Author: Amy Lane
Series: Bluewater Bay, #8
Released: June 15th 2015
Length: 309 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Cal McCorkle has lived in Bluewater Bay his whole life. He works two jobs to support a brother with a laundry list of psychiatric diagnoses and a great uncle with Alzheimer’s, and his personal life amounts to impersonal hookups with his boss. He’s got no time, no ambition, and no hope. All he has is family, and they’re killing him one responsibility at a time.Avery Kennedy left Los Angeles, his family, and his sleazy boyfriend to attend a Wolf’s Landing convention, and he has no plans to return. But when he finds himself broke and car-less in Bluewater Bay, he’s worried he’ll have to slink home with his tail between his legs. Then Cal McCorkle rides to his rescue, and his urge to run away dies a quick death.Avery may seem helpless at first, but he can charm Cal’s fractious brother, so Cal can pretty much forgive him anything. Even being adorkable. And giving him hope. But Cal can only promise Avery “until we can’t”—and the cost of changing that to “until forever” might be too high, however much they both want it.
Bluewater Bay is a series published by Riptide Publishing as a collaborative effort of ten of their most prominent authors. Each author wrote (or will soon write) a single independent novel, but they are all set in the small town of Bluewater Bay where an insanely popular paranormal TV series called Wolf’s Landing is being filmed. Although this book counts as the eighth in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone since it has all new characters and situations and the only thing it shares with the others is the setting.
To those of you unfamiliar with Amy Lane, let me first say this: among many (and I do mean many these days) M/M authors, she is practically royalty. There isn’t an M/M fan out there who hasn’t cried over her books, or if there is, it’s a horrible oversight on their part that needs to be fixed immediately. With dozens of novels behind her, Amy Lane has proven over and over again that she’s one of the best.
Her books can usually be neatly divided into two categories: those swimming in angst, and those that are more light-hearted, although no less exciting. And yet, The Deep of the Sound defies any sort of categorization. It is in many ways a painfully intense book, a heart-wrenching experience from start to finish. And yet the romance itself is surprisingly light and easy, a thing that happens when two complementary souls recognize each other.
Most of the angst comes from Cal’s horrible family situation. He is the sole provider for his brother with severe mental health issues and his uncle with Alzheimer’s disease. Poor Cal is desperate to keep them all together and out of nursing homes or worse, but his job is far from easy. His brother is showing aggressive tendencies, especially towards women, and above all, Cal is afraid that he won't be there in time just once, and that his brother will do something horrible and unforgivable.
Cal’s despair is overwhelming, his loneliness a strong fist that suffocates and never lets go. Lane is never afraid to show us her characters at the worst possible time, as the very worst versions of themselves. Cal’s life at the beginning of this story is so incredibly bleak that it brought tears to my eyes in the very first chapter.
Avery’s troubles are a perhaps not so severe, but they’re just as touching. His self-respect is at an all-time low and his support system is virtually non-existent. When two such lives collide, how can it possibly result in anything remotely good? And yet slowly, painfully, by making one step forward and several steps back, it actually does.
Amy’s characters are always unforgettable, always designed to make the strongest possible impact. They’re people, imperfect, sad, often rash people with very little to look forward to. She always finds a way to make them resonate with us, to make them stand out and be remembered. Emotionally, this story is right up there with her very best: The Locker Room, the Promises series and Johnnies series.
If you really are unfamiliar with her work, you can start here, or you can just choose a book at random. You simply can’t go wrong with Amy.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.