Beautiful, brutal prose
When it was down to Ian and Drew face to face with Sarge and rat-faced George
Ian and Drew's discussions on why Ian needs to see his Goliath controlled, and why Goliath Drew is "just a scared little boy inside".
I only laughed when Drew asked if he was "doing it" right, bless his heart. Otherwise I found myself emotionally invested in both Ian and Drew.
There are no more flattering comments that I could possibly add to the other 4- and 5-star (book) reviews of Mr. Mann's superb writing and his admirable talents with similes; he'd turn one every so often that had me think, "Wow, that was perfect." But I really want to recognize Mikael Naramore's superb narration. He puts you into Ian's mind. His pacing is perfect - slower during Ian's pensive, plotting moments; faster of course during sex scenes; and peaking during life-and-death situations. His drawled pronunciation of "Vuh-GIN-ya" is spot on. His voice characterizations are excellent and stopped short of being over the top: Ian's brusque war-weary tones; Drew's deep baritone; Sarge's downplayed arrogance and haughtiness; sweet but naive Rufus; and rat-faced George... If you didn't already despise George as a character, Naramore's interpretation as a grating, loud-mouthed, abrasive hypocrite should seal the deal.In the end, we're left with some unresolved items on the checklist, most notably Drew's promised reward to Ian, and a long trek offering potential encounters with both "Yanks" and "Rebs"; one only hopes those are part of a sequel.
I was hooked from the first word spoken by Todd Burton. Charlie David's characterization was the reincarnation of Topher Manning from Brad Boney's "The Return", and that naive but smartass attitude and tone is something I could listen to all day. But then Charlie David could read the Bible to me, and I'd think it was sexy.
The story is sweet, though in audio a bit confusing when Todd channels his step-father's voice or when he is unaware he's said something out loud. What tampered my enthusiasm was (something of a spoiler ahead) was that in less than one week, Todd goes from "I'm absolutely straight, though maybe a bit bi-curious, broke, jobless, lonely, and homeless" to the completely opposite extreme. And that Gabe, given his past experiences, rolls along with it. Strangers one day to "I love you" two days later? That's the part that really kept me from empathizing with and identifying with the characters.
Also a little disappointed that Austin didn't appear in this one, since Todd pops up in Austin's book. Would have liked to have heard Gabe's reaction.
All said though, I'll probably replay it in the near future, if for nothing more than to listen to Todd's confrontation with his step-father and mother.
Very glad to have picked this up, and immediately started on "Something Like Winter" moments after finishing this one. Part one was pretty reminiscent of "The Geography Club" (which I also enjoyed - twice) except Ben has supporting and participatory parents. The entire story though is quite a roller coaster ride with Ben & Tim vs Ben & Jace. The only reason I didn't give the story five stars though is the very, very end. Trying to say this without becoming a spoiler, but if Ben was so excited at the chance to see Tim after more than two years, and if it was so easy for him to fall into it again, why had he waited so long? At least it squeezed in a potentially happy ending that I think every reader wanted and expected. Hoping "Something Like Winter" ultimately provides a little more from where this one ends.
I loved this story the first time I listened to it. I decided to listen again, and it's even better the 2nd time around. All the little "breadcrumbs" that the author leaves from the very onset are significantly more meaningful. And of course I'm driving my car and yelling at Topher to answer his phone and say something! I admit to getting more moved as Starsky and Hutch start their relationship, knowing what's coming. Definitely glad I picked this up for a 2nd listen.
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