Title: Syncopation (Collaborations #2)
Author: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Page Count: 160
Reviewed by: Kristin F.
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Colt Boudreaux was raised in the Louisiana bayou and is gifted with a talent steeped in the rich and soulful New Orleans blues tradition. He makes a living as a session musician, playing guitar for anyone who needs him. When his manager sends him to New York, the Cajun is as beguiled as he is baffled by the energy of the city—and just as charmed by Kyle Alexander.
Kyle is a successful classically trained ballet dancer, choreographer, and native New Yorker whose unbridled talent defies convention, and whose rebel spirit favors ink, shuns the orchestra, and is every bit as unique as Kyle himself.
They find a connection right away that inspires rhythm and movement, mood and music, both in and out of the bedroom. It’s not long before they’re as obsessed with each other as they are with their art, and they decide to work together on an improvisational piece for Kyle’s upcoming solo exhibition.
But Kyle is focused, and Colt is free-spirited. Colt’s work ebbs and flows with inspiration, and Kyle’s is rehearsed. Kyle is social and sophisticated, and Colt… isn’t. When their talents weave together, it’s magical, but will their differences destroy it all?
The book blurb is quite accurate, so I won’t rehash the plot. This was a definite melding of slow moving Mississippi River delta meets the churning waters of the Hudson River. Back water blues mixes with contemporary ballet. Result? A languid read with the perfect amount of relationship angst to keep the plot and characters interesting.
There were a handful of things that detracted for me, so I’ll start with those. Pacing was a bit slow, something I remember from reading other BA Tortuga books. You just can’t rush one of her plots, you need to let it unwind at its own pace. I admit, I get antsy. I know there is going to be some kind of difficulty, and I have to let the book get there in it’s own time.
Colt’s Mississippi bayou twang was a bit thick. While I appreciated the dialect which helped make Colt Colt, I would think some of the ah, rougher edges, would have been smoothed out playing in places like Austin, Houston and Memphis. So love/hate the accent.
It was a good thing Ms. Payne elaborated on how Kyle was living in a multi-story brownstone in Manhattan with skylights, three bedrooms and an indoor Jacuzzi on a dancer’s salary, because I was going to protest loudly. Still, mentally, the background situation for Kyle’s living arrangements didn’t entirely work for me. Entirely my quirk.
What does work for me is I so greatly enjoy an on-page couple experiencing “real life” difficulties and reacting as “real life” people do. One unintentional misunderstanding fester’s and grows leaving both men wondering what happened. The reactions fit the emotions and mental struggles both men were experiencing, and I greatly appreciate that. It so totally works for me.
I also loved the blues vs contemporary ballet aspect. The studio musician’s vs the rehearsed setting on a stage. This backdrop emphasized and complimented the characters and I thought was very well written.
Lastly, the supporting characters were about perfect and their personalities were as varied and fluid as the main characters and setting.
So taking everything above together, this was an enjoyable story about two guys from very different backgrounds, but finding some common ground in their creative backgrounds.