Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
When Captain James Lee Hooker and his lover, Sergeant Easy Jacobs, were in the Army, they made a mistake that got a young soldier hurt. Three years later, they’re civilians again, living far apart, haunted by what they lost. Now that young soldier needs their help.
With his grandmother’s one-eyed Chihuahua riding shotgun, James Lee climbs into Easy’s pickup for a trip across the American Southwest. They set out to rescue a friend, but their journey transforms them with the power of forgiveness.
Hallelujah, that spare, rare , totally wonderful literary voice known as Sarah Black is back in American Road Trip. How I’ve missed her unique perspective. Her narrative so powerfully evocative in rendering the American West and US veterans so vividly alive and haunting have stayed with me story after story. Now comes another.
Told in alternating time frames, we get the past that has framed the current circumstances under which Captain James Lee Hooker now finds himself. Adrift after being discharged from the Army, he was sent to look after his grandmother in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he ends up staying after she dies, looking after her house and dog Tino.
Sergeant Easy Jacobs is sent on a mission. Go look for his cousin, Austin. The very same young soldier from their troop injured in the IED blast in Afghanistan, a blast that left lasting reverberations on Easy and James Lee. It sends him looking for his Captain and a long overdue meeting with his ex-lover.
American Road Trip pulls out all the convoluted feelings between these two in one memorable road trip across America, in small cabins and motels with Tino, a one-eyed Chihuahua, who they keep telling the people they encountered different stories as to how he came to lose that eye. Each tale more more hysterical than the previous one and just as unbelievable. All the while the men reconnecting, exploring their past, their present, and just perhaps seeing if they have a future again together.
I read it twice.
This particularly american rite of passage was so sweet, touching, and yes, hilarious in sections. How I loved that dog. I also found out he was based on Sarah’s rescue dog, a Chihuahua also named Tino, made it all the more heartwarming.
This is a HFN, which is as it should be given their past, this road trip, and their recent reconnection. I would love for Sarah to bring them back later for us to see how it all works out, Austin included. So many stories on that road. I feel they were just getting started.
If you are expecting a lot of erotica, this is probably not the book for you. This is all about characterizations, the past and where our current paths will take us. It’s about forgiveness and redemption. And the beauty that can be found in the small out of the way places along the road if you only stop to look.
Yes, I highly recommend this and the author. Welcome back, Sarah Black. You’ve been missed.
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design. I liked that cover. It has the colors I think of when I t hink of the desert and the American West. And yes that’s James Lee rocking that ponytail and yoga pants all right. Ok, I love it.
book, 86 pages
Expected publication: March 16th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press