A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A remarkably funny tale of murder, mayhem and first love.
Blurb: Thanks to fate and his own lack of good sense, eighteen-year-old Danny Shay is headed into what looks to be the worst summer of his life. It starts with a minor meltdown at work that leaves Danny under house arrest with a cast on one leg and an ankle monitor on the other, courtesy of the San Diego Police Department. On top of that, he’s battling a chronic case of virginity, with no relief in sight.
Oh, and there’s one more little glitch. A serial killer is stalking the city, murdering young men. And when strange sounds are heard in the house behind Danny’s, the neighborhood kids think they’ve found the killer. But not until Danny learns he’s next on the madman’s list do things really begin to get desperate.
Damn! And Danny had plans to come out this summer—maybe even get laid! He doesn’t have time for ankle monitors and serial killers!
Then ginger-haired Luke Jamison moves in next door. Not only does Luke solve a few of Danny’s more urgent problems, he also manages to create a couple more that Danny never saw coming. Gee. If he can survive it, this summer might not be so bad after all.
Review: Without a doubt, John Inman can add the label of “humorist” along side writer. Consistently, this author has produced novels that delight and amuse. Hobbled is no exception!
The blurb above tells you nearly all except it does not take into account the near insatiable desire our poor hero, Danny, has to finally lose his virginity and come out to his Dad. Having left behind a hated Mother and stepfather, Danny falls into huge trouble within a short time of moving in with his Dad. The result of his tantrum at work? A cast on one foot and an ankle monitor with the penalty of six weeks of house arrest on the other. Does he let any of that deter him? Not one bit, particularly not when Luke moves in next door.
It is insta-lust and is quickly followed up by the development of something just a wee bit deeper. They are two teenage boys and I love how the author takes care to keep them real. Little things, like going through the dirty laundry for clothes and pizza five nights in a row along with libidos that are in overdrive, pepper the pages of this novel keeping it grounded in reality.
However, like all John Inman novels, the supporting cast is really the icing on the cake. From the slightly demented, drunk neighbor, Mrs. Trumball to the two twelve year old con artists/detectives, Devon and Bradley, with their trashy mouths and disgusting licorice habit, the story careens madly on, fast paced, wickedly smart and hilariously funny.
A humorist is adept at making us laugh…a good author is adept at writing us characters that stick with us long after the last word is read on the page…a truly good novelist combines those two elements with pathos and real emotion and creates a story that warms our hearts and ignites our imaginations. Hobbled, by John Inman, is a fine example of all that and more.
Yes, one could argue, that the striking coincidence revealed at the end of the story seemed just too good to be real–but I found it to be part of the whimsey of the plot line. Rather than making me groan over the neatly tied up ending, I looked upon it as one last attempt by the author to make me smile–and he succeeded. Yes, there is mystery and suspense, humor abounds and teenage hormones get their time on page as well but it was the overall package, the carefully detailed story, the zany and remarkably well drawn characters that made this novel shine for me.
So, dear reader, if you are looking for a “laugh out loud” novel with just a bit of mystery and lusty exploration of first love–why then, Hobbled by John Inman may just be the one for you.