Olive Juice (ColinJ’s Audio Review)

Title: Olive Juice
Author: T.J. Klune and Derrick McClain (Narrator)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 30, 2017
Genre(s):Gay Contemporary
Length: 5 hours and 11 minutes
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

It begins with a message that David cannot ignore:

I want to see you.

He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.

David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.

Phillip offers redemption.

In line with other reviews and the request of the author the aim will be to avoid any spoilers. The book is largely based around the reflections and internalisation of the lead character. This is done in real time and falls alongside things that are happening around him. Whilst such thought processes are central to the story they unfortunately are so detailed that either they are felt as impressions but are articulated in detail, or he spends extended periods of time just staring into space. The reader should aim for the former, because if it is the latter then he isn’t safe to be let out. Sadly the narration exacerbates this by talking in a halting slow-paced presentation. This approach to the text became frustrating as it made the central character less likeable even when plot details become revealed.

The relationship between the two lead characters is as fragile as the psyche of the main character. There is clearly a deep bond there but one that has been strained too far. It is too easy from the outside to just want to knock their heads together as the tension is too high. To follow that route is to make the lead character a self-fulfilling prophecy and that would be pitiful rather than tragic.

As noted above, the narration enhances a very slow pace. It could have been a tumble of thoughts and emotions, but instead it was a plodding analysis that highlighted the repetitious nature of the thoughts.

In line with the author’s wishes the ending of the story is left to the reader. The author provides a rich and emotive situation and handles it with delicacy.

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Galley copy of Olive Juice provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.

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