Author: J.H. Knight
Narrator: Michael Stellman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 7 Hours and 22 Minutes
At a Glance: This is an angst filled read of a dysfunctional family, with the eldest son trying to hold things together by himself for so long that he has trouble recognizing when and from whom he should accept help.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Tommy O’Shea is raising his seven younger brothers and sisters without any help from his drug abusing father and stepmother. Since he was fifteen years old, he’s managed to keep the children fed and out of foster care. It takes up every ounce of his energy and the last thing he needs is romance complicating his life further.
Rookie cop Bobby McAlister doesn’t belong in Tommy’s harsh world, but Tommy can’t push him out. As their unlikely friendship turns into a tentative relationship, they weather the daily storm of Tommy’s life with a lot of laughs and more than a few arguments.
Tommy isn’t used to trusting outsiders, and he’s never asked for help in his life. But when a tragedy strikes the O’Shea family and threatens everything he’s fought for, he’ll have to learn to do both to recover from the brutal hit.
Review: Finally! An audiobook I enjoyed! The Last Thing He Needs has convinced me that, with audiobooks, the narrator makes the story. After two misses, this one is a hit.
Tommy O’Shea’s life is crappy on his very best day. His mother died when he was young, and his father chose again, unwisely, and his stepmother is a drunk/junkie as well. He has shouldered the responsibility of his younger siblings, really, since was fifteen. At twenty-two, he just keeps trying to keep it all together. There are seven other O’Shea children – from Colleen, who is seventeen, down to twins Zoe and Max, who are still babies. In between are Mikey, Collin, Davey, and Carrie. Each of them is dealing with the family drama in their own way.
When Colleen calls Tommy to tell him that the babies are sick and crying, he needs to get them medicine, but he doesn’t have the money. He thinks he’ll lift them from a convenience store, but he’s thwarted by a cop he knows, and who knows him and his family situation. Although he’s not happy about Bobby butting in to his life, he is desperate to get home to the sick kids and solve the current crisis.
When Bobby starts hanging around more, and then they meet in a very unexpected venue, Bobby and Tommy become more than friends. Bobby get a little bit pushy in what Tommy sees as “interfering” in his life and his family troubles, but Tommy is beginning to feel something for Bobby, and he doesn’t want him to leave either.
As you might expect in a family with this much crap going on, there are always the potential threats from the mostly absent parents—who can show up at any time and wreak havoc on the tenuous peace, interference from Child Protective Services, or the kids themselves, who are growing up way too fast. Bobby and Tommy generally work together when these things come up, but Tommy continues to have a hard time accepting help, and he definitely feels like Bobby can do better.
The kickass character of the piece, though, is Bobby’s mother Judy. Once she gets involved in the O’Shea family, nothing will ever be the same. She is a formidable opponent, and Tommy has a feeling he will never gain back the control he once had. He would be right. :)
Of course, there are a number of crises that occur – both for Bobby and for Tommy. There are some pretty serious issues in their relationship that have to be resolved, or they won’t have any future – even as friends – if they can’t get past them. When things come to a head, Tommy and Bobby will both have to fight for what they have together, and it will affect the entire O’Shea family. These guys have to work really hard for their happy ending.
I’m so happy I finally liked an audiobook. Michael Stellman really brought life to this story. His characterizations were spot on – nothing over the top. His Tommy and Bobby were perfect in both the tone and delivery. His voice really kept me engaged in the story. I definitely will get another book that features this narrator. So far, my favorite of the audiobooks I’ve listened to.
You can buy The Last Thing He Needs here: