginia, Brian’s girlfriend, who made him see the light and admit he was gay by using what I thought was a pretty unique strategy. 🙂 Brian’s aunt Lyndie who homeschooled him was another terrific character, and she helped him with his transformation to make Talker realize that there was nothing Brian would not do to win his heart. Another excellent character in the book was Jed, the bouncer at the club where Tate worked. This author’s greatest skill is in creating wonderful characters and all of them in Talker deserved a nod. As for the sex, it was smokin’ hot and in the end Talker and Brian went up in flames.

Talker is a wonderful book that I highly recommend.

Talker Series


I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

Feliz I had no expectations when I opened this book because I had only read a few of Amy’s books to date and I wasn’t sure about the cover. Jen and Kassa usually steal Amy’s books before I have a chance and by the time I remember I have a ton more books to review. However, lucky for me this time I held my ground and boy was I glad I did. Jen is still knashing her teeth in rage. LOL These two characters stole my heart and I can’t wait to see what Amy has in store for them… Read more »
Wave, I so agree with you. On everything. Amy Lane simply creates the very best nerdy misfits, like Brian. He’s so thick it’s actually cute, but as soon as he gets his mind around something, he doesn’t do things by halves. Luckily his aunt wasn’t a tatoo artist! Also, I could absolutely identify with his girlfriend, Virginia. She’s a wonderful character, too. Tate – He was so strong and yet so needy, I think he’s one of Amy Lane’s best characters so far. Reminded me of Naef from Truth in the Dark, but without the self-loathing. With his unique ability… Read more »

this book is EX.CELL.ENT! and lovely and sweet and hot and painful and clearly about redemption…


I’m really happy you enjoyed Talker – the characters are so sweet. 🙂


This has caught my interest when it popped up at DSP’s coming soon page. Now with your great 5 stars review, Wave, it’s a sure buy for me. I love a story once in a while that brings me to tears. 😉

Looking forward to reading it.


You won’t regret buying this book. I hate it when a book makes me cry, but in this case it was worth it. You will love the guys.


Darn it, Wave! I just did my shopping for the week last night and now I read this. 🙂

I love Amy Lane’s writing and this is at the top of my next ‘to buy’ list now. Great review!


It will be money well spent. You won’t be sorry that you picked up this story because the characters are wonderful and they grab your heart. You know how I hate angst but in this case I was happy I decided to go ahead with reading and reviewing Talker . This is the first book by Amy that I have reviewed but it won’t be the last (sorry Jen). You should get it – it’s a keeper.


Great review Wave, I loved loved loved this one, I was especially happy because I was quite dissapointed with Bewitched by Bella’s brother and now all is good again hehe.


REALLY 5 stars? Wave, you know I’m weak and you wave 5 star ratings under my nose. Not nice! And it has great characters and even secondary characters that are well drawn. You know all of my weaknesses. Fine I’ll but another book. Is there a book-aholics anonymous? Great review of course. I love the way you describe this. Off to Dreamspinner…


Sorry TJ but I have to tell the truth. I was tempted to ask you to review Talker but I wasn’t sure, based on the blurb, whether it was your kind of book. Talker will definitely move you and you won’t regret getting it. I won’t lie – I did cry but it was worth it in the end. You have to tell me how much you absolutely LOVED Tate and Brian. 🙂

Josephine Myles

Ooh, I bought this as an impulse buy the other day based on the cover and blurb, and was hoping it would get a good review from you. I’ll have to read it next 😀


I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. You must post here how you enjoyed the book (or not). 🙂 I always like to know how our reviews resonate and whether we’re on the money. Read it this weekend because it’s pretty short.


Great review! This is one reason I’m so glad I found this site. The recommended reads never disappoint. Will get this one for sure.

One reason I am not so glad I found this site? The recommended reads NEVER disappoint! I have so many books to buy now, I cringe when I think the word “budget”. This is all your fault, Wave (with all those DIKs), and Lynn and Jen and TJ and Val and…! 😀


Hi Ebi
This is a “must buy.” I keep saying that I’m not a fan of angst but it’s worth it here.

Sorry about your budget. 🙂


Got it today. I do not regret the purchase. I don’t mind angst in novels and this one was, in a word, BEAUTIFUL.


