4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Sarah Black

Marathon Cowboys by Sarah Black

Marathon CowboysMarathon Cowboys by Sarah Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Drama and romance tangle in a wonderful way in Marathon Cowboys, the story of two very different men who meet through little more than chance and who find a common bond in the love of their respective art.

Jesse Clayton is a brilliant artist whose passion for his craft allows him to express himself through the symbols he chooses to represent his vision. Jesse’s theory on art is that it captures reality and preserves it for those who are too preoccupied with their own lives to pay attention to the world around them while it’s turning. Jesse’s art is frequently controversial and he often leaves a wake of anger behind him with the subjects he chooses to address, but for him, it’s the statement and the emotions that make what he does meaningful in spite of the sometimes negative consequences.

Lorenzo Maryboy is an ex-Marine and budding cartoonist who’s traveling to Marathon, TX to stay with Jesse Clayton, The Original—the grandfather of JC3, the artist. Lorenzo’s medium of expression is the Devil Dogs cartoons he draws that depict slices of life in the Marine Corps, cartoons with messages delivered in a non-political way. Lorenzo wants his art to make a statement without being too controversial. He served most of his years in the Corps under DADT, after all, so he’s accustomed to keeping things low key, doing his duty, and not drawing attention to himself.

When the Marathon cowboy from San Francisco and the Navajo ex-Marine connect, it’s a coming together of two different worlds; one man who stands firmly on one side of the fence with his art, living openly and proudly as a gay man; and the other who refuses to come down on either side of that fence with his own work, inexperienced in what it means to openly express his sexuality. The passion between them extends beyond the physical and into the realms of friendship and respect for each other. But when Jesse’s work crosses the line into betrayal, it could destroy the fragile bond of new love between them.

Sarah Black has written a moving story of love, loss, and second chances told through engaging men who learn what it means to trust and what it means to sacrifice that trust for the sake of being true to oneself, even at the risk of losing the one person who has come to matter more than anyone else in the world. It’s a story of life influencing art and art influencing life, and I loved the journey to forgiveness and redemption.

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