Black Dog by John Terry Moore ~ Book Review by Leisa

Black Dog Title: Black Dog

Author: John Terry Moore

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Maria Fanning

Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

Australia is a nation in transition. Marriage equality looms but homophobia still rules. Depression and suicide are commonplace as Dean Prentice and his lover, Danny, grow up together in country Victoria. When Dean moves to a nearby regional center to study veterinary science, he finds acceptance and love when reunited with Danny. Profound tragedy visits Dean’s life and he grieves, moving on through a series of lovers both male and female and struggling to focus on his studies and his dream of becoming a veterinarian. He graduates and specializes in equine work.

With long hours and unrelenting pressure, he misses the support of a full time partner. The only constant in his life is his loyal Kelpie, Bruce. Then he meets Neil Andrews and falls in love. Neil is a stunning widower in his forties with children and grandchildren, and Dean realizes he wants kids of his own.

But Neil is still deep in the closet and while their relationship is passionate, it’s going nowhere permanent. They separate, and Dean contemplates marrying a woman for company and friendship. For the second time in Dean’s young life, depression reveals its ugly presence; this time there are medical professionals at hand and he might have a chance for love at last.

Leisa’s View:

There are some books that immediately grab me, and draw me into the story as I become emotionally invested in the characters. Unfortunately Black Dog is not one of these. Dean is an overall likable guy who experiences tremendous loss when his first love, Danny, commits suicide. Dean presses on with his veterinary studies, and has relationships (and casual sex) with both men and women, until he finally meets Neil, an older man that Dean falls for. Throughout it all, Dean’s black dog, Bruce, is his companion.

Dean is a good guy, but his character feels almost adrift emotionally. Dean realizes that Danny suffered from depression, and later learns that someone else he loves also experiences depression. I honestly feel that the author including depression into this story is important and courageous. So often, mental illness such as depression is largely ignored in many M/M romances, and its inclusion in Black Dog as significant to the plot is enlightened. The description of depression, its potential devastation, and its possible recovery, is well done. Kudos to the author for this!

Nevertheless, the quality and likability of characters in a story largely drive whether I enjoy the story as a whole. I just never really fall for Dean, nor do I become attached to any of the characters (other than Danny, who is such a fragile soul). The story, written from Dean’s perspective, is at times virtually devoid of emotion as Dean’s thoughts and actions are objectively described rather than experienced by the characters themselves. I am also bothered by Dean, a man who is a self-described homosexual, having sexual relationships with women just for the emotional support and companionship they can offer him. He even almost marries one woman because he desperately wants children. This willingness to use other people emotionally (even if they more or less know the score) makes me like Dean’s character less.

While I do not become enthralled with the character Dean, he works through his losses and challenges to find happiness and the promise of a loving future with Neil. And I love a nice happy ending!

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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