Author: Lucas Guard
Publisher: NineStar Press
Publication Date: March 2, 2020
Length: 90 pages
Reviewed by Michael
Devastated by the death of his father, Gage, an artist with a secret life, struggles to find his way back to “normal”. When rising baseball star Caleb arrives at his door, an unlikely romance simmers between them, but a cowboy coach, with major league ambitions of his own, will stop at nothing to keep them apart. Tempers flare as their deepest secrets are unearthed and the two must choose between chasing their dreams or embracing their newfound love.
This is one of those reviews that’s incredibly difficult to write. Not because the book is poorly written. Far from it, in fact. For a novella that doesn’t have a lot of page space to really flesh out the characters, there’s a lot of characterization for the MC, Gage.
The survivor of a car accident that claimed the life of his father and, currently, the use of his arm, Gage spends his days in a guilt-ridden Percocet and alcohol haze. His job at the local drag bar has been reduced to doorman due to his injuries. Packages keep arriving at his doorstep, addressed to his father, of things the latter ordered prior to his passing. One of those “packages” comes in the form of Caleb, a baseball player for the local Minor League team. Before his death, Gage’s father had apparently signed them up to be the host family for one of the players.
Despite the Percocet haze, or maybe because of it, the reader truly gets a sense for the depths of Gage’s pain and guilt. Your heart truly aches for him.
No, the issues I had were two-fold.
First, everything happens fast. I understand that, as a novella, there isn’t always a lot of “real estate” to truly flesh out everything. With that said, this is one of those books that could use a longer page length. The writing is really good, but the characters and story suffer because there isn’t enough time to build them up, especially Caleb.
The second issue is the decisions made by the characters. I understand the concept of going where the characters lead when writing. I also get that you don’t make the most rational decisions when your high on drugs and drunk on wine. That said, there are a couple of scenes that really had me scratching my head. (Or crossing my knees because the museum scene was painful to read. Not because it was poorly written, but because of content)
In the end, I think that if this book were a full-length novel as opposed to a novella, the author would have had more room to tell a really great story. And, leave out the museum scene.
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