Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Review: 'The Carpenter's Secret' by Noah Harris

New York author Noah Harris (also known as John Harris) is a 28-year-old bisexual man currently single and living in a small apartment in New York City. Though somewhat shy he is a humanitarian who sees the world in which we live as a community bonded in a natural approach to our feelings and ourselves and our interaction with others. His bisexual nature allows him to create well rounded characters – most all of his novels are M/M romances but they are much more than the usual erotica we encounter in film, television, and social media. John explores the boundaries of types and wields a strong brush as he paints his fascinating people. This is Book 1 of a new series he calls FAMILY SECRETS.

In this short book John again explores the interstices of M/M relationships, offering more psychological insight into relationships in general than most other authors no matter their genre. His prose and character development grow with each book and he understands that valuable asset of introducing the reader in a comfortable manner to the personalities of his characters.

Noah offers a fine little prologue to draw us into the story – ‘Later, when he really thought about it, everything that had happened in his life could be blamed on a single bit of paperwork. A lot of changes in life could be attributed to one benign object or event in life, he knew that. Yet, the events that followed this single act could never have been foretold, not even by the hokiest of psychics. Being an insurance adjuster wasn’t exactly what you would call an exciting life. It certainly paid the bills quite well, and the benefits weren’t anything to scoff at either. Steady hours, decent pay, and no one had to question what you did when it came up over cocktails. His coworkers weren’t terrible, but they weren’t inordinately interesting either. It was dry, long, thankless work that just happened to pay the bills, and then some. Dean Mathews had never pictured his life that way. While he had certainly kept his college courses in line with a backup plan, his original major had been in agriculture. Minors in various animal care subjects and farming knowledge, and he had been set. His parents had not been particularly supportive of his decision, but what could they do? For a few years, he had been set to live the life of a farmer, and with his knowledge growing and his degree getting closer each day, this was all he thought he’d ever do.’

The summary holds the tale together: ‘Dean Mathews leads a normal, if boring life. His career, his home, his social life, none of it is really what he wanted for himself, but it’s the life he has nonetheless. A small coincidence brings him the opportunity to take ownership of his grandfather’s old farm, to bring the place under his wing and careful hand. This choice will lead him from his old life to face a host of new challenges, most of which he expected. The unforeseen comes in the form of Mikael Reed, a simple carpenter… with a few secrets. The friendship that forms between them becomes more, and eventually Mikael’s secrets, and the echoes of family legends come to bear, altering Dean’s once stale life, forever.’

Noah’s writing continues to mature and this short novel is revelatory in the manner in which he involves suspense with attraction. Another fine novel from Noah Harris – and we know there are more on the way! Grady Harp, June 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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