Title: My Busboy
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 4, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, Suspense
Page Count: 210
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Robert Johnny just turned thirty, and his life is pretty much in the toilet. His writing career is on the skids. His love life is nonexistent. A stalker is driving him crazy. And his cat is a pain in the ass.
Then Robert orders a chimichanga platter at a neighborhood restaurant, and his life changes—just like that.
Dario Martinez isn’t having such a great existence either. He needs money for college. His shoes are falling apart. His boyfriend’s a dick. And he has a crap job as a busboy.
Then a stranger orders a chimichanga platter, and suddenly life isn’t quite as depressing.
But it’s the book in the busboy’s back pocket that really gets the ball rolling. For both our heroes. That and the black eye and the forgotten bowl of guacamole. Who knew true love could be so easily ignited or that the flames would spread so quickly?
But when Robert’s stalker gets dangerous, our two heroes find a lot more to occupy their time than falling in love. Staying alive might become the new game plan.
John Inman has some serious writing chops, and as a newbie reader of anything Inman, I really enjoy his humor and snark. Robert Johnny is a 3 times published author dealing with a heckuva case of writer’s block: “My new book was at that embryonic stage where it could go either way. […] Was it a manuscript at all, or simply a mindless collection of brain farts trying to pass themselves off as English lit?” Taking time out from his exciting writing career, Robert and his friend Chaz celebrate Robert’s 30th birthday at Sombreros, his favorite Mexican restaurant in San Diego’s Gaslamp district.
At Sombreros, Robert is instantly captivated by the lean flat-out gorgeous Latino busboy Dario, who is 21 and studying pre-veterinary-med. Dario is sweet and smart and has a well-thumbed paperback of Robert’s first book in the back pocket of his uniform. The insta-lust / love is fast and furious, and all kinds of tender and oh so sexy as Robert takes Dario home to rescue him from a crazed soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend.
Robert is thirty years old, but apparently he and the Queen Mum were classmates, because Robert (and Chaz) continually comment on how YOUNG Dario is: “Chaz gave a rumble way down deep in his throat. “He’s also young enough to be your — ” “Don’t say it! He is most certainly not young enough to be my son!” Robert is also incredibly inept with computers (how many 30-yr-old don’t understand technology?) and actually makes a Jimmy Hoffa joke and thinks youth when Dario doesn’t understand it. Robert may be 30, but he reads much, much older.
Inman adds an element of mystery and danger when Robert realizes his stalker is hurting everyone he cares for, and keeps the suspense going with some very effective red herrings, although I felt the villain and the motivation was a bit too unlikely.
The positives of “My Busboy” are Inman’s humor and wit and the love that Dario and Robert find together. The miscues with Robert’s age and the villain of the book were negatives for me, but on the whole I enjoyed my first John Inman story and look forward to reading lots more.