A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Loud and Clear by Aidan Wayne

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Loud and ClearThis is a very, very enjoyable story of a young cab driver, Jaxon, who suffers from dyslexia and has been told how dumb he is all his life. It’s also about a young executive, Caleb, who stutters so much he finds it difficult to mingle socially.

Jaxon likes his job as a cab driver. After all, he gets to meet people from all walks of life, and even though he can’t read, he’s memorized all the streets and important landmarks, so he has no problem getting around the city. One Tuesday night, he picks up a fare at a bar and takes him to Lincoln Towers, a fancy apartment complex that Jaxon remembers from his efforts to remember important buildings. The fare is Caleb, and as each succeeding Tuesday passes with Jaxon being called to pick up Caleb, the two men begin to learn a little about each other. Caleb doesn’t speak much, and when his stuttering is really bad, he resorts to sign language or leaving notes on the cab receipt. When he finds out Jaxon has difficulty reading those notes, he writes them in a way that is more easily read by most dyslexics.

One night when answering a call at a local bar, Jaxon is dismayed to find a drunken Caleb being escorted home by another man. When he learns the man plans to take him to his own place, Jaxon intervenes. Knowing he could lose his job, he confronts the man, demanding to take Caleb to Caleb’s home and telling the man that he knows Caleb well and knows he would want to go home. Though he risked his job for it, he’s actually saved Caleb from non-consensual sex, and when Caleb remembers most of it the next day, he reaches out to get in touch with Jaxon.

Though at first fearing recriminations, he quickly learns that Caleb is interested in treating him to dinner and thus begins a relationship between two men from seemingly completely different worlds. But at the core is the fact that both men are really not all that much different from each other. When Jaxon teaches himself enough basic sign language to make communication with Caleb easier, Caleb is floored. And Caleb forces Jaxon to see that he’s really not dumb or stupid; it takes a very intelligent man to memorize all the streets in the city and to teach himself enough sign language to communicate.

The author moves the story along quite quickly as the men’s dates are detailed, but the time in between the dates advances rather fast. The characters are so well done and so endearing, I would have liked this story to have been longer. There’s no explicit sex—just a budding romance and the chance for both men to find their soulmates with the most unlikely people. But it works, and they work, and I’m very impressed by this story from an author I haven’t previously read.


Cover art by L.C. Chase features a cab in motion with a blurred background reminiscent of the speed of the cab driving down the street and with bright dots symbolizing snow or freezing rain. It’s bright and colorful and perfect for this book.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 93 pages
Published May 23rd 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleLoud and Clear
ISBN 1626494347 (ISBN13: 9781626494343)
Edition LanguageEnglish

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: