Title: Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: novella (92 pages)
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Summary Review: It takes Brian almost dying, before Talker realized that he always had the courage to stand up for the man who loves him.
Sequel to Talker
Tate Walker’s past is too painful to just disappear, even if his dream boy, Brian Cooper, is there to hold his hand. Brian does his best, but Talker—always good at avoiding his own pain—is having a hard time facing the truth about what happened when he trusted the wrong man at the wrong time.
When that truth resurfaces and lands Brian in the hospital, Talker is forced to make a choice. He can either confront every demon in his fragile, bleeding heart, or he can let Brian take the heat for him, just like he has from the beginning. But even Talker knows you don’t leave your dream boy alone and undefended when he just saved your life, and he’ll have to find the strength to take care of Brian when Brian needs him the most.
This is the sequel to Talker, linked here. When I reviewed this book 4 months ago I was struck by how vulnerable both Tate aka Talker and Brian were and how much they adored each other. The story was tough to read because Tate was so damaged, physically and emotionally, since he was a child. He had lived through hell during his very short life, and young adulthood was no kinder to him. I’m not going to recap the first story since you can read the review if you wish.
I found the first book upsetting because of all the awful things that had happened to Talker, but I decided to read Talker’s Redemption even though the author told me that it was “bad.” I needed to see how Amy Lane would put the pieces of Talker’s life together, take him out of his miserable existence, and make him whole. Did she achieve these objectives? You be the judge.
This book is much darker than the first one and at times the angst and sorrow were almost unbearable, so if you’re looking for a light read, Talker’s Redemption is not the book for you.
Since we left Brian and Talker things have not improved emotionally or mentally for Talker. The only constant in his life was Brian and he knew he was loved so this is very much a love story. Tate depended on Brian to protect him from the vagaries of life as well as those who would do him harm. He’s still emotionally devastated and if at times it seemed as if he was living in his own world it’s because he was. Brian and Talker had been seeing the school psychologist, Dr. Sutherland, for 6 months but Talker’s mental state had improved only marginally since there was a huge stumbling block, what he called The.Worst.Date.Ever. which was actually his rape. He refused to admit that he had been raped, either to himself or Brian or anyone else, because that would make it real, and also he felt that the rape was his fault and he had asked for it by going to Trevor’s place with the intention of losing his virginity. What followed was so painful he cound not talk about it under any circumstances and chose not to remember exactly what had happened that awful night in Trevor’s apartment.
As I said earlier, this story is even darker than the previous one because in Talker’s Redemption Tate admits to and recounts the rape, which was very traumatic. Most of the time he lives in his head in his own world where no one can hurt him, and his mind is not the most stable place. His only escape from his thoughts was the music he played all the time on his iPod which soothed his confusion and hurt and helped to take away some of the memories, not just of the rape but of all the hurts he suffered in his very short life. His burns which he tried to hide by tats all over his body were a painful reminder of an episode from his childhood that almost killed him, and in this book all of Tate’s anguish seemed to be coming together into one big hurt. I can’t remember reading recently about a protagonist who was as damaged as Tate, or a partner who was more supportive and protective than Brian, to the point that he was willing to give his life for Tate. Brian felt responsible for Tate’s well being because he was Tate’s protector and anchor. However, what was amazing in Talker’s Redemption was Tate’s emotional growth, as he evolved into the man he never knew he could be because he was the only person who could protect Brian from further harm. Tate showed what he was made of even though it was the most difficult thing he had done in his life – he found the grit and heart when it was most needed, for Brian the man he loved.
This was a tough story to read because of what happened to Brian, the recounting of the rape, as well as Tate’s visceral reaction to the beating. If you don’t have a strong stomach these books may not be easy for you to handle because they are far from a walk in the park. The scene in Talker’s Redemption where Brain was viciously beaten and almost killed by three goons, in revenge for him protecting Tate, was tough to read and I have to admit that I skipped over some of it because I found it unbearable.
The supporting characters were well drawn, as are all of Amy Lane’s ‘people,’ and the one who I have to take my hat off to is Brian’s Aunt Lyndie who was outstanding and stood up to just about everyone, even the police, to protect Tate and Brian. You go, Aunt Lyndie. 🙂 Dr. Sutherland was also three dimensional and he came through for Tate when he most needed him; even good cop, Officer Melville and bad cop, Officer Jeffries were well drawn. I also liked Jed, the bouncer in the bar where Tate worked, who did his best to protect them.
Even though Brian and Tate are a couple and love each other I can’t really say that this story is a romance because it’s almost entirely about Tate’s fragile emotional health, Brian’s severe beating, and the repercussions from that beating. The angst at times was so overwhelming that I had to put the book down and take a break occasionally, even though it was pretty short at 92 pages, and so well written. There were a couple of humorous moments, one about Brian’s and Talker’s pet rat at the end that will have you convulsing with laughter and I really needed that. Also, at last Brian and Tate had what Brian called “orificial” sex 🙂 and it was lovely as well as hot.
I highly recommend Talker’s Redemption, but only if your heart can take it. Tate’s recounting of his rape might be upsetting to some readers.
Talker’s Redemption is not a standalone story.