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Monday, April 23, 2012

Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane

Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (316 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future.

Nobody knows the real Chase.

Chase Summers has a razor blade to his wrist and the smell of his lover’s goodbye clinging to his skin. He has a door in his heart so frightening he’d rather die than open it, and the lies he’s used to block it shut are thinning with every forbidden touch. Chase has spent his entire life unraveling, and his decision to set his sexuality free in secret has only torn his mind apart faster.

Chase has one chance for true love and salvation. He may have met Tommy Halloran in the world of gay-for-pay—where the number of lovers doesn’t matter as long as the come-shot’s good—but if he wants the healing that Tommy’s love has to offer, he’ll need the courage to leave the shadows for the sunlight. That may be too much to ask from a man who’s spent his entire life hiding his true self. Chase knows all too well that the only things thriving in a heart’s darkness are the bitter personal demons that love to watch us bleed.

Chase is deeply in denial about his sexuality but his connection and attraction to Tommy simply can’t be denied. Chase has lived his life trying to deny who he really is. Living with an abusive and tyrannical father has shaped Chase to hide almost all of his true emotions and feelings. He even goes so far as to imagine a life married with children. It’s not fair to his gorgeous and kind girlfriend but Chase can’t face the truth. However, Chase’s decision to get into gay porn to experience his deepest desires may just change his life. Not only does he meet the real love of his life in Tommy, but Chase struggles ever harder to maintain the life he thinks he has to live against the riding tide of need for Tommy and reality.

Chase in Shadow is a deeply emotional and intense book. For fans of Amy Lane, you’ll already be familiar with her extensive use of angst and emotional torture for the men. For anyone new to the author, be prepared for some Kleenex and reading breaks. Both Chase and Tommy are emotionally broken and scarred men. They struggle with their problems together and individually, which of course only tortures them that much more. The characters are incredibly well developed and thoroughly complex. In fact they are almost too well crafted as broken men because it’s hard to imagine they healed as much as they did by the end – though I’m glad they did.

The writing is very good, as typical of Ms. Lane, but it’s an intense story. The abuse is all emotional and verbal but the scars are just as real as any physical abuse. There are a lot of tears and breakdowns and painful choices, not all the right choices either. These men pretty much go through hell to find each other and hold on to each other but there's a very solid and exceedingly happy ending. The men are healed by love and therapy and have a bright future if you don’t mind going through the incredibly dark parts to get there. The angst is never gratuitous for just for the sake of drama, but instead it shows the complexity and numerous problems both men struggle with.

Although Chase is the third person narrator, Tommy is just as well developed and created. Together the two have to almost break each other to actually get to their happy ending but the payoff is mostly worth the angst. Fans of this author and her style will likely appreciate and like this book the most whereas those new should be readers who especially like tortured souls. Otherwise it may be too much to really appreciate or like. It’s a well written story that tackles hard topics and offers a happy ending for lost souls that find out they’re not so lost after all.

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