Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 280 Pages
At a Glance: A book that is so rich in detail we can easily visualise each moment on the page
Blurb: John Carey is just out of rehab and dying inside when he gets word that Tory, the guy who loved him and broke him, has removed himself from the world in the most bitter way possible—and left John to clean up his mess.
Forced back to his hometown in Florida, John’s craving a hit with every memory when he meets Tory’s neighbor. Spacey and judgmental, Galen Henderson has been rotting in his crappy apartment since a motorcycle accident robbed him of his mobility, his looks, and his boyfriend all in one mistake. Galen’s been hiding at the bottom of an oxy bottle, but when John shows up, he feels obligated to help wade through the wreckage of Tory’s life.
The last thing John needs is another relationship with an addict, and the last thing Galen wants is a conscience. Both of them are shocked when they find that their battered souls can learn from and heal one another. It doesn’t hurt that they’re both getting a crash course on how growing up and getting past your worst mistakes sure beats the alternative—and that true love is something to fight to keep if your lover is fighting to love you back.
Review: The only time in my life I ever wish I had a talent for writing is when I am attempting a review of a really good book. When a book I have been anticipating for over a year finally ends up in my hands, and I have loved it, devoured it and want to share that with others. Then, that’s when I long for skills with words and the ability to put them on a page in a fashion worthy of the inspiration, and hope I can convey my respect and awe for Amy’s craftsmanship.
Black John is the fifth Johnnies book- I count Super Sock Man– and while John’s presence is noticed in the previous books, there is no real sense of identity until Dex in Blue, where he became an object of pity. I had so many questions about him as he perched on the sidelines of the previous books and needed his story to have all the answers. So, we start Black John with a need for answers and searching for his worth. Can he redeem himself with Dex? The guys? Or with us? And…OMG, Amy rips us out of Sacramento and across the country to Daytona Beach, Florida. She dumps us in the filth of John’s past with the misery and chaos that dragged him into his drug addiction. God, I hated Tory! Seriously, the skills that this author has to engage my emotions so intensely is without parallel.
Within a few chapters John is a person deserving our sympathy, not an object of pity at all. He has been hurt so badly, but he keeps going, one day, one revealed horror at a time. Amy answers all of our questions in this book. A lot of those answers are stomach churning, but we get them. We meet Galen, a piece of work himself, and see the possibilities for them both. There is so much healing they both have to do, though, that the future we see as possible is far enough away to maybe be real.
One of the things that Amy does so well is create characters that lift off the pages and into our hearts. They are so very real. The Johnnies universe has storylines that run concurrently between multiple books and where they overlap, the guys are seen from different angles but remain true to their own selves. The Tommy in Ethan in Gold is the same Tommy in Dex and the same in Black John. This is a technical part of book writing that probably involves spreadsheets and flow charts on Amy’s part, but we don’t see the work entailed in the story, we simply reap the benefits of her craftsmanship. We get a book that is so rich in detail we can easily visualise each moment on the page and become immersed in the world she has built.
Redemption is a recurring theme in Amy Lane’s books, and it is a nearly overwhelming battle for John, but he earns it. He does good long enough and strongly enough for it to stick. John’s return to Sacramento to make amends and to continue shoring up the walls of his life are a pleasure for the reader, as we visit with our favorite guys again. When John and Galen bring their best to each other, the absolute best part is that it’s not the end of their story. We are already looking forward to Reg and Bobbie’s turn, and we want to see how Jerzy’s video turns out. There is no need to say goodbye. We can soak in the feels for a while longer. This book is a fabulous addition to the Johnnies universe. I will re-read it often and cannot recommend it strongly enough to anyone who enjoys revelling in a love story that is so much more!
You can buy Black John (Johnnies: Book Four) here: