Title: Chase in Shadow (Johnnies #1)
Author: Amy Lane and Sean Crisden (Narrator)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
Release Date: April 1st 2014
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future.
Nobody knows the real Chase.
Chase Summers has a razor blade to his wrist and the smell of his lover’s goodbye clinging to his skin. He has a door in his heart so frightening he’d rather die than open it, and the lies he’s used to block it shut are thinning with every forbidden touch. Chase has spent his entire life unraveling, and his decision to set his sexuality free in secret has only torn his mind apart faster.
Chase has one chance for true love and salvation. He may have met Tommy Halloran in the world of gay-for-pay—where the number of lovers doesn’t matter as long as the come-shot’s good—but if he wants the healing that Tommy’s love has to offer, he’ll need the courage to leave the shadows for the sunlight. That may be too much to ask from a man who’s spent his entire life hiding his true self. Chase knows all too well that the only things thriving in a heart’s darkness are the bitter personal demons that love to watch us bleed.
Johnnies: Book One
Here’s the thing…I put this series off for a very long time because I knew they did not just have normal Amy Lane Angst, oh no, they have Super Mega Huge Over The Top Amy Lane Angst, and I just wasn’t sure whether or not I could handle that level of sustained feeling of deep anxiety or dread.
So like every good coward, I put the series onto my TBR and pretty much left it there. To languish among the hundreds.
Then I saw that Sean Crisden narrated the audio book. It’s Sean. I have yet to hear a story where I didn’t like his narration. So I got the audio.
And, oh, but I am a sucker for Sean Crisden and Amy Lane together. So yes, there are nuclear levels of angst in this story. Yes, there is cheating, which is normally a red-flag-full-on-stop-do-not-go-further-with-this kind of thing for me, but I was prepared for it, you know? So I could roll with it. I didn’t like it, but I could deal with it.
The story is told completely from Chase’s POV, so as a listener (or reader) we get to see just how not malicious he is in the things he does. He’s not mean, he’s broken. Unfortunately, his brokenness tends to spill out over other people who love him and trust him. Can you tell I didn’t like Chase? I never really warmed to him. I listened to almost 10 hours of audio and never once thought, “Well, at the heart of it all, I really like the character.” No, I didn’t like Chase, but I empathized with him. I felt sorry him. I felt sorry for a lot of the characters in this story.
I did like how the porn shoots were treated like a job, and it wasn’t skeevy or sleazy. I liked Tommy, Donnie and Dex, or what I got to see of them.
In the end, the writing is very good. Hell, the story is very good, but I didn’t connect to many of the characters. I didn’t feel like I usually feel at the end of an Amy Lane story. I’m not sure if that’s because of all of the emotions running high throughout, or because this is one of those stories that uses a jump around timeline, where we start in the present, and keep popping into the past. Also, each chapter apparently has a “scene” in the beginning and the narration of that transition to the actual chapter was sometimes confusing to me.
OH! and the “twist” that happens towards the end? Oh, ho! Let me tell you, I raged! As soon as the whole “Oh, I changed brands” happened I knew what was going on and man I would have liked to been Pacino in Scent of a Woman at that moment!
Though this might sound strange, I’m actually thankful that the story pretty much only has the horrible things happening to Chase. Sure, some of it spills out onto others, but for the most part, it’s on Chase. Thankfully it’s not a Keeping Promise Rock situation where everyone is being made miserable and has to go through the trials of Job. Of course, like all the other Amy Lane books I’ve read, in the end the characters get their hard won HEA.
I would absolutely recommend this for those who like a heavier tone to their romance stories with higher angst levels and who don’t mind cheating.