Author: Rick R. Reed
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel/314 PDF pages
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5, DIK
Review Summary: Only an incredible writer could have made Bobby, who had such loathsome character traits, into someone I would root for, and Rick Reed did just that. A masterful job!
Sequel to Chaser
The character you loved to hate in Chaser becomes the character you will simply love in Raining Men.
It’s been raining men for most of Bobby Nelson’s adult life. Normally, he wouldn’t have it any other way, but lately something’s missing. Now, he wants the deluge to slow to a single special drop. But is it even possible for Bobby to find “the one” after endless years of hooking up?
When Bobby’s father passes away, Bobby finally examines his rocky relationship with the man and how it might have contributed to his inability to find the love he yearns for. Guided by a sexy therapist, a Sex Addicts Anonymous group, a well-endowed Chihuahua named Johnny Wadd, and Bobby’s own cache of memories, Bobby takes a spiritual, sexual, and emotional journey to discover that life’s most satisfactory love connections lie in quality, not quantity. And when he’s ready to love not only himself but someone else, sex and love fit, at last, into one perfect package.
Is redemption even possible for someone like Bobby who everyone loved to hate (with good reason) in Chaser? Bobby was the quintessential man-whore who made no bones about his philosophy that sex was all he wanted in life – no relationships – and he got his fix at every turn. But what readers didn’t know, although there were hints in Chaser, was what made him into this man, someone who would pick up any scum just to satisfy his sexual urges. It wasn’t until one morning, when he woke up in bed next to a man he didn’t recognize and didn’t even remember how the man got there, that he realized he needed help. But even then he refused to admit how serious his problem was..
Raining Men opens a few months after Bobby lost his best and only friend Caden because of his lies and deceit and he was in full denial mode. He continued to deceive himself about his sex addiction problem even after Caden had given him a therapist’s card and suggested that he seek help. It wasn’t until Bobby realized after one scene too many that he no longer wanted a life that was one hook-up after another and he yearned for what Caden had, a special someone, that he went to see the therapist. However, he wasn’t convinced there was anything wrong with him because he was the same Bobby – full of himself, handsome, hot, great job, someone who any gay or straight man or woman would look at a second or third time. He saw the therapist perhaps hoping that he could show Caden he had changed, so that his former best friend would forgive him. Throughout the book it was obvious that he loved Caden and that his rejection hurt him deeply, so it was a toss-up whether he was trying to fix himself for Bobby or for Caden.
Despite being extremely cocky about his looks and ability to attract other men, one of the most heartfelt statements that Bobby said to his therapist was:
“I just wanted someone to love me”
This was probably one of the hardest truths Bobby ever admitted. Shortly thereafter, he received a call from his mother that his father had passed away from a heart attack. Initially he gave the impression that he didn’t really care about his father who had never shown him any love, but as the book progressed it was clear how much his father meant to him and the effect that the lack of his love had on Bobby throughout his entire life. While he dearly loved his mother and would do anything for her, Bobby idolized his father and he has always wanted some recognition from him that he meant something to the man he revered above all others.
This was a very difficult book to read because Bobby is one of the most flawed characters that I can remember. At times I pitied him and hated the things he did and continued to do to himself because they were so degrading, and he couldn’t stop, as he went from one disgusting act to another. However, I never hated the character because it was clear that his problems and his capacity to deal with them were slowly destroying the man he wished he was and someday could become. With the help of his therapist he admitted he was a sex addict and joined a therapy group and that was when he gradually started to turn his life around. Aaron, the man he would eventually fall in love with was a member of the group, and even though he fell off the wagon a few times in spectacular fashion, he made a sincere effort to become a different man, someone of whom he could be proud.
However, before his transformation Bobby went through his own hell every time he couldn’t cope and he would revert. In one scene he hooked-up with the kind of man no one in his right mind would have touched with a barge pole, but Bobby was so sick, hungry and desperate for sex that anyone would do, regardless how stomach-churning he was. But what really grossed me out was the scene in the Stallion, a seedy bathhouse that Bobby visited when he went to Seattle for his father’s funeral. It wasn’t just the scene that depressed me but the depths of depravity to which Bobby’s sex addiction had taken him and the risks he took with his health.
I didn’t understand why Bobby did what he did to Caden until I read Raining Men and got to know the real Bobby, when the mask he wore was ripped away. To really like his character you have to go with him on his difficult and painful journey with an open mind, as he guts it out. Raining Men is one of the toughest books I ever read because Bobby’s emotions and actions are so raw I’m sure there were blisters on his mind as he relived what made him into the man he is today, but I don’t want you to get the impression that the story was all a downer. There were fun times with Bobby and his dog that he found next to a dumpster whom he called Johnny Wadd, 😆 (those of you who watch porn will understand why), the ugliest dog in the world with the biggest balls, on whom he lavished all his love. Also there were lots of great times with Aaron who loved him, as well as his friend from high school, Wade.. All of the secondary characters were well drawn but Bobby was brilliantly portrayed, in addition to his toxic family relationships. At last I understood that at the core of his slutty ways was a vulnerable human being and sex was his way of dealing with his pain.
Rick Reed’s paints a picture of a man on the verge of going over the edge into unbelievable depravity, someone who desperately wants to be not the person he was. In the end he understood what this phrase meant: “accept what we cannot change.”
Raining Men is about a lot more than Bobby’s sex addiction which drove him to do unspeakable things, it was also about the man, someone who was kind, who loved his mother deeply, and was good to animals. One scene that really touched me was when Bobby visited his mother several months after his father’s passing and found her devastated, and how he brought her out of her depression.
Bobby was laid bare in Raining Men. His thoughts, aspirations, actions, the way he spiraled out of control – nothing was left to the reader’s imagination and if you’re like me you will cry for Bobby. In the end I didn’t like Caden very much because I thought he was hard, unfeeling and unforgiving towards Bobby when he could have shown him a little kindness; instead he treated him as if he didn’t exist. He had been Bobby’s best friend for years, someone he knew inside and out, so he could have been a little supportive when he realized that Bobby was sincere in his desire to change. Instead he heartlessly rebuffed Bobby time and again. when he tried to apologise. There was one scene where Bobby poured out his heart to Caden in a letter because he missed him in his life so much, but Caden disappointed him again, refusing even to acknowledge he received his letter.
Is Raining Men the best book Rick Reed has written to date? I’m not sure but it’s certainly up there. There is so much to this book that one review will never do it justice – the world building around Chicago and Seattle will make you want to visit both places if you have never been there, just to see the cities Rick Reed described with such love. While there, you may even see some of his characters as they are all three dimensional and vibrant.
Redemption for Bobby and I think his HEA was well deserved.