The Barracks Affair

Title: The Barracks Affair
Author: John Simpson
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Buy link:
Genre: Contemporary M/M, military
Length: Novella (68 pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Basic training at Lackland Air Force Base is over and Airman Zach Kellerman passed with flying colors. A natural leader, now he shoulders the responsibilities that come with being in charge of the barracks, but his professional conduct is challenged by the vivid blue eyes and buff body of Matt Williams, a soldier under his command.

While fear of exposure keeps Zach from making overtures, Matt is not so reserved, and soon their physical compatibility is matched by the feelings growing between them. But just one rumor could bring about an investigation that could end their careers before they get started, and the bittersweet barracks affair may be doomed from the beginning.


Do you like books about the military? The Barracks Affair will give you more than a glimpse of what life is like in the Armed Forces as our two recruits, eighteen year old  Zach and Matt complete their 12 week seccurity training at Lackland Air Force base in the US.

Zach is focused on his career in the Air Force and graduated top of his class at the end of basic training. When he returned to Base Security Forces 2 weeks later he was named Flight Commander of  his squadron of 120 men and this added responsibility meant that he had to juggle to keep his grades up. To complicate matters he was distracted by all the fine looking men around him, especially good looking  Airman Matt Williams, and whenever they were in the showers together they always carefully checked each other out.  Matt who was much bolder, and found Zach just as attractive, very soon asked him the dreaded question about his sexuality knowing full well that if Zach reported him he would be out on his ear. Fortunately for both of them, not only did they have a lot in common in terms of career aspirations but they were both gay and couldn’t wait to get into each other’s pants, even sneaking into a cupboard on the base for a quickie “getting to know you” session. 😀

Soon they wanted more and arranged to spend some time together at a hotel off base on their first weekend pass. It was everything they had dreamed of as they explored every sexual fantasy, and being virgins there was a lot to explore. However, looming over them was the possibility that they could be discovered and it would all be over. In addition, at the end of their current training, the probability that they could be shipped out to different countries was a major concern. Would their new romance come to an abrupt end before it had a chance?

The Barracks Affair, in addition to being a love story about Zach and Matt, gives the reader a real sense of what it’s like to live 24/7 as a member of the Armed Forces. It’s a different world for most of us as we experience a regimen that civilians very rarely see. The writer, John Simpson, is very familiar with military life, having been a Vietnam-era veteran, and you can taste the realism in this story as he takes us where discipline and honour are of prime importance.  

I liked both characters who were well drawn and seemed very sincere in their feelings for each other, despite their extreme youth. However, one thing which did bother me was that Matt Williams didn’t take more time to get to know Zach Kellerman before confessing his sexual orientation. If he was wrong in his assessment of Zach’s character he would have been saying goodbye to a military career immediately with most likely a dishonourable discharge. Also, it seemed that the matter of their future posting was resolved relatively easily, but not knowing anything about the military I couldn’t determine if this was the norm.

If you’re looking for a short, fun romance from a very masculine perspective, you don’t have to look further than The Barracks Affair by John Simpson. This author is known for his straightforward stories among men in the military without a lot of hearts and flowers and angst, and I love his departure from the typical M/M romance which would normally involve weeks of courtship and unresolved misunderstandings. Simpson cuts straight to the chase, his characters are decisive, his writing is fresh, and there are usually many authority figures in his books as is the norm in the Armed Forces.



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


  • I’ve read a couple of novels written by this author and found them pretty – dry. Maybe something shorter suits him better, considering the high rating. Will try it when my TBR pile grows smaller. ^^

    • Lady M

      I prefer John Simpson’s shorter stories, two of which I have read so far. The longer books contain a lot of detail about military life and procedure and may not appeal if you’re looking for a “regular” romance.

  • I’ve become, maybe not a fan, but somewhat appreciative of Simpson’s work over time, and I like his attention to detail the the military aspects of his stories. It’s obvious that he knows what he’s talking about, even if I find his writing style a bit stiff. I think I’ll pick this one up, thanks Wave.

    • Aunt Lynn, I have to agree with you on Simpson’s writing. And I think I’d like to try this one out too. Kinda like stories about new military recruits. I just loved I’ll Be Your Drill Soldier!

    • Lynn
      I remember that you weren’t as fond of Murder Most Gay and Condor One but liked Def Con One and Talons of the Condor. I think it depends on the story. Personally I prefer his novellas.

  • I’m sorry Ingrid but the length is not something I can control. 😀
    Actually I like this author’s short stories. You should try this one and Naval Maneuvers. Some long stories are very boring because the author includes lots of “fillers”.

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