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.
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Modern Day Greek Tragedy that Transcends the genre
The last half of the story. The angst and the impending suicide attempt seemed to weigh heavily on the joyous bits early in the story. It's only after Chase's suicide attempt that the story redeemed itself in my eyes.
Narrator Sean Crisden does a great job of keeping the narrator voice AND Chase's spoken voice AND the voice of Chase's inner monologue clear. That's tough to do. Meanwhile, he gives distinctive interpretations to the many other boys in the story as well. He even does a great job with the sole female voice we hear.
If you're a fan of audio-books, you'll want to check this one out simply to enjoy the brilliance of Crisden's performance. However if you're NOT a big fan of audio-books, this might not be the best one to start with. The many distinctions between the narration and Chase's spoken voice and the turmoils of his thoughts and his inner demons, take a certain amount of concentration to keep sorted and it's not easy listening.
This was too long and too dark a spiral downward to listen to in one sitting. However the porn making interludes provided a necessary break in the tension and were enjoyable in their own right.
One should NOT expect a simple light-hearted yarn from a book with a red cover that features razor blades and blood drops, particularly when the prologue has the MC locked in a bathroom with one of those blades to his wrist...
Chase Summers is a deeply damaged young man. After finding his mother dead in a bathtub as a child, after growing up with a drunken, abusive father who blames him and his "faggy" ways, it's a wonder that Chase can pass for normal at all. But he does. Chase is determined to be a success, to have a girlfriend and a successful college baseball career, get an engineering degree and even someday, a house of his own. All it will take is for him to deny certain aspects of himself which might make his father's assertions true. He must never, ever, let the people he cares about see the real him.
When Chase hears about "Johnnies" the gay for pay porn site he sees a way to explore some of his long sublimated desires and still maintain a level of denial. But as he meets the guys, and falls for one particular guy, the pressure that has been building since his early childhood redoubles.Chase, his boyhood friends and even his workmates are all charming and well drawn and we soon come to care for all these guys.
And yet Chase's damage is ever-present and growing. Symbolized by a "Red Door" that is soon all too frequent, it's clear that just as certainly as in any Greek tragedy, the flaws in Chase that his childhood created make his ultimate fate inescapable. And yet to attempt something is not always to succeed. And it's the events that happen after the attempt that make this story rise above the mundane. It's as much a tale of recovery and redemption as it is of the despair that gets us there.
Come meet the boys from Johnnies & fall in love