Title: What Happened to Larry Allan?
Author: Dawn Kimberly Johnson
Cover artist: Cat Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon: Buy Link What Happened to Larry Alan?
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance/Sci-fi-lite
Length: Novella/78 pages
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: This twisty story surprised me several times while I was reading it and I ended up enjoying it very much
Judson Heart, like all of us, has some regrets. Not his job: he writes for a daily newspaper. Maybe his introspection: he eats lunch alone. Definitely his timing: he hasn’t had much luck in the love department. With his ten-year reunion approaching, those regrets intensify as he begins to recall a turbulent final year of high school. But with the help of three elderly, mystical strangers and a surprising assignment to interview a prison inmate, Jud may get the chance to make some changes. All he needs to do is find out what happened to Larry Alan.
I picked up this story because the blurb sounded intriguing and because I remembered liking Broken by this writer. I think that I made a very good choice with this one.
First of all, this novella managed to surprised me several times along the way; it is not a thriller or action/adventure, however the question” What happened to Larry Allan?” just kept me guessing. I absolutely could not figure out where the author was taking the story. Another surprise was in store for me when the author revealed the love interest of the main character. Maybe I am easy to surprise, but I just did not expect that revelation at all. It is not easy to explain without spoilers but there was a suspense level in the story where I just did not expect suspense to be present at all.
And I really enjoyed the main character, a decent, sweet guy who, as the blurb tells us, did not have much luck in the love department and who is given the chance to right the wrongs in his past. I also enjoyed how she sketched the love interest in so few pages and gave him just enough depth for the shorter story in my opinion.
The story has a sci/fi plot element, which is very well known to many of us from several movies and books, but while that element is not innovative at all, I really enjoyed how the author brought the plot to the place where that element starts.
I did have some issues. One is with the ending of the story, which again as I suspect has to do with the page space — not enough of it. I understand that it is part of Dreamspinner’s “First time for everything” 2011 stories collection, but the abrupt ending left me somewhat dissatisfied. While this abruptness is also related to a plot twist, I wish the author would have told us more about the actual romance between the couple. Basically I am not sure if I can even call this story a romance, although love story definitely has a happy ending. I am sure opinions will differ on the definitions. I also feel that for all the suspense around his fate, Larry Allan could have been developed just a little bit better