Title: Dilly and Boz
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Genre(s): Romantic Suspense
Page Count: 222
Reviewed by: Bob-O-Link
Heat Level: 2.5 flame out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
It’s funny how love nails you when you least expect it.
Dilly Jones has pretty much given up on romance ever finding him. Boz Jenkins, his neighbor, is recently out of a bad relationship but has definitely noticed the cutie across the street. When Dilly drops a bag of donuts on the sidewalk, it sets a chain of events into motion. And suddenly both men’s hearts are lost.
But Boz’s ex is still hanging around, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get Boz back. With a brand-new romance gearing up to knock their socks off, the last thing Dilly and Boz expect is to get tangled up in a stranger’s murder. Or to find themselves fighting for their lives.
Just as they finally find happiness, their love for each other becomes the thing that threatens them the most.
An Ambivalent Warning: This novel contains some scenes of explicit violence which
may cause the reader distress. While well written, and essential to the story’s flow,
they may not be to everyone’s taste.
Now: Dilly and Boz is a surprisingly lovely book. Our heroes are just nice, ordinary
people, struggling through difficult lives – short of funds, short of grand prospects and
short of friends and emotional fulfillment. Sound familiar? They could be us, at any
point in our own lives. Yet, Mr Inman presents them as wonderfully likeable, always making
do, while approaching the world with optimism.
Boz and Dilly, in their twenties, are “everymen,” especially when examining the simple
life. They eke out their livings, but don’t complain. They either are without, or
recovering from, love relationships – yet they move forward without having surrendered.
While the adage states that opposites attract, here their very similarities provide an ideal
fit. The tone is set. We witness Dilly’s clumsiness, his love for a worn-out pet, his self-
awareness of his own pitiful existence. Boz’s gayness struck at about the time of puberty
– followed by shyness and social anxiety. He still discovered that being a slut wasn’t
necessarily hindered by social ineptitude. He is now a recent escapee from a harsh
relationship, yet, though alone, he can still smile at his own reflection in his window, teeth
blackened by over indulging in Oreos.
Mr Inman’s fine facility with language permits a full-on description of both Dilly and Boz that
engages us. They are both short, but sparsely built. [The author, wryly, notes that a future
relationship between them might even permit the sharing of clothes!] The other characters
in the novel are also well developed: Puffer, the elderly marijuana smoking employer,
and Bobby, a violent, meth addicted villain and Boz’s ex-lover.
Dilly and Boz finely limns and intertwines several threads. We experience the creation of
the love between the name characters. There is a secondary love story between two very senior
citizens with somewhat odd personalities [who had “just about cornered the market on
wrinkles and were now shooting for a monopoly on liver spots.”].
Finally, the reader is taken into the sick mind of Bobby, and experiences his anger and his
inability to avoid violence – even as somewhere deep in his inner consciousness he is
aware of its negativity. [“At that moment he realized how unfair is all was. And how
much he hated himself for letting his life go to shit like this.”] Mr Inman’s book generates Bobby’s
reality which is enlightening, but Bobby’s hopelessness is also as scary as can be for us.
Dilly and Boz is a wonderfully successful mixture of love and fear, success and failure –
each in contrast with the others. Much of the read isn’t easy [see Warning, above], but
how many worthwhile efforts are? Dare yourself, and be rewarded.