“Shame is always easier to handle if you have someone to share it with.” ― Craig Thompson
Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages/Word Count: 241 Pages
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Blurb: Grime Doesn’t Pay
Eddie and Andrew have dynamite chemistry. But Eddie is profoundly dyslexic, and Andrew lives to read. Andrew is pathologically disorganized, and Eddie likes things neat and clutter-free.
Andrew is desperately ashamed of his hoarder father, and Eddie is embarrassed by his lack of education — secrets that could pull them apart even as a friend’s tragedy brings them together.
When Andrew’s father’s condition deteriorates and he nearly dies because of his compulsion, Eddie and Andrew must learn compassion begins with loving oneself.
Review: I was sure after falling in love with ZAM’s St. Nacho’s series that she’d never come up with another set of books I could love even close to as much, but look what she’s done. She’s come up with the guys who own the Brother’s Grime industrial cleaning company, and whaddaya know? I’m hooked on this series now too, and am almost as (probably as) obsessed with its characters.
One of the things I love about these books, both Grime and Punishment and now Grime Doesn’t Pay, is the chemistry between these men not only in their romantic entanglements—first between Jack Masterson and Ryan Halloran, and now Eddie “Cha-Cha” Vasquez and B. Andrew Daley—but also in their friendships. There’s such a great sense of fraternity between them that I get as caught up in the interaction of the group of them nearly as much as the time spent with just Eddie and Andrew as they worked around their feelings for each other.
The storyline in Grime Doesn’t Pay is complicated by the secrets Eddie and Andrew keep from each other. Eddie’s dyslexia is painful to witness for those of us who take the love of reading for granted, and Andrew’s shame coupled with the fear of becoming just like his father lent a palpable empathy to the story. These men together probably shouldn’t work, given their differences, but they do, thanks so much to the fact that Eddie is made of awesome. He proves it in every single thing he does for the one teacher who made a profound difference in his life, as well as for what he does for Andrew and his father.
The whole of the story isn’t filled with lots of twists or turns, but what it is is a story that’s relatable because it’s all about the human condition. The sum of its parts are things that could happen to anyone, could happen in anyone’s family, but what keeps it from being just an average story is Z.A. Maxfield’s conversational style of storytelling that effortlessly lulls you into its flow and leaves you wondering how it can be over before you’re ready for the end. But at the heart of it is the sweetness and romance that made me fall hard for Eddie and Andrew.
If you haven’t read Grime and Punishment, I definitely recommend doing that first before reading Grime Doesn’t Pay, if for no other reason than getting to know the Brother’s Grime crew a bit better. ZAM has set up the next book in the series for Jack’s cousin and business partner Gabe and the very closeted police officer Dave Huntley, and I can’t wait to read their story. If there’s any one issue I have with the series so far, it’s that Skippy isn’t gay and can’t have his own book in the series, but hey, I can probably let that one slide.