Author: Scotty Cade
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella (205 PDF pages)
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Tj
Summary Review: The story of the relationship between an up and coming singer and the talent scout who discovers him that unfortunately had some excessive description that slowed the pace.
The Blurb: When hunky aspiring country singer Billy Eagan heads to Nashville in search of his big break, a relationship and love are the furthest things from his mind. Taking a foreman’s job at the Lazy H ranch and not knowing how he will be accepted, Billy decides to fly under the radar and stay as closeted as he can without denying who he really is. It’s immediately confirmed that he made the right decision when he discovers that homophobia is still alive and well in Tennessee.
Then Billy gets his break and meets gorgeous record label executive Ian Dillon. Their worlds collide both professionally and personally, and Billy falls hard. But Ian is still haunted by the mysterious betrayal of his one and only lover, and knowing Billy possesses the power to emotionally destroy him, Ian decides to cut his losses and simply walk away. Determined not to give up on the man he loves, Billy secretly starts to unravel the past and quickly finds that it’s not what it appears. Can Billy rescue Ian’s heart, or will bigotry and hatred win over love?
Billy Eagan tried for years to hide his true nature, even marrying a woman, only to end up divorced and starting over a year later. But things happen for a reason and now Billy is determined to kick start his singing career, and what better place than the home of country music, Nashville, Tennessee. Billy lands a ranch foreman’s job shortly after arriving and makes fast friends with the owner Jules and his wife Jean, who also runs a bar. Jean convinces Billy to come to the next open mike night, at which Billy’s performance wows the crowd. Coincidently Jean knows talent scout Ian, who she asks to come see Billy perform. Well not only does Billy impress Ian with his singing, but he’s very surprised to find a strong attraction between them.
I liked the general plot of an up and coming singer and sharing the experience of his success as he was discovered. Although it seemed to come quickly to Billy, I thought that if he truly was as talented as described, he would really only need a lucky break. I also enjoyed the relationship that developed between Billy and Ian, who is fighting ghosts from his own past. Then there were the characters of Jules and Jean, who were like adopted parents to Billy and Ian and were very nicely depicted adding a really sweet aspect to the book.
But as you can see from the rating, I had some issues with Final Encore. First off, there was a lot of seemingly excess description, yes, yes – telling not showing. This had the very unfortunate effect of slowing the pace of the story down. I read more like someone was telling me a story of what happened to them, not experiencing it along with them. The result was that I had trouble feeling engaged with the main characters.
There were also several times that we were simply told about events that had happened that would have been far more interesting if we had actually experienced them along with the characters. I also had a little trouble with the some of the characters’ behavior. For example, Ian gets hurt at one point during the story, and Billy takes care of him, even carrying him due to his injury. At first I thought this was very sweet, but Billy kept carrying Ian around the house. Because of this, I kept picturing Ian as a woman.
Ian is also a rather messed up man and his issues come to light late in the book. I won’t give away spoilers by saying what happened, but it all felt a little over the top, from why he acted the way he did after so many years, his treatment of Billy and then his recovery from his issues. There was also a very late in the story plot development partially about homophobia (which was touched upon earlier in the book) that coming so late in the story seemed unnecessary.
All in all, I did like parts of Final Encore – including the main plot and characters, but for me, the excess description made it hard to stay engaged with the story.