Reviewed by JustJen
Author: Bryan Keating
Heroes: Taylor Quinn/
Genre: MM/FF Contemporary
Length: 320 Pages
Publisher: Bryan Keating
Release Date: July 28, 2014
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: After ditching a flight for a new adventure, former, reality television star, Taylor Quinn, is scrambling the colorful streets of Chicago with notorious addictions. Taylor quickly begins dating a privileged drug dealer who unknowingly provides him with the necessities he desires. Just as he starts to better his future, Taylor’s destructive roommate reenters his life and the two struggle to feed their addiction to addictions. Unfortunately, Taylor consistently causes chaos into the lives of his loved ones as he strives for an escape.
In separate but intertwined stories, Taylor’s best friend, Adrienne Ponziano and his favorite frenemy, Lynn Riley, have impulsive adventures of their own. Adrienne, while unhappily engaged, romances numerous men in hopes of gaining the true love she desires. Her actions activate her hidden family history sending her on a chase around Illinois. Closet, lipstick lesbian Lynn turns towards online dating websites to explore her hidden sexuality. Her double life leads her to a mischievous woman connected to everyone she seems to know.
Review: I’m really not sure where to start with this review. This is not a story I would normally read, but it sounded interesting, so I thought I would give it a go.
This is the story about a young guy, Taylor, and his “friends.” It is about their lives while living in the gay area known as Boystown, Chicago. Taylor is a very young, both in age and maturity, flamboyant twink. He is also a bit of a drug addict. He makes bad decision after bad decision and is easily led and fueled by just about everyone he comes into contact with, with disastrous results. So much so that when he does have opportunities to make something better of himself, he screws them up royally. He goes from club to club, often getting kicked out, along with his rapidly growing horrible reputation.
His friends – one is engaged, but cheating, another is a closeted lesbian, and another is his equally screwed up drug-addicted roommate. The story switches back and forth between their various goings on and reads much like a soap opera. There is a lot of cheating, backstabbing and drama to and among them all. They are all pretty much living on drugs – pot, coke, unknowns and more. None of them really have jobs, but they somehow manage to exist and help each other enough to survive. There is a lot of sex going on, though not between the friends, but none of it is descriptive which is probably a good thing in this case, as there really wasn’t any intimacy or relationship going on for any length of time.
This stays true through the end of the story. Nothing ever really changes from beginning to end with regards to behavior, actions, etc. I think some lessons might have been learned along the way, but it was kind of hard to tell. I kept waiting for Taylor to get his act together at some point, start to become a better person, to others and to himself, but that never really happened either. Maybe at the very end when he tucks his tail and goes back home to his mother, although it is hard to envision that having a positive ending given the fact that she threw him out years before.
Setting the story aside for a minute, one thing I always struggle with is writing in present tense. I mean that I really struggle with it. It takes me out of a story and puts me on the outside looking in, as opposed to being a part of it. It reads more like someone is narrating something to me with some dialog thrown in the mix. I find this also does not help to warm me up to any of the characters as well. It just distances everything. So, I really think most, if not all, stories like this would benefit immensely if they weren’t written in this style. But, that could just be my own issue.
This is Mr. Keating’s first novel, and I really believe he is making a good start. He is definitely showing a lot of potential in this first self-published novel, which is quite an accomplishment. This was a very different kind of story, which you have no trouble learning from the blurb. The words flow nicely but they need to move the story along a little more than they did in this particular case. If you are a lover of twinks, seemingly down on their luck, be sure to give this a try. I would love to see a follow up taking place, maybe a few years down the road, with Taylor in a better place, minus the drug addiction and feeling better about himself and his life.
Overall Impression: It was okay
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*