Review: You Can’t Go Home Again by Michael Murphy

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

You Can't Go Home Again coverAt 32, Jack is a seasoned police officer.  He has done everything possible to prepare his rookie partner, Kevin “The Kid”,   for their undercover operation.  But during the drug bust, things go horribly wrong and Jack is left with his partner dying in his arms.  Off duty and beset by guilt, Jack and his Chief accept the responsiblity of relaying the news to Kevin’s wife, another police officer. At loose ends, Jack and Marie become friends and he agrees to go with her to Alabama to bury Kevin in his home town.

At the church, Jack is in for another shock when Devin, Kevin’s twin brother,appears at the funeral.  Devin is a photographer and gay.  He is also determined to help Marie when they all find out that Marie is pregnant.   A tentative romance continues when Devin makes the surprise decision to leave California and move  east to help Marie,.  Such impetuousness is rewarded with a slammed door and an offer of a guest room from Jack. Soon their romance is hotter than ever.

But each time, things start to settle down for Jack, Devin, and even Marie, obstacles rise up to shatter the calm and bring them all to the edge of despair once more.  Kevin’s mother blames Marie for Kevin being a police officer and his death.  And the aftermath of the drug deal is still playing out.

You can’t go home again but what happens when the new home you are trying to make is threatened at every turn?  Jack,and Devin are about to find out.

The opening chapters of You Can’t Go Home Again are so heartbreaking that they will stay with you for the entire  book.  It brings the short-lived character of The Kid alive, and he ends up hovering over the proceedings for the rest of the story.  You get a real feel for Jack and his partner as things go very wrong and the Kid makes one shattering bad decision that will cost him his life.  It’s shocking, painful, and the death scene is gut wrenching.  Michael Murphy really delivers in the scenes where the officers are helping a shattered Jack dress and leave for Kevin’s home to relay the news of Kevin’s death to his wife.  Here the pain and strength of the Thin Blue Line is poignantly portrayed and it gives a ring of authenticity to Jack as a law enforcement officer.

The power of those opening pages are so strong that sometimes the rest of the story fades under its impact.  But that element of soft discourse is needed after such an emotional start.  Marie’s character, especially, almost requires a quiet fortitude that comes through in the narrative.  Murphy shows the restrained and stress filled support both Jack and Marie bring to each other.  Jack in feeling that he hadn’t done enough to get to know his partner and Marie filling in the gaps for Jack from Kevin’s perspective and hers.  It’s a lovely relationship and a touching one.

The ugliness of the Alabama family and the strain of the funeral are realistic and shocking .  Here the antagonism of the mother and the reveal of the twin brother come together to show how shattering Kevin’s death is and how far its impact spreads.  It also helps to bring  Jack, Marie and Devin together as a unit as characters and in the eyes of the reader.  You can almost feel the scrabbled together family bonds forming.

Murphy’s story still have some twists and turns as it turns the halfway point,  One ties up neatly with the events that occur in the beginning and others from relationships still playing out  from peoples pasts.

There are a few things I wish had been added, last names for one.  I feel having a whole name  contributes to a complete character identity and that was lacking all over the place here.  Too, I wish the character of Devin had been a little more realized.  He came across as less a complete person than his brother who is alive for only a small amount of time on the pages.  Still, I loved the relationships that formed here.  Whether it is the romance between Jack and Devin, or the brothers/sisterly ones that formed between  Jack, Devin, and Marie, I enjoyed watched each and every one form and deepen over time.

I do recommend this story and think you will find You Can’t Go Home Again a rewarding way to spend the day reading.

 

Sales Link:              Dreampsinner Press           All Romance eBook (ARe)      Amazon You Can’t Go Home Again

 Cover art by L.C. Chase.  I like the cover but that model is either fine for The Kid or Devin but too young looking for Jack.

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published July 18th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 17th 2014)
ISBN139781627988995
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://gayromancewriter.com/wordpress/?

In Our Author Spotlight: Lee Brazil on Writing, Pulp Friction and Growing Up! (contest)

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Lee Brazil’s In from the Cold Series –  Pulp Friction 2014 Elemental Connections!

Lee Brazil stopped by today to talk about Pulp Friction, his series In from the Cold and writing.  He also brought along a terrific contest for you all to enter.  Look out for the details Lee has supplied towards the end of his guest blog.  Good morning, Lee!

Good morning all! Thank you, Melanie, for letting me steal your blog for the day. *sips coffee* For those who don’t know me, I’m Lee Brazil, author of m/m Romance with Breathless Press, Evernight Publishing, Totally Bound and Pulp Friction. It’s Pulp Friction that brings me here today. I’m getting ready to start working on my fifth In From the Cold book of the year, the final single title in the series.

So I thought I’d take a short break and begged Melanie to let me do a giveaway on her blog. She very kindly said yes, and then I realized…That meant I’d have to write a blog post of some sort to go along with the giveaway. Instantly, every idea deserted me. I could almost see the little buggers out the corner of my eye, like will-o-th’-wisps vanishing in droves, sparks dying out and leaving me in darkness, wondering why I do this to myself.

Then a review caught my eye…and reminded me of something. In the Out in the Cold series, Finn has always fancied himself as something of a Prince Charming, a knight in shining armor out to save the downtrodden and rescue the prince. And I thought, what about you?

What did you always want to be? What did you picture yourself as when you were ten?

That’s a kind of complicated question, because I wasn’t very steadfast at the time. I’d watch a great movie and picture myself as a character in it…Say Star Wars. I’m pretty sure that Finn would have been Luke Sky walker. Other people would choose Han Solo. I’m pretty sure that some even wanted to be Darth Vader.

Me? I wanted to be Obi Wan Kenobi.

