Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Everyone at Jim Irving’s garage is gung ho about Wrench Wars, a new reality show featuring mechanics. Everyone, that is, except talented mechanic Chandler Scott, the sole employee who has refused to sign the contract. The rest of the mechanics are pressuring him too, because without Chandler—and his volatile interactions with his boss—no one’s getting on the show.
Chandler’s one ally is Jim’s son, Mark, who’s being forced to work for his dad until he pays down his student loans or finds a better job—and who’s been Chandler’s secret lover for a while.
Then a playful tryst in the garage blows up in their faces, giving the network ammo to blackmail Chandler by threatening to out Mark to his father. Now Chandler is backed into a corner, and Mark needs to decide how far he’s willing to go to protect the man who’s been sharing his bed… and may have stolen his heart.
Last Mechanic Standing is an introductory novella. It’s the first of four tight together by the reality tv show, Wrench Wars. Marie Sexton will be joining in with a re-release and a new novella. The concept is promising; it just didn’t work for me in this particular installment.
Chandler Scott is the only mechanic in Jim Irving’s garage that hasn’t sign the consent form to be part of the reality show by the time the story starts. He’s also the one the production company is counting on to bring up the ratings due to his explosive altercations with Jim. Chandler doesn’t want to have his life on TV, but especially not his relationship with Jim’s son.
After finishing college, Mark Irving came home to work on his father garage. Unable to find a job in his field, he’s stuck living with his parents and having a mountain of student loans to pay. The only good thing in his life is Chandler. They have been together for about two years, and their relationship keeps them both afloat.
The stress of having the cameras around and their need for each other caught them unaware, and the network gets the opportunity they were looking for to get Chandler to sign the contract. He does, and the reality show goes into production, wrecking havoc in Chandler’s and Mark’s life.
The reader passes the majority fo the time in Chandler’s and Mark’s heads. There isn’t much happening with the show itself. The primary focus of the story is how the show affects the MCs’ relationship. We get many pages of characters’ introspects and musings about their past, their present, and the future they think they couldn’t have. It’s almost like reading their diaries.
The interactions with other characters were limited to short bursts to bring the point home about Chandler worriedness about signing the contract. We do see Mark’s growth and how he steps up to his dad, perhaps too late, to put his relationship with Chandler first. They’re a lovely couple when they have time to be together, but their story wasn’t convincing enough.
Overall, this novella is a nice short read that promises a brighter set of stories. I’m counting on the four of them to work well as a set. Most likely, in the end, we would have a better picture of all the relationships.
I like the cover by Garrett Leigh, but it seems a little generic for the story. The lettering job is very well done, though.
ebook, 80 pages
Published: July 6, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 1634773802 (ISBN13: 9781634773805)
Edition Language: English
Series: Wrench Wars
Book #1: Last Mechanic Standing