Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane
Length: 320 pages
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.
I think I read this in just under 24 hours, because sleep isn't really necessary, right? That's what caffeine and pain meds are for the next morning when you're hung over. A word hangover. I'm sure it exists. Chase in Shadow gave me a word hangover because I couldn't stop reading that night until I reached the point where I wouldn't be going to work the next morning if I didn't stop, and the next morning I woke up early and read some more.
This is not an easy read. This is a grueling, glorious read that starts off with a punch to the stomach and then jumps back a year to slowly peel away every layer of skin and show where all the bruises are. Because of how it's organized, I spent the entire time squirming, wanting to get back to the beginning, but Lane makes the reader work for it, makes Chase work for it, and when we do catch up, it's after several other punches and frayed nerves.
This is not an easy read: it's emotionally painful; a slow, grueling ride; and depressing most of the time. And it's absolutely worth it.
This story has an excellent character cast, plus it includes some characters from Lane's other novels. What is nice about this is the bad guys aren't all bad, the good guys aren't all good and everyone is a medley in between. There is a fairly large cast, but they are all handled well and never brought up without some information clarifying who they are, if it's been a while since they've been mentioned. A lovely bunch that I'd want to hang out with!
The emotional clusterfuck that this story contains is awesome. I know I LOVE these types of stories, so I'm bias, but it was well done, well written, and just powerful. It's a painful journey to get to the anguishing climax (which is a relief as the pain subsides) and then an ache as the story slowly closes and comes to its sweet resolution. It's a wild, emotional ride, a delicious ache.
The pace is slow, and while at times it's incredibly frustrating, I also enjoyed it. It dragged out the story, making the anticipation all the greater for when everything explodes. Or sort of explodes. A slow-motion explosion of several stacks of dynamite. And then the building falls down. And then you hear the screams. It's that sort of explosion.
The slow pace will mean this story isn't for everyone, and at times made me scream, "GAH, just tell me what's going to happen!" It's also a darker story, so not something to read when you need a pick-me-up. The format is a little jumpy, which can be frustrating, but it worked with the story and was appropriately utilized.
Finally, while I didn't have any issues with Chase, others may: He is cheating on his girlfriend, keeps everyone emotionally distant, and does a bunch of stupid things that hurt other people. However, he's also his own biggest critic and most of these things are forgiven by, as the other characters explain, the fact that he's a nice guy making poor choices.
Requested this book for review.