Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 164 pages
Blurb: Tales from Kansas
Because of an opportunity he’d be a fool to turn down, Lyle Powers transfers to his company’s warehouse in central Kansas. The last thing he expects is to meet another gay man in the small town, let alone one who captures his interest.
Roger Kypers is a recovering alcoholic with a twelve-year-old daughter he only gets to see for part of the summer. Neither Lyle nor Roger is looking for a relationship, and they fumble at the start, yet emotions build as Roger shows Lyle the landmarks of Oz.
But when Roger’s wicked witch of an ex-wife threatens to take his daughter away for good if he doesn’t act “normally,” he’s faced with the challenge of letting her get away with it, or fighting to accept himself and standing up for what he knows is right.
Review: A love story of letting go, getting to know and surrendering to the new, very much a typical Andrew Grey love story. Lyle and Roger are brought together by a simple turn of events, and both find something unexpected but greatly desired. I liked the characters Roger and Lyle, how they engaged with each other, both a little hesitant and how they overcame obstacles within themselves and in their relationship.
Lyle is described as an ordinary guy who works, eats, sleeps, occasionally hangs out with friends, nothing too exciting. Lyle’s friends feel that he is living a repetitious lifestyle. So when the chance of a new job with a new location is offered to Lyle, his friends encourage him to take up the opportunity of a new life, even if it is only temporary. Although concerned with being dumped in the middle of nowhere, he ponders on his past and considers his friends might be right, but the last thing Lyle expects is to find a life let alone romance.
Unbeknown to Lyle he happens upon possibly the only other gay man in town, Roger. As Lyle gets to know Wamego town, and it’s occupants, the community is friendly enough; they talk fondly of Roger whilst also giving away information surrounding his personal affairs. Lyle, although drawn to Roger is not sure he wants to or should get involved, after all he’s already had his fair share of bad relationships, and Roger appears to give off mixed messages.
Roger has lived a closeted life of a gay man and alcoholic whilst being married with a child. Although divorced and recovering from his drinking addiction, his ex-wife still has a great hold over Roger and his life. She uses their daughter against him, threatening to out him and take away any visitation or custody rights due to his sexuality and drinking. Roger comes across at first as a quiet, hard working man with confidence, but as we learn more about Roger, his weaker side is exposed. Can Roger let Lyle in and stand up for himself, will Lyle be able to take on Roger’s afflictions and see them both through to the other side of the rainbow?
I enjoyed the read, although I’ll admit I did feel a bit apathetic towards the whole evil ex-wife and fighting over the kid situation; it was just too banal for me. But on the whole another very good book from Mr Grey, just not one of my favourites.
Reviewed by Teddy