A MelanieM Review: The Marine by John Simpson and Robert Cummings

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The MarineDavid Stauffer, 18, joins the Marines as an escape from his drunken, abusive father and a dead end life.  David had no where to go and no financial support so joining the Marines was his only option. Matthew Kendricks, 18, joins because it is expected of him as a sort of family legacy handed down from father to son.  It didn’t matter that being a Marine was the last thing that Matthew wanted, he did what was expected to keep from disappointing his loving family.   Two such dissimilar young men from opposite ends of the social spectrum and familial backgrounds. Yet meeting in line for boot camp will change their lives forever.

The Marine by John Simpson and Robert Cummings is a story that feels shorter than its actual 101 pages.  While the first few chapters shows us the history and family situation of David and Matthew, the majority of the story takes place in boot camp at Parris Island.  David Stauffer is by far the more compelling of the two main characters.  A “bantam” of a man, David is short, intense, aggressive as only a young man with his background can be.  His ability to fight and persevere through each and every training exercise sees David rise through his section, even with the fact that he is almost defiantly gay.  Matthew, a quiet young man with almost no aptitude for military service other than his family legacy, is a harder sell.  Why?  Mostly because he doesn’t want to be a Marine (instead he wants to be an artist), isn’t physically fit as the others and really has not reason to be there other than he couldn’t stand up to his loving parents.  Unlike the other recruits, Matthew doesn’t have to be there and so our sympathy with his situation is not as  strong.

As with most typical John Simpson stories, romance is in short supply while the sexy scenes are not, which is logical given their situation and barracks living conditions.  David clearly pursues Matthew to Matthew’s dismay for the first part of the story.  Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is over but only recently, too recently to have changed the attitudes and actions of some of the Marine officers and other soldiers so David’s attraction to Matthew puts them both in vulnerable positions.  And only David is able to handle himself when it comes to fights.  So Matthew’s reservations are honest ones yet David doesn’t seem to get that.

I had several issues with this story, the largest of which is that Parris Island and David and Matthew’s boot camp experience comes off as less intense and transformative as it is reported to be.  One of the objectives of boot camp is to tear the man down so he can be rebuilt in the form of a Marine. That didn’t come across in the scenes or descriptions of their training.  Yes, David has some arduous trials to go through but there is never any question that he will make it through. Yes, you have your grizzled sergeants, the constant “in your face” yelling and river of insults and pejorative terms, but those scenes are lacking in  immediacy or believability.  In fact,heat, intensity, or any type of emotional impact is lacking in a story that should be filled to the brim with exhaustion, pain, deep emotional introspection, you name it, these two men should have gone through it and I never got that here, not once.

My other issue here?  That this story feels more like a bunch of chapters in a much larger story, the first half of a much larger book at that.  The reader is given David and Matthew’s background, we get their training experience at Parris Island and their graduation.  And then…nothing.  It just ends on what felt like a lovely, but forced ending.  I kept waiting for the rest of the story, their deployment, and everything that comes next.  Those missing chapters and part of David and Matthew’s story would have made this book a far more realistic read and have given it a completeness that this story is lacking.

So do I recommend this story?  Only as a type of adult military fairy tale.  If you want a quick, lovely, story with a happy feel good ending, than you will enjoy this.  However, if you have higher expectations for a story with Marines and authenticity, complete with sweat, dirt, angst, and pain, then I suggest you look elsewhere.  Both John Simpson and Robert Cummings have deep military backgrounds so my expectations for this story were high, perhaps too much so.  You might find yourself feeling differently about The Marines.  Pick it up and decide for yourself.

Cover artist: A.J. Corza.  I like the cover but the model for David should be much shorter and Matthew?  He’s a ginger.

Sales Links:      All Romance (ARe)          amazon           buy it here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 101 pages
Published September 20th 2014 by Cool Beans Publishing & Editing
ASINB00NRX4IZ0
edition languageEnglish

On Tour with “The Marine” by John Simpson and Robert Cummings

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Book Name: The Marine
Author Name: John Simpson and Robert Cummings

Author Bios:

John Simpson

John Simpson is a Vietnam Era Veteran, former Police Officer of the Year, a Federal Agent, a Federal Magistrate, an armed bodyguard to Saudi Royalty, a senior Federal Government executive, and recipient of awards from the Vice President of the United States and the Secretary of Treasury. He has just been hired by an international film production company to become a main script writer, and will start soon on a television series.


