Title: Left on St. Truth-be-Well
Author: Amy Lane
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Buy Link Left on St. Truth-be-Well,
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A missing nephew, a little murder, a pushy surfer dude and a broom closet all make Carson a very confused guy.
Blurb: Carson O’Shaughnessy has one task: track down his boss’s flighty nephew, Stassy, and return the kid to Chicago. Then Carson can go back to waiting tables and being productively bitter about his life. He didn’t count on finding a dead body in Stassy’s bed, and he certainly didn’t count on the guy in the flip-flops and cutoffs at the local café helping him get to the bottom of the crime.
But Dale Arden is no ordinary surfing burnout—he’s actually a pretty sharp guy with a seductive voice and a bossy streak wider than the Florida panhandle. When he decides to boss Carson right into his bed, Carson realizes Stassy’s not the only one who’s been lost. Carson likes to think he’s got his life all figured out, that sex with guys is your basic broom-closet transaction; he may just have to revise his priorities, because nobody plans on taking a left at St. Truth-be-Well and finding love at the Bates Parrot Hotel.
Review: Left on St. Truth-Be-Well was really an interesting book due to the two lead characters and the fact that both of them had previously been with women–no, its not on the page or even described but it definitely influences who these men are–particularly Carson. While he never avoids the idea of sex with men, on the contrary, he willingly embraces it, sex is furtive, an anomaly for him–something he does not like to look at too closely, until Dale forces him to do so. It’s not that Dale holds him down and forces him to see the truth, it’s that Dale simply won’t allow Carson to hide anymore. Dale knows what Carson needs–stability, someone to take the lead, someone to be there, permanently. So, when this surfer guy turns out to have real depth and is determined to keep Carson for as long as possible, Carson has to face the truth: either he stays and makes a go with Dale or he returns to his beloved Chicago and his lonely life.
What makes this novella work is the humor Amy Lane infuses into each and every page. Whether her guys are chasing down a killer, or verbally sparring over who is going to top whom, fun wends its way through every scene. It helps that Carson is a waiter by day and a stand up comedian by night–a bad stand up comedian, who can toss off silly one-liners with the best of them. And it also doesn’t hurt that Dale is both witty and self-assured, never letting Dale slide back into that broom closet he so handily uses when it comes to men and sex. But the real magic here is the slow building relationship that grabs hold of these two men and rattles them both with its intensity. Yes, it all happens way too fast–but somehow Amy Lane makes that work. Somehow, it is totally believable that these two guys meet, fall for each other and make serious commitments to each other in the span of a few weeks. I know! How does she do that? I believe it is called, good writing–really good writing.
So, what didn’t work so well or where did that point five go? Well, I felt the very beginning of this novella was a bit disjointed. I found myself having a difficult time following the action and trying to understand if Carson was bisexual or a closeted gay in denial. Because of that I felt torn from the story at first, unable to always focus on the action at hand. However, this smoothed out fairly quickly and then it became apparent that Carson was really just adrift, waiting for someone to find him, hold onto him, and not let go. The only question that remained was if Dale was the man who could do all that.
I really enjoyed this story. It made me laugh–a lot! The romance was sweet and the dialogue, sharp and witty. All in all, Left on St. Truth-Be-Well by Amy Lane was a delightful read that I can easily recommend to you!