A Good Name for a Hero
Title : A Good Name for a Hero
Authors : D.E. Elledge
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Mystery, Suspense
Length : 200 pages (e-book)
Published : May 17, 2013
Ty Blackburn sails the Gulf Coast of Southern Florida, taking tourists on chartered tours and photographing the local wildlife and scenic landscapes. Hiring Cody Masterson as second mate and photography assistant seems like a good idea, but when Ty finds himself falling for the attractive and self-proclaimed straight young man, it creates problems. Ty has a rule against dating his employees, and Cody’s behavior raises doubts about his sexual orientation.
Frustration mounts, increased by threatening letters and secrets neither man wishes to share. When the danger turns real, Ty and Cody reveal their pasts, and their relationship turns physical. But pressures on both of them threaten their relationship. To save Ty’s life, Cody must resolve his conflicting desires and decide what is really important to him.
Hate mail. The coward’s way of expressing himself. That’s what Tyler Blackburn thinks. Ty dismisses the first two letters he receives, pitching them in the garbage where they belong. But when the third one arrives, threatening death, he calls on his friend Ric Michaels, a detective with the local police, to investigate. There are a couple of likely culprits, but without forensic evidence or proof, there isn’t much the police can do for Ty.
Ty’s a businessman, owner of a charter boat, the Lucky Moon. He suspect’s the poison-pen letters might have something to do with a rival’s offer to buy him out, but he doesn’t give much more thought to his concerns once he sets eyes on the new guy he’s just hired as his assistant. Tall, blonde – the kid claims he’s 22 but Cody Masterson looks years younger. It’s lust at first sight for Ty.
Cody’s a recently graduated marine biologist, certified diver, underwater photographer. He’s fluent in several languages AND not once in the rest of the story is mention made of his impressive list of qualifications. The only thing that seems to be noteworthy about Cody is whether or not he is gay.
This is where the book sort of lost me. The mystery behind the letters, the business, Ty’s friendship with Ric and the other supporting characters, everything gets shoved aside. Too much emphasis was placed on all the gay characters gayness as though that was all there was to them as individuals. As though that was all they cared about. The actions and comments of straight characters were almost always qualified as not being gay, just friendly in a man-to-man sort of way. Is he gay? Is he straight? Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s speculate at length because there’s nothing more interesting than gossiping about a man’s sexual orientation. There were a lot of assumptions made about Cody based on nebulous facts that came down to wishful thinking on Ty’s part that were unbelievable.
Written in first person from Ty’s POV, it might have helped develop the story if the reader could have been privy to Cody’s thoughts. The son of a Baptist minister, Cody was confused, closeted and in denial. It was borderline disturbing when Ty persistently refused to take Cody’s word that he wasn’t interested in a relationship with Ty and kept pushing himself at Cody.
The naïve unrealistic persona of the characters didn’t sit right with me. Except for kissing, hand holding and shoulder patting, not much happens on page for Ty and Cody. Any references to sex were couched in euphemisms. Cody can’t even bring himself to say queer, breaking off at “qu…” Making love is such a old-fashioned term for a man in his mid-twenties – and I’m guessing Ty’s age here because the reader never does find out how old Ty is, nor is there any clue given as to how he even looks.
I never felt Ty and Cody clicked on any level. There was no spark, no passion, no emotional connection; the dialogue between them was flat. Ty’s professed love for Cody was conditional; if you love me, you’d come out for me. You can’t love me enough if you don’t want to live openly with me. The lover of the m/m genre in me kept rolling her eyes when they broke off in the middle of their first hook-up to discuss AIDS, safe sex, Ty’s ex-boyfriend and the division of property when Ty split up with him. Come on, really? Here are two guys that we’re supposed to believe have been hot for each other for months. No way are they going to stop mid-grope to chat about who got the furniture.
Although it was tempting to chuck it in at times, there was enough going on to keep me reading and I’m glad I did. Once the story swung back to the mystery, it got interesting again. The threats escalate, Ty is attacked and, without giving away anything, the FBI eventually gets involved.
The hardcore m/m junkie was inclined to give this sweet gentle Leave It To Beaver romance a 2.5 rating. However, because of the half-decent mystery and climactic ending I was able to persuade her into giving A Good Name For a Hero a 3.
As an aside, I get the feeling this might be the author’s first published novel. That being the case, I was willing to cut her some slack on the one thing she did as a writer that darn near drove me crazy. Yes, I realize there’s a difference between fictional and real life conversations, but in fiction as in real life, when one person is talking to another, it’s not necessary for the first person to keep using the other person’s name when talking to him or her. 🙂
Rated 3 stars by Syd