Someplace in This World edited by Lee Benoit
While none of the stories were painful to read, few were a true pleasure. See below for more details about each story.
The Black Times by Kiernan Kelly
This story starts off strong, but about the time of the date starts to get wobbly. It began to feel unbelievable, or at least enough that it threw me out of the moment. I liked Michael and Bill as characters and a couple, and I think the story is strong enough to be enjoyable--but if I were editor, I would have requested some changes.
The Prodigal by Eden Winters
A continuation of Mark's story from The Angel of 13th Street, we follow this country boy-turned prostitute from his place on the streets back to where he belongs. Those familiar with the book will find little new in the story, but it doesn't make Mark's concerns any less understandable. It's a sweet story as we find those who had originally pushed Mark away come to terms with who he is and welcome him home.
I have a question about the cop that helps Mark and how that ties into the Angel's arrest in the novel, but I'd have to check to see if it's actually an error.
The Magic of Moving Houses by G.R. Richards
This story did very little for me. It seemed odd and forced and just odd. I can get behind the crazy idea of houses vanishing and molding themselves together, but everything else just seemed awkward. I think if this was explored as a longer story, with the reader witnessing the interaction of the characters before the monumental night, then the two men would feel more believable. As it is, I'm not buying it.
Comeback by G.S. Wiley
This was the first story in the set to really move me. Felix is so unlike most people reading--he's a once-famous movie star who spun out of control with his alcohol and drug abuse and went into rehab. He fires his manager--the only person who has been there for him the whole time--and gets a new one in his struggle to reclaim life.
So not many things that people have to deal with. And yet. And yet we are drawn to Felix because he's made some poor decisions, he's pushed away friends and family, he's made mistakes--things we all can connect with--and now he's trying to fix his life and make some sense out of it all, while daily fighting with the desire to take a drink. His desperation, mixed with his motivation to not give in, is what makes him so believable.
Return to the Mountain by P.D. Singer
I'm actually surprised I enjoyed this story as much as I did. Gary is self-centered, selfish, and a cheat. But he's on the path of reform, which redeems him long enough for us to get through the story, and we are rewarded with his reunion with Seth--but that doesn't mean everything is roses afterward.
Oilsmouth by J Rocci
This is a romance story in only the most basic sense that Edge loves Kit and is willing to do pretty much anything to keep him. The world is steampunk and very thoroughly described without being too much. I wasn't disappointed with the ending, even if it was abrupt...I'd kind of like to read more about this world and this couple!
Light the Fire by J.L. Merrow
This feels like a return to a classic-type of story, and I appreciated it. Kurt is still mourning the loss of his previous lover, who has been dead for 2 years, and Matt is not the type to give up. It's a fun, spit-fire dynamic that dips its toes into deeper waters without delving too far (due to limited space).
Pack Horse by Lee Benoit
I enjoyed this story...I think. I understood the overall jist of the story, but some of the subtleties were lost on me. Especially the flirt. At least, I think it was flirting. I may need to reread this to get it, but maybe I'm just being dense.
Home is the Hunter by Syd McGinley
Aside from the abuse of exclamation marks, which is a pet peeve (and is just ridiculous. If you can't get your excitement across with one, or better yet with the use of words, then why are you writing?). But aside from that, I feel like I'm see a sliver of a story that deserves more. Or needs more, whether it deserves it or not. There seems to be alot missing. I like the situation Topher is in (though I'm curious why he no longer goes by Chris), and I see potential in his relationship with Kynan. I think if this were fleshed out more there'd be potential, but overall it was flat.