Title: Dilly and Boz
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Genre(s): Romantic Suspense
Page Count: 222
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 1 flame out of 5
Rating: 4.70 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.
The main characters of this romantic suspense novel are Dilbert Allan Jones, called Dilly, and Bosley Maurice Jenkins or Boz. Both are in their twenties, both are clumsy and nigh friendless, both are living in small dwellings in a poor neighbourhood in San Diego, one across the street from the other. Dilly, a nerdy and shy young man, is working in a record shop specializing in selling vintage rock ‘n’ roll vinyls; Boz is a waiter in an upscale Italian restaurant. And Boz has a secret: he’s been pining for Dilly ever since he’s laid eyes on him. One day, he gathers his courage and visits the shop Dilly’s working in, but their first encounter, although fraught with sexual and romantic tension, doesn’t lead to much. Helped by Dilly’s constantly stoned seventy-something-year-old boss, Puffer Moran, Boz manages to pay Dilly a visit in his flat, however. That’s when their romantic relationship kicks off and soon blooms into a full-scale, cute and endearing love story.
But there’s Bobby Mayfield, ex-US soldier and now janitor in a hospital in nearby La Jolla. He’s Boz’s ex-lover, and more importantly: he’s a dazzingly handsome and hunky guy with serious drug and anger management issues. In one word, he’s a bad guy, he’s an arsehole, pardon my French. Far from being over Boz, who’s left him after the one beating-up that proved too much, he still thinks Boz is his, as in: his property. He deems Boz is not only bound but obliged to come back to him. We meet him waylaying his ex, we see him snorting crystal meth, we follow him to his new fuck-buddy Angel’s home, where he behaves as one could expect, treating the poor Guatemalan boy like shit, pardon my French again. He stalks Boz and Dilly, shows up at Dilly’s workplace to threaten him, and… And we know danger is looming over our two love-birds’ heads.
Well, well, well. I hate bullying of any sort whatsoever. I hate bullies, whether in my private life, in the lives of others, in politics (I guess I don’t have to spell out who I mean; we’re unfortunate enough to have several of them polluting the public sphere as we speak), or in fiction. And God, did I hate Bobby Mayfield! He’s a helluva vilain—I really have to say kudos to John Inman for creating such a powerful and powerfully hateable character. Yet, the author also lets us look behind the curtains, he invites us into Mayfield’s mind, he makes us vibrate with his anger and helplessness, even if we’re disgustedly trying to shake off his emotions. In comparison, Dilly and Boz become, alas, a little bit pale. Almost no background information about the two of them. Fortunately, they remain sufficiently three-dimensional to be engaging. And endearing. You can’t help liking them on the spot, and you can’t help wishing them well, wishing them the HEA they deserve. I also loved Puffer, who’s almost charicaturally nice and odd.
All in all, I enjoyed the read, even if the beginning seemed a bit laborous and longish. But the wait was worth it, because when the spark of love hit them both, and subsequently when Bobby’s shit hit the fan (pardon my French yet again), I was already so engrossed in the story that I couldn’t have closed the book even if I had wanted to. Perfect build-up of tension in that second half of the book, with cringe-worthy scenes that are necessary to deepen the reader’s emotional involvement, and a finale where you turn the pages with bated breath. Sweet love, a well-paced suspense sub-plot, with even a bit of social critique subtly woven in—oh what a perfect world where a shop assistant has to count his savings before he’s able to afford new glasses when his old ones are broken (in a country as rich as America)! The writing style could have been a tad less ornate in places, but the plot was straightforward and the book well proofread and edited (typos being kept to the acceptable minimum of the odd word having been overlooked). A very good book!
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