Sunday, September 24, 2017

Book Review: 'The Road Trip' by Jerry Cole

From his website we learn a bit more about this solid author Jerry Cole, a gay author who lives in California and has been writing fiction since he was a child. As a young adult, he worked as a freelance writer in the evenings and on weekends. In the summer of 2015 he published his first gay romance short story on Amazon. Overwhelmed by the positive response he decided to quit his “day job” and took up writing gay romance full time. When he’s not writing steamy M/M romance he enjoys globetrotting, watching movies with family and friends, working out, & being dragged down the road by his two Great Danes.

Jerry excels at including contemporary life situations in his stories, one of the many reasons he has caught on with the young set. He understands the background of the lives of his characters so that by the time the romance hits, we have a solid idea of the personality, conflicts, and needs each character owns.

How often are characters defined so well in the first page of a book as this? – ‘The roar of the crowd fills my ears and the sky turns dark with raining graduation caps. I half-heartedly toss mine in the air as well, wary of losing it in the cacophony of noise and red fabric around me. As it falls back to Earth, I snag it from the air. I turn toward Jordan and roll my eyes when I see his fists are in the air and he’s grinning manically. He spins toward me and wraps me up in a bear hug. My heart skitters and blood rushes to my cheeks, and I cover my face as best I can when he lets me go. “We did it, man!” he crows in my ear. He whoops, facing away from me to bellow into the crowd. A smile sits on my face, but my stomach clenches. Yes, we’re done, school is behind us, degrees are officially in our hands, and the world is our oyster. I have no clue where I’m going or what I’ll do, but I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is being unsure where Jordan is going when reality crashes down on us tomorrow morning.’

But on to the interesting story – ‘College graduation usually signals the beginning of independence, the end of any remnants of adolescence and childhood, and a time for embarking on new and exciting ventures. For recent graduate Dyson, it represents the opposite – confusion, uncertainty, and fear. An artistic, anxiety-prone fellow, Dyson sees the end of college as a looming event; he waits impatiently for his best friend and secret love, Jordan, to make a decision about what his next steps are, and when he doesn’t make one, neither does Dyson. For over nine years, Dyson and Jordan have been friends, and for nine years Dyson has harbored unrequited feelings for him. Though he knows that Jordan likes women and won’t ever love him the way he loves Jordan, he can’t bear to think of being far apart from Jordan and refuses to make a decision about his future until Jordan does. Being a laid-back, relatively calm person, Jordan isn’t too concerned about making any definite plans – that is, until the night of graduation. Running up to Dyson in an excited, drunken state, he convinces a confused Dyson to leave on a cross-country road trip the very next day, stating only that he wants to see the Grand Canyon before real life crashes down on them. Confused but willing to go, Dyson agrees and the two are on the road the next morning. But Dyson soon realizes that being in such close proximity on such a meaningful trip with the guy he loves is much more difficult than he anticipated. And as the trip progresses, Jordan becomes secretive and Dyson becomes suspicious about the true reason for Jordan’s sudden desire to see the Grand Canyon. Will Dyson successfully wrestle with his feelings for Jordan? And will Dyson discover why the Grand Canyon is so important to Jordan – and be able to deal with the consequences?’

Jerry knows how to leave the reader satisfied on all levels. It is another winner. Grady Harp, August 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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