John feels that for too long fiction writers neglected gay men. John writes entertaining, enjoyable, and enthralling fiction centered on the lives and lifestyles of gay men. John allows his readers to see life through gay men’s’ eyes. And just like real life, John’s characters have active and exciting sex lives. John calls on his broad personal and professional experience in writing gay romance. John is author of numerous full length novels available through Dreamspinner Press and several short stories in Alyson Books anthologies.  His first book, Murder Most Gay, is based on the murder of a gay man in Orlando, Florida in 1980, which he investigated along with many others, as an intern from UCF in the legal program. The Orange County State’s Attorney’s Office utilized his prior experience as a police officer in many ways, including proving a suicide was in fact a homicide.


John lives with his partner of 39 years who he legally married in 2008, and their three Scottish Terriers. John is highly involved with the Church, specifically seeking to repair rifts between Christendom and the gay community. John graduated from the University of Central Florida in 1981, and received an S.T.L. in 1995.


John wishes to extend a very special thanks to his many female readers. He appreciates and loves the fact women enjoy male/male erotica, and he thanks you for your past and continued support. He hopes to never disappoint you, and always leave you wanting more!


John now has a total of over 40 full length novels in print as well as another 20 novellas and short stories!

Author Contact:

Email: John Simpson: Johnsimpsonbooks@hotmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/johnsimpsonbooks
Website:  http://johnsimpsonbooks.com/

Robert Cummings:

Robert Cummings lives in Pennsylvania with his partner and their black lab mix dog. Robert is an Iraqi freedom veteran with a seventeen-year law enforcement career. He enjoys the outdoors, family, and travel.

Author Contact:

Email Robert Cummings at robert.cummings1976@gmail.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/robert.cummings.330

Publisher: Cool Beans P & Ethe-marine-for-KindleSM
Cover Artist: A.J. Corza

Sales Links:  Cool Beans P & E       amazon       All Romance eBooks (ARe)

The Marine Blurb:

Two young men, David Stauffer and Matthew Kendricks, meet while processing into the Marine Corps for Basic Training. David is immediately attracted to the red haired, Matthew. As their training begins, David pursues Matthew to find out if the attraction is mutual. To his great pleasure, David learns that his attentions are not unwelcomed, but rather feared. Matthew, unlike David isn’t as comfortable with his fellow trainees finding out he’s gay.

As training progresses David proves himself to be superior to the other trainees. As a reward, he is given a short, on post leave and is allowed to take Matthew with him. This allows them a chance to explore each other’s bodies, rather than just glimpses in the showers.

From that moment the spark between the two burns hot and sets the stage for what is to come. When training ends, questions about their futures arise. Both men are forced to make decisions that will impact their futures, and potentially out them to the entire Marine Corps.

Categories: Erotica, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Military

The Marine Excerpt:

David and Matthew were drawn to each other like magnets. This was one of the few times they could lay on top of each other without anyone commenting on it. The tight green shirt pressed against David’s lean chest, Matthew licked his lips as they squared off to attack.

“You go first,” Matthew insisted.

David charged at Matthew full speed, the boy attempted to grab David’s wrist but was unsuccessful. David did not want to humiliate the Matthew in front of anyone so he stopped and backed up. He laid his hand on top of Matthew’s and placed the clammy hand where it needed to be for a successful hip throw.

Matthews’s shorts began to bulge out in the front, “Flip me.”

“You didn’t do yours yet,” David said confused.

“Flip me now, I’m getting hard,” Matthew whispered into David’s ear.

David smiled and grabbed the red head’s wrist. He flipped him onto the mat and leaned down to help him up. David pulled Matthew up. While he dusted his back off he slightly brushed his hand against Matthews tight little bubble butt.

“You’re not helping,” Matthew protested.

A drill instructor came over to them, “What in the ever loving world are you two doing? I better see more flipping and less jawing, do you get me!”

“Sir, Yes Sir!” they replied in unison.


Pages: 30,816 words, 112 pages

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11-Dec Love Bytes
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18-Dec Crystal’s Many Reviewers

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