Author: Brad Boney
Narrator: Charlie David
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tricia Dunlap
Story Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 12/03/2013
Length: 11 hours 10 minutes
Genre: M/M Romance
Music. Topher Manning rarely thinks about anything else, but his day job as a mechanic doesn’t exactly mesh with his rock star ambitions. Unless he can find a way to unlock all the songs in his head, his band will soon be on the fast track to obscurity.
Then the South by Southwest music festival and a broken-down car drop New York critic Stanton Porter into his life. Stanton offers Topher a ticket to the Bruce Springsteen concert, where a hesitant kiss and phantom vibrations from Topher’s cell phone kick off a love story that promises to transcend ordinary possibility.
Firstly I have no idea why The Nothingness of Ben, The Return and the The Eskimo Slugger aren’t linked as a series as they are certainly intertwined with each other. The Return could almost be book one but it falls as book two and works well. There are seven months between publishing dates for the first two books and I’m not sure whether that’s the reason I forgot about so many of the links or if it’s due to the time elapsed since I last read them but they work really, really well when read one straight after the other.
This is a very different read to The Nothingness of Ben. It’s almost like two stories – you have the current day which is Topher and Stanton’s story but then you have a story running alongside that from 20 years ago that is Hutch and Stanton’s. The first story is full of hope for the future and new experiences. The second story is full of memory and regret and the harsh reality of growing up when HIV tore up so many lives and stole so many people from their loved ones.
Stanton Porter and Topher Manning meet purely by coincidence over a broken down car and Bruce Springsteen tickets. Topher is straight but is seriously attracted to Stanton and compelled to kiss him, it’s another GFY storyline that feels fluid and works well. As the story unfolds you have to ask yourself was it coincidence or was it some well-rehearsed plan of the universe as the flashbacks start and take Stanton back to the first and only love of his life nearly two decades earlier.
There are a lot of characters in this story. Stanton, Chris (Hutch) and three friends are almost a mirror image of Stanton, Topher and three friends. Yet again Brad Boney’s writing draws you in and as with the first book although it’s a romance it’s not just about the main characters. This story draws on many men who all bring something unique to the story and so many circumstances that link it back to parts of Ben and Travis’s story. That empty chair at the table………
It’s difficult to say anything else without giving too much away. The two stories play out until they join. There is pain, loss and love and even a small amount of forgiveness. My advice when you pick this up would be to read it with an open mind, leave your beliefs out of it and have a huge packet of tissues – it really did turn into a sob fest for me.
Charlie David was perfect once again. A brilliant narration of a very emotional story.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
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,
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