When the Johnnies series first come out I can still clearly remember reading Chase Shadow and being left with the feeling that my heart had been torn ..Show More »out with all the hurt. If somebody asked me to give one word to describe Amy Lane it would undoubtedly be ANGST. She is the absolute master of it!! Ethans book is also full of angst but not in the all consuming way that Chases was.
At the start of this book we find out that Ethan has been abused at school, as a 5 year old, by the bad man with him ‘bamboo’. At first he is supported by his family but those feelings quickly change when they pull away and his mother stops touching him altogether. Whether in fear, stupidity or ignorance the pain this causes Ethan and the effects it will have on his life are devastating and life changing, even more so than the original abuse . Ethan craves touch and I mean CRAVES. He reminded me of a big puppy as he grew up, always trying to do the right thing, to please everybody around him, just so people would touch his arm or tousle his hair. His family fail him completely in this respect; he has a failed attempt at a sexual experience with another boy which leads to more confusion and pain and for a while settles in a relationship with a girlfriend. Although not what he wants deep down he is finally being touched, skin on skin and it settles him.
After leaving his family he finds a way of getting the touch he needs in abundance. He becomes Ethan, a porn star. He has unconsciously built a new family around himself and the men in his life, his co-stars, recognise the need in him to be touched and petted and look after him well. Two years into this new life he meets Jonah who will rock his world and change everything.
Jonah has no experience of the world Ethan lives in. His is a twenty something year old virgin whose life revolves around work, home and looking after his dying sister. He may be the inexperienced one in the relationship but he has an uncanny way of reading Ethan and knowing what he needs. Slowly h e ingratiates himself into Ethans world and shows strength and maturity when the secrets start to come out.
Even though Ethan is its own story it runs at the same time and therefore alongside Chase and Dex. There are events that happen that you will recognise from both the previous books. To get the most out of the stories and understand the characters I think it is imperative that you read all the books in order.
Ethan and Jonah are great together but there is very little romance. Back to Amy Lane, if I would describe her writing with the word angst then I would describe her characters in this series as broken. Oh boy do they all have issues. The drama that surrounds this small group would be overwhelming in real life but somehow it still seems very real. There is no fluff. They might get their happy endings but the woman makes them bleed for it! I thoroughly enjoyed my second visit to the Johnnies characters. I you haven’t read this series all I would ask is. Why not?
Narration Looking through the number of audio books that Sean Crisden has narrated it is obvious he is a popular choice. From recent experience I have discovered that you need to listen to each book individually. Where you may not like a narration of one book by a person you may end up loving the next. Sean was near perfect for Ethan. For nearly 11 hours I listened as his voice flowed through the story clearly. He didn’t make the sex scenes sound ‘squicky’ and he portrayed each of the characters as I imagined them in my head.
Where to start…. Well, first we all know Johnnies right – the made up porn studio that introduced us to Chase and Tommy, Dex and Kane, Ethan and J..Show More »onah and in a related way, Alejandro and Donny. We LOVE Johnnies. John… we don’t love so much. He was a coke head, douche in Dex in Blue and though he had glimmers of the kinda guy Dex might befriend, by the time we actually meet him, he’s gone over the edge.
This is his story.
We start out with John getting out of rehab, he’s still pretty shaky, but determined, only to find out that this newly sober John has to fly to Florida (across the world practically) to help clean out the apartment and distribute the remains of his first (and only?) love who has committed suicide.
Uh…Thanks Amy for taking it easy on us. NOT!
Tory and John grew up together, realized they were gay together, started doing porn together but I can’t really say they loved each other because Tory never treated John like someone he loved.
As time passes Tory descends down a spiral of sex and drugs and after years and three trips to rehab John decides Tory needs to do it on his own, cause whatever John is doing, isn’t helping.
Thus the birth of Johnnies.
Flash back to today, John is at Tory’s apartment where he meets the neighbor, Galen. Galen is a lawyer who had a terrible accident three years ago, and has since been caught up in a cycle of depression and pain med addiction.
So… of course John is super attracted to Galen, but really – can he? Should he? Is it remotely smart for him to take on another addict?
If I were to rank my favorite Johnnies books the order would be Dex, Super Sock Man, Chase, John, Ethan…. Black John is a good book, Amy doesn’t write anything bad. The angst is so painful. Tory hurt John so much. Dex (inadvertently) hurt John so much. But… the one piece I missed with Black John that Chase and Dex and even Super Sock Man had was a bit more of a connection between the lovers.
I loved that John could finally help Galen and that Galen wanted to be strong enough to show John he deserved someone whole. But I didn’t see them as a couple long enough to feel as attached to them as I have in other Amy Lane books.
On the other hand I absolutely loved that we got to see more of Dex and Kane again!
Audiobook Gomez Pugh is amazing! I love this new addition to the Johnnies series! Gomez has a great voice and does a tremendous job at differentiating the different characters. OMG! I was cracking up at his version of Tommy and Kane. Tommy has this great Boston accent and Kane has a sweetly Hispanic lilt. John is dry and self-effacing, Gaven is deliciously southern, Dex is quiet and stern, Ethan is deep and rumbly… it goes on and on. Though I loved the narrator for the previous books (Sean Crisden is one of my favorite narrators!) I really loved these added touches. It absolutely bumped this great book to amazing and I highly recommend listening to this if you are a fan of the series. It was delightful!