Title: American Road Trip
Author: Sarah Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 16, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary, Veterans
Page Count: 86
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5
A single moment—or a single mistake—can change everything.
When Captain James Lee Hooker and his lover, Sergeant Easy Jacobs, were in the Army, they made a mistake that got a young soldier hurt. Three years later, they’re civilians again, living far apart, haunted by what they lost. Now that young soldier needs their help.
With his grandmother’s one-eyed Chihuahua riding shotgun, James Lee climbs into Easy’s pickup for a trip across the American Southwest. They set out to rescue a friend, but their journey transforms them with the power of forgiveness.
This was like taking a sip of Jack Daniels – it makes the eyes water a bit going down, but whoo! (gives a little shake) it’s mighty fine indeed.
This book just resonated with me – I felt this was a book about forgiveness, not only forgiving others but also forgiving yourself. It’s a book about being lost and then being found. It’s about how you don’t have to shoulder the heavens by yourself. I thought it was a well written, low angst, emotionally engaging story about two guys who needed love, forgiveness and closure.
James Lee walked away from the Army and the man he loved, after an IED exploded hurting a man in his unit. Jamie Lee claimed leaving was best for everyone. The impetus for Easy reaching out to James Lee was Easy’s cousin Austin, who suffered a traumatic brain injury under their watch in Afghanistan. Austin left Tennessee on a 10 speed with a trailer and three months later, Easy was told by Austin’s Mom to go find him. Easy goes looking for more than just Austin.
I just want to gush about this story, but I don’t want to give anything away. I adored the subtle sweetness between Jamie Lee and Easy. I don’t need every romance novel to be drawn out descriptions about rolling in the sack; it was insinuated they were sleeping together, and that was enough for me. I found that very refreshing.
I loved the southwest setting, how Easy and Jamie Lee used Austin’s post cards to follow him from New Mexico through Arizona in to California, how much of the talking was done in diners over hamburgers and cherry pie. I loved the undercurrents of frustration, how much facing the truth hurts, and learning to move on – to the next City, to the next feeling, to the next thing. I loved the explanation of ‘tribes’ and how they were now part of the ‘Ronin’ tribe.
And I ADORED Tino. Tino was the perfect counterpoint to Jamie Lee and Easy. Every single reason why Tino only had one eye cracked me up and I looked forward to the next explanation. Tino needed someone to love as much as Easy and Jamie Lee.
This is a short story I could see reading again and again, something comfortable, with a splash of humor, and a most satisfactory ending.