Series: Success #1
Author: Thom Collins
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publication Date: March 10, 2020
Length: 109 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
They’ll do anything for fame, whatever the cost.
Harry Alexander and Grant Hunter are big names in reality TV, but they couldn’t be more different. For Harry, fame happened by chance. He was working as a marine engineer on a cruise ship when the liner became the subject of a fly-on-the-wall documentary series. Harry’s good looks and charming personality made him an immediate hit with viewers, and he became the break-out star of the show.
Grant Hunter took no chances in his pursuit of fame. Having starred in the outrageous reality show Sexy Northerners, he grabbed success with both hands and didn’t let go. Grant is prepared to do whatever it takes to stay at the top—red-carpet appearances, parties, high-profile romances and X-rated videos. He’ll do anything in the name of self-promotion to maintain his notorious reputation.
When Harry arrives in Grant’s home city of Manchester, they have preconceived ideas about each other. As they realize they have more in common than they ever thought, they must overcome prejudice, rivalry and the social and professional barriers placed before them, if they’re ever to get together.
Harry Alexander had his fifteen minutes of fame a few years ago after being discovered by a documentary group aboard his ship where he served as a marine engineer. Ever since the show ended its last season, Harry has been hitting the reality star circuit appearing on TV specials, in various other venues and even at fashionable nightclubs where for a few hours of work schmoozing with fans he can make a buck. But the limelight has dimmed and, frankly, Harry is tired of it all, especially the outrageous behavior he sees so often from newer reality stars.
Grant Hunter currently stars in a hip, sexy show and is thirsty to cash in on every moment of fame he can grab. He’s not stupid, though, for he had his time early on when casual, frequent sex, alcohol and even recreational drugs was the name of the game. He finally woke up, thank heavens, and started to smarten up—saving his funds and investing them. Now he’s all about capitalizing on the fame he has while the going is good and squeezing the industry for every dime he can grab. Sure he may not always like how other stars around him act but his focus is on the cash. When he catches sight of the guy who he has had a major crush on for so long he does everything he can to get him alone. But every time he and Harry find a moment together, something or someone crashes the party and Grant despairs that he and Harry may never get a chance to explore whether they could be more than a quick grope while on the tour circuit.
Thom Collins has released a new story called Never Too Famous. Taking a long, unfiltered look at reality TV stars and the larger than life existence they lead when getting their moment in the spotlight is what this novella is all about. With one man, Grant, all in for the ride and milking the system for all he can get and the other, Harry, jaded and tired of what all the fame has done to him and others, the book looks to pair these two diametrically opposed men together and see the sparks fly—that is if they can ever get a moment alone.
It was fascinating to read about two guys who essentially had the same opportunities but chose different pathways and exit strategies. Harry really wanted to get back to what he loved—the sea—and start feeling good about himself rather than mindlessly signing autographs and posing for selfies. Grant, on the other hand, was driven to use every moment he could in order to remain on top and keep the money flowing in—so that eventually he could retire in ease. In essence, both men really saw the industry for what it was—a soul-sucking experience that had to be smartly navigated in order to both survive and keep their sanity and personality intact.
I thought the premise for the story was a good one and both characters had a real human side beyond the personas the adoring public saw. While I felt the emotions that finally built between Harry and Grant were pretty sudden and without much depth, I could still appreciate that Harry stayed true to himself despite his lusty response to Grant. Unfortunately I really missed the connection that I felt was needed to convince me that these two had the makings for a lasting relationship. That could be due to the fact that the story was not as developed as I may have liked and focused a bit too much on a side character that Grant was often pulled away to help when he was trying so desperately to be with Harry. No matter the reason, however, the lack of real emotional connection caused the story to fall flat for me.
I want to preface this next comment with this disclaimer. As a reviewer I often receive ARC’s—advanced reader copy. These are files that may have not been through a final edit where they are checked for things like syntax, spelling errors, missing words, etc. Having said that I am used to a few errors in the books I read for review. This novella, unfortunately, was packed with mistakes—way too many to dismiss. Often it was a missing word that threw the meaning of the sentence into question and made me pause to make sense of what I had just read. After a while I had real difficulty staying focused on the plot because nearly every other page I was hitting an obvious error. I am hopeful that despite this file not being labeled as an ARC it actually was and will have another go with a sharp-eyed editor prior to release.
In the end, Never Too Famous was just so-so—with no real excitement or intriguing story line to keep me invested. I think this author has good skill and I will look at some of their other work in order to get a better feel for their talent.
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