I’m so glad you enjoyed Talker as much as I had hoped. It’s great when my recs work out for a reader (they don’t always because everyone has different tastes) but I don’t know of anyone who won’t like this book and Brian and Tate.

amy lane
Sorry Wave– no promises about not making you cry. I’m afraid I’m sort of a mean bitch-heifer when it comes to making people tear up– all those years teaching high school, yanno… my only promise is to warn you if I’m going to kill someone–I’ll stick to that. The cover was really difficult– Talker’s look is VERY distinctive, and Reese did a GREAT job with all of the tattoos. I wanted the two boys not ‘seeing’ each other, and the fact that Sacramento is in the background (because really, who sets stories in Sacramento? Seriously. Least. Romantic. City. Ever.) is… Read more »
You’re so bad Amy. I think this is one of your best books yet and I understand there’s a sequel – I can’t wait. I’m never reading the books in your other series (Vulnerable, Wounded et al) b/c I understand that you’re a vicious killer. 🙁 I love to read stories about young lovers just starting out and how they overcome all the difficulties they have to face. This story was gut wrenching – I don’t think I have read about a hero like Tate – Brian yes – but Tate was incredibly moving. Maybe you won’t be able to… Read more »
amy lane

*blush* I only kill with love, Wave! You should know that! And thank you–I’m so glad you enjoyed it! (And everyone else who is commenting–I’m so pleased that Tate got to you… the sequel is done from his point of view. Warning– it’s been ripping my heart out.)


I totally agree with your review Wave…..Brian and Tate were amazing, separately and together. I understand there will be a sequel, and I have to say I can’t wait. Amy Lane never disappoints, and she has a way of making her characters so REAL. I loved how Brian was “assisted” out of the closet 🙂 My heart was in my throat for most of the book, and in some places I had a bit of the sniffles…but it was totally worth it.


I really didn’t know what to expect when I opened the book because the cover is one of those that you either hate or love and the story brought the cover to life.

I try not to be a wimp when I read these books because I’m pretty tough, but this one was a terrific story. Glad you liked it.


It sounds like an interesting premise and I’ll put it on my “to read” list for future reading. One of the things that’s putting me off right now is the characters (at least one on the cover – hence my dislike of characters on covers) looks so young. I think the older I get the more I prefer more mature, older protagonists.


Like you, I prefer older protagonists but this book really grabbed me by the heart. Brian and Tate would be in their early twenties I suppose, but the characterizations were so terrific that I could see the story through eyes attuned to their age. I hope you give Talker a try.

amy lane

*eeeeeeee* I’m SO glad you enjoyed this one… this was a ‘dragon’ story– I had planned to work on something else entirely when I was finished with “Bella” and Talker sort of spoke up in my brain and said, “Me! Now!” I’m so glad you like these guys– they completely broke my heart!

Thank you for the review, Wave!


Hi Amy
You should not make me cry. Repeat after me – “Don’t make Wave cry.”

Amy this book is awesome – I loved, loved, loved Talker.
You were a genius to come up with that really funny way to show Brian that he really was gay. 🙂

I hope I see the guys again in a future adventure because I know you love to write sequels. 😉 Thank you for these characters. It’s amazing to me how you can put yourself into the minds of all these characters.


My first, second and third reactions were to judge this book by its cover and pass it by. That is how many times at least I saw this in my recommended for you list and chose not to buy.
About the fourth glance I realized it was by an author I previously enjoyed so I gave it chance.

WOW! This book was wonderful and totally deserving of a 5 star review.


Hi Aquina

I’m so glad you agree with my review. Many readers will pass on this book because of the cover but it represents the hero in the story. Amy is an incredible writer.


Drat! I knew I should have made more of a fuss when you laid claim to the next Amy Lane book, Wave :). At this rate all the reviewers on this site will be fighting over them :).

This sounds really good and will be going on my TBR pile very soon. Thanks for a great review, Wave.


You always get the damaged heroes and I never do because I don’t do a lot of angst, but getting this one was worth it. The book was wonderful and I loved those guys even dumb Brian.

I think you have probably reviewed all of Amy’s books on the site – the latest was Bella’s Brother just this week so you can’t complain. 🙂


I have to admit I had a slight sniffle while reading this one. You just want to take Tate home and wrap him up and hug him and squeeze him. Sometimes Brian’s social … ineptness made me crazy, but in the end, I was proud of him. *sniff* A great story.


I really loved this story and I’m just concerned that readers would not pick it up because the story is unusual, starting from the cover art. They may think “oh, it’s just teen angst” when it isn’t really. It’s a wonderful book about human emotions.

Brian was so dense that it took his girlfriend to tell him “Dude, you’re gay.” LOL. But he came through in the end. Loved the end and like you I cried and just wanted to hug Talker.

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