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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Locker Room by Amy Lane

The Locker Room by Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (300 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Xander Karcek has only wanted two things in his life: Christian Edwards and basketball—the man he loves and the game that let him escape a childhood he’d rather forget. His two obsessions have served him well. He and Chris beat the odds and stayed together through high school, college, and right on to the NBA.

But life under fame’s microscope isn’t easy, especially when two men are pretending to be frat-buddies so the world doesn’t know they’re the next best thing to married. Their relationship survives the sacrifices they make and the lies they tell to stay together, but when their secret is exposed, the fallout might destroy them when nothing else could.

Chris and basketball are the two things holding Xander together. Now the world is asking Xander to make a choice. Is there an option that includes a future with the man he loves?

Xander and Chris have always been in love, but hiding that for the sake of their basketball career may destroy the thing they value most. Since they met, Xander and Chris have been inseparable. They knew they were in love while still teens and never wanted to be apart. This meant college together and eventually the NBA together. Yet the world of professional athletes isn’t easy for a gay couple and being forced to hide and lie about their relationship may just destroy it.

The Locker Room is a real tear jerker. Lane knows how to write amazing angst driven stories and this is no exception. The lead characters are strong, unique, charming, and filled with drama. In fact the only drawback is that this story may be too drama filled for some readers. The men tend to react in extremes, huge highs and despairing lows. Small events that may seem tough to the average reader, such as being separated from your partner for six weeks, end up being the depths of hell for these characters. Almost like the world is ending and life can’t go on. So some readers may not appreciate or particularly like those kinds of melodramatic exaggerations.

For those that do though, this novel delivers romance and drama at its finest. The conflict is mostly external as Xander and Chris are in love and confident in that love from the beginning. It’s mostly the outside forces working to tear the two apart. Hiding the nature of their relationship causes the men to do things they wouldn’t otherwise and they definitely suffer emotionally and later physically from it. The writing is good and the pace very quick, showing the various complexities of the characters extremely well. None of the characters are shallow or vapid, but full and rich with a purpose to each one.

There are a few hiccups in the story such as some questionable behavior by coaches, a tendency to over use parentheses to tell information, and the fact that the men tend to throw up constantly due to emotional stress. Yet these are really minor issues with a story as strong and moving as this one. One warning about the ending is that it lets the reader decide what happens. As you’ll see though, it couldn’t end any other way and you won’t want to miss it.

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