Date published: July 2013
Genre: M/M contemporary
Book format: E-book
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by Keldon__
Brad Boney set the bar high with his debut novel, The Nothingness of Ben. The Return is an m/m contemporary with a ghostly twist: a hint of coincidence, a breath of reincarnation, a whiff of unfinished business. A modern story with roots in the past.
Topher Manning is working days as a mechanic and nights as a musician. He and his three band mates live together and play together, struggling to rise above the hordes of other Austin Texas bands. Topher has dated a few women, but hasn’t exactly seen stars in his encounters with the opposite sex.
NPR music critic Stanton Porter is in town to see Bruce Springsteen, and unexpected car trouble brings Stanton to the garage where Topher works. When Stanton’s friend Martin becomes ill and can’t attend the concert, Stanton invites Topher to attend. The Boss’s “Thunder Road” kicks off a series of events that brings Stanton’s past together with his present.
Over two decades ago, Hutch Mead was the love of Stanton’s life. Hutch was a star that burned bright and fast; his loss left Stanton reeling. Some loves may be great enough to transcend time…
Inklings of the AIDS epidemic color the portion of the story set in the early eighties, but this book isn’t about the devastation of the virus. It’s a romance through and through, along with an inspiring story of realizing dreams and putting the past to rest.
The book alternates chapters of the present with chapters of Stanton’s past. The first time this switch takes place it’s not clear what’s happening, and this change in chronology jolts the reader out of the story, floundering around for footing. After the first jump, it’s possible to settle in to the pattern of the story. A simple note about the year at the beginning of the chapters set in the eighties would have taken care of the problem.
The characters are engaging, and the plot intriguing. Some sections of dialogue where the characters discuss music drag on too long, and were beyond what was necessary to move the plot. The resolution is satisfying.
Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable read. It would have been enhanced with better labeling regarding time, and brevity in the long music discussions. I look forward to more from this author.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.