Watch Star Trek, and people were clamoring to be Kirk, Spock, McCoy even. Not I. Hero of the galaxy? Saving the universe from Klingon oppression through sheer bravado, courage or heart? (Did you ever notice the similarities between Star Trek and the Wizard of Oz? But that’s a different post) I had a slew of favorites from Star Trek…but if you made me choose, and I could be only one? I wanted to be Scotty. Screw the universe, save my ship!

So as an adult, I have been several things. I was a student for what seemed like forever, at the whim of red tape and bureaucracy. I worked retail, and fast food, and even did a stint as a phone operator updating directories. Then I was a teacher, and I learned that Obi Wan hid a lot of his real feelings from us. Teaching is a grand profession, and it was full of moments of sheer exhilaration and joy. BUT… It is also one of THE most frustrating and wearing of professions. So yes, I did sort of fulfill my childhood ambitions to teach, but after fifteen years I retired, somewhat dis-spirited.

Today? I write. I have a hard time sometimes curbing the instinct to “teach” – i.e. write blogs on correct grammar and word usage etc. But I enjoy writing immensely and I think that I wouldn’t have made it here without that fifteen year stop in America’s classrooms.

As for Scotty? Well, my ship is a hundred year old farmhouse and sometimes it seems like keeping it standing is a full time labor of love.

What about you? Who did you think you would be when you grew up?

Leave me a comment here and tell me what you wanted to be when you were ten, and you’ll be entered to win a random drawing for a $10 ARE gift card.
*Contest begins Friday Aug. 15th and ends Friday August 22. One entry per person, winner selected by random number designation and notified via email. (Must provide valid email with comment). Winner will be selected Saturday-Sunday Aug. 23/24 and notified/announced Monday Aug. 25th.

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maginifying glass with Take a LookAuthor Name: Lee Brazil
Author Bio:
Somewhere in a small town in up-state New York are a librarian and a second grade teacher to whom I owe my life. That might be a touch dramatic, but it’s nevertheless one hundred percent true.

Because they taught me the joy of reading, of escaping into worlds crafted of words.

Have you ever been nine years old and sure of nothing so much as that you don’t belong? Looked at the world from behind glasses, and wondered why you don’t fit?

Then turn the page and see… there you are, running from Injun Joe in a dark graveyard; there you are fencing with Athos; there you are…beneath the deep blue sea- marveling at exotic creatures with Captain Nemo.

I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now, it’s why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it’s why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.

If I’d had my way, I’d have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and that’s the best thing in the world to be if you ask me, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.

If I hadn’t learned to value the stories between the pages, who knows what would have happened? Certainly not college…teaching…or writing.

Author Links:Cold Comfort cover

Cover Reveal for Eden Winters ‘A Matter of When’‏

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It’s Here!  The cover reveal for Eden Winter’s A Matter of When!  And there is a contest to enter as well. Use the Rafflecopter link to enter to win Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘A Matter of When’ after it comes out!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

When600x600BannerBook Name: A Matter of When
Author Name: Eden Winters

Author Bio:
Captivated young by story-telling, Eden Winters’ earliest memories include spinning tales for the family’s pets. Her dreams of writing professionally took a sojourn into non-fiction, with a twelve-year stint in technical documentation.

She began reading GLBT novels as a way to better understand the issues faced by a dear friend and fell in love with the M/M romance genre. During a discussion of a favorite book, a fellow aficionado said, “We could do this, you know.” Good-bye gears, motors, and other authors’ characters; hello plots and sex scenes. So far that’s produced such award winning novels as The Wish, Settling the Score, The Angel of Thirteenth Street, Duet, Naked Tails, and Diversion.

Somewhat of a nomad, Eden has visited seven countries so far. She currently calls the southern US home, and many of her stories take place in the rural South. Having successfully raised two children, she now balances the day job with hiking, rafting, spoiling her grandchildren, and stalking the wily falafel or elusive tofu pad Thai at her favorite restaurants. Her musical tastes run from Ambient to Zydeco, and she’s a firm believer that life is better with fur kids and Harley Davidsons.

Author Contact:
For more information about Eden, please visit her website at http://www.edenwinters.com. Be sure to look for Eden’s soon-to-be-published works: A Matter of When and Manipulation.

A Matter of When400x600Title: A Matter of When by Eden Winter
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist:  Reese Dante

Blurb:
Wealth. Fame. Gold record. Hookers and Cocaine front man Henri Lafontaine has it all…including a control freak manager, band members who smile as they sharpen blades for his back, and last but damn well not least, a fan out to steal his heart. Literally. Trying to write hit songs and plan a comeback in the midst of the hi-fi white noise of LA feels more like watching his world implode, until he’s offered a month in the Colorado Rockies for vocal coaching.

Sebastian Unger’s rich, classically trained tenor inspires wicked thoughts. More than a pretty choir boy, he cracks the whip without hesitation to drive tattooed bad-boy Henri to give his all to his music. Working, fighting, and finally establishing a fragile peace, they find inspiration and perhaps more in each other. But the clock is ticking. Time will pull Henri back to the grit and gold of LA’s mean streets and fame machine, while Sebastian must return to the opera circuit, where a mysterious man known as “the patron” holds far too much sway. Only the trust they’ve built on a handful of notes bridges their two worlds…and shields them from malice.

Excerpt: to follow

WhenBadgeTour Dates: 8/15/14WillPride

Tour Stops: Full Moon Dreaming, Parker Williams, SA McAuley, Prism Book Alliance, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Hearts on Fire, Iyana Jenna, Angel Martinez, Nephylim, Carly’s Book Reviews, Velvet Panic, 3 Chicks After Dark, MM Good Book Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, The Hat Party, Andrew Q. Gordon, Book Reviews and More by Kathy\
Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘A Matter of When’ after it comes out