Title: Laugh Cry Repeat
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 4, 2017
Genre(s): Gay Romance, Contemporary
Page Count: 200 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Wyeth Becker is a quiet man. Staid, serious, calm. A librarian. When he meets preschool teacher Deeze Long, he discovers joy for the first time in his life. With joy comes laughter, excitement, and a new way to look at the world through the eyes of the kindest, most loving man he has ever met.
When tragedy strikes and Deeze loses his joy, it is Wyeth who helps him find it again. It is Wyeth, the man who never truly understood happiness, who pays that gift back. Giving all he can of himself to the man who changed his life. Restoring in Deeze what he now so desperately needs.
But the road of their relationship doesn’t end there. The joys and sorrows of life are never-ending. As they set out to weather the highs and lows together, Wyeth and Deeze hang on to the one thing that makes all the tears and laughter worthwhile.
For only through love can life be truly savored at all.
The author often presents one of two types of story; either it is tense with a romantic counterbalance or it is romantic and funny. In this story there is a sense that the author is trying to bring all of these themes together. The first half of the book is light and fluffy with humour and romance. There is a clear and flagged change about halfway through where darker themes are introduced and ultimately the story then explores how the lovers survive the change.
The first half of the book is sweet and similar in feel to a number of the author’s other works, as such there is the tendency for the reader to feel that this is formulaic. Consequently, if the reader is familiar with such works then there can be a certain disengagement with the plot. With the change in the second half, if the reader has not invested in the lead characters, for whatever reason, the handling of the tense moments comes across as distanced and quite dispassionate and descriptive. Given the focus of this trauma, it is disappointing that it is handled in the way it is as there is strong characterisation and a light plot.
The relationship between the two lead characters is handled very well and both characters are individuals and likeable in their own right. There is clear and effective description of the passion between the two and the sex is balanced yet graphic. As noted above it is disappointing that the characters themselves are similar in personality to other characters created by the author and so there is a risk that the reader may not find that unique feature that would make them more than likeable. Secondary characters are if anything stronger and hold the story together.
There is a steady pace to the read and the writing is, as ever, very approachable and enjoyable. It is disappointing that the pace does not noticeably change during the tense moments.
The story ends on a positive note, tinged with sadness and reflection. Overall this story had the potential to be stronger particularly in terms of plot handling. It was a pleasant read but I do not feel it is the author’s best.