Author: John Inman
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/10/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance
It’s an old, old story: a tale of the consequences of good and evil. Plus the limitless power of faith and love, and how they can forever change an empty life.
When Charlie Strickland, a reclusive artist living in the backwoods of Indiana, opens his door to find a handsome young stranger standing naked on his front porch, an astounding odyssey begins.
It doesn’t take Charlie long to fall head over heels in love with his oddly innocent visitor. The young man calls himself Joe. Just Joe. But when amazing things begin to happen, Charlie soon comes to realize who Joe really is.
What follows will turn Charlie’s world, and everyone else’s, upside down.
From the blurb and the cover, most potential readers will probably be able to determine what this story is about, who Joe is, and what the outcome will most likely be. It is still a compelling story, despite the predictability of events and conclusion.
Love them or hate them, the characters are well-written and have definite roles in the movement of the plot and Joe’s purpose for being where he is. I particularly like Charlie, and his faith in and love for Joe is the backbone of this story. Though this is not technically a romance, love is a key theme, and Joe and Charlie’s relationship embodies that word on multiple levels. Their scenes together are beautiful and spiritual and easily my favorite part of this story.
My ambivalence about this novel is difficult to discuss without venturing into spoiler territory. I can say that I was a bit put off by the lack of subtlety and the amount of re-telling of an old story. Religious messages and symbolism are strong and obvious, and once it is clear who Joe is and why he is in Charlie’s life, an overwhelming sense of foreboding overshadows the remainder of the reading. The expectation of balancing elements such as inspiration and hope is never quite met, and this is somewhat disappointing.
Despite this, Mr. Inman’s vivid imagery and gorgeous word-smithing are stellar and something I have come to respect and admire in his writing. This is the third of his titles I have read, and each time I have been transported and completely immersed in the story through his graphic details and rich descriptions.
Overall, The Second Son is an interesting tale that draws the reader in and provides an opportunity for thought and reflection. With touches of m/m romance, it is a spiritual story that speaks to the existence of good and evil in the world and the horrific consequences that could be in store if humanity follows its current path.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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