Author: Mary Calmes
Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 1 hour and 57 minutes
At a Glance: My favorite installment of the Mangrove stories so far, which the narrator perfectly brought to life – a sweet and poignant story on many levels.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Hutch Crowley is well-liked in the small resort town of Mangrove—he’s got friends in his new neighbors, he’s the owner of the town grocery, and he’s building a community center—but he’s still unlucky at love. Every man he’s attracted to is either taken or simply not interested, including his best friend, Mike Rojas.
When Mike came to Mangrove two years ago, Hutch gave him a job and a place to stay in his guesthouse, where Mike has remained ever since. Despite the rumors circulating about them, Hutch knows Mike is straight and looking for the right woman. But his friends disagree, and after some hints to the contrary, even Hutch finally has to admit that maybe the rest of the town sees something he’s been missing. If Hutch wants to spend each sultry sunset with the man of his dreams, it might be time to figure out what’s going on with his best friend’s heart.
Review: Hutch has been my favorite character in this series. I loved him in Blue Days, when he gets owned by Takeo and called off Dwyer. I loved him in Quiet Nights, with his almost date with Cosimo and his conversation/confrontation with Kelly. But I am so happy he gets his own story in Sultry Sunset. :)
Hutch Crowley is the owner of a local grocery – but it’s not your average grocery. He’s not your average guy either. One morning he wakes to hear someone crying on the porch of the house next door. He discovers it’s a young girl (his new neighbor, Ivy Dodd), and she is dejectedly sitting on the porch, locked out of her house by a thoughtless relative who has taken off and left her alone—with her father out of the town, her mother recently deceased, and, oh yeah, she’s just gotten her first period. To quote Eugene Levy from Splashed!, her reaction should have been “What a day I’m having!”
Luckily, Hutch is a very easy going guy, who was raised with lots of sisters, so he is in the know about what to do for Ivy and her issues. He helps her get back in her house, takes her to his store to get supplies, introduces her to Mike Rojas, his best friend and assistant manager, buys her a coffee, takes her to the local Wiccan store, and gets her lunch. Then, her dad calls. Seems her dad is the new Fire Chief, and he’s moving from Miami to Mangrove. He’s quite upset that his young daughter is running around town with a stranger, but once he hears her laugh, he’s okay with Hutch looking after her.
Hutch and Mike are best friends, but lot of people assume they are a couple since they are always together. We get the backstory on Mike’s up-to-now hetero life and the loss of his wife, his subsequent depression, and Takeo’s plotting to get him to stay in Mangrove by enlisting Hutch’s cooperation. I loved this part of the story – the “how they got to be such good friends” story.
There are so many perfect little moments in Sultry Sunset that really give the flavor of small town living. My mom grew up in a town of about 700 people, and my grandma continued to live there the rest of her life. She never lived more than 15 miles from the place she was born, and this is what it was like. I would love to visit this place. :)
Ivy’s father, Essien, returns to Mangrove and becomes friends with Hutch and Mike. He’s a good guy and he’s a good fit for the town. There is, however, some drama over Hutch’s pet project, the community center. This leads to a confrontation, and Hutch is briefly in a bit of hot water with the local constabulary. But, of course, Mike comes to his rescue – at the police station and beyond.
I seriously loved this story – just everything about it. There are appearances by characters from the previous books as well as some new characters that will hopefully be fodder for further stories in this world. I thoroughly enjoyed the narration of this story and look forward to more from this talented voice artist. I thought Mr. Tremblay did a perfect job of bringing this story to life.
Note: While this is the third in a series, it’s not absolutely necessary to have read the other stories, but it might add some context.
You can buy Sultry Sunset here: