Author: Mel Bossa
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages
At a Glance: Craving’s Creek is truly a gripping page-turner.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: For the man he loves, he will fight—body, mind, and soul.
Fourteen years ago, on a sun-drenched summer day on the banks of Craving’s Creek, Ryde swore to his best friend, Alistair, he’d never be alone in the world. Though Alistair was destined for the priesthood, there was something beyond holy about the first kiss they shared.
But a fun camping trip went horribly wrong when Alistair was involved in a horrific incident.
Now, at age thirty-one, Ryde’s life is a mess of alcohol and the painful imprint of his last look into Alistair’s desperate eyes. Since the evil they encountered on that shore, his first love has been lost to him—until he learns a friend’s wedding is to be officiated by a priest named Father Alistair Genet.
Amid the rush of emotions, one thought crystallizes: Ryde’s love for Alistair not only has never died, it’s stronger than ever. Stronger than God. But it may be no match for the church…and the repressed memories that are slowly tearing Alistair’s mind apart.
Review: Craving’s Creek is truly a gripping page-turner. I was absolutely enthralled by this story. The blurb only hints at the drama that lies within the book; the story itself is MUCH more intense. I had a few guesses as to “the evil they encountered on the shore,” but having an idea of what might happen didn’t prepare me for the actual fear and sadness that hit me when reading it.
The emotions that you feel when an author puts characters through different experiences are a direct result of how good a job that author does at making you connect with those characters. Mel Bossa did a fantastic job. Both so well-developed and interesting, I was invested in Ryde and Alistair from the word go. When they were happy and carefree together, I was happy. When the unimaginable happened, and they were thrust into hell, my heart was ripped out.
The one constant in the story was Ryde’s love for Alistair, which was keenly felt all throughout the book. I liked Ryde so much. His strength, wit and sass always shone through, whether he was standing up to Alistair’s mother, interacting with his baby sisters, or challenging the priests at the presbytery after he reconnects with Alistair. Even while struggling with alcoholism he never comes off as weak to me. And the strength he has to draw on to help Alistair begin to heal is amazing.
Alistair is such a unique character. Very pure and childlike, and incredibly smart, yet so naïve at the same time. I loved the descriptions in the book of his beauty; I felt like I could see him perfectly. His story arc was so engrossing, I couldn’t put the book down. And his absolute faith and trust in Ryder, both when they were boys, and again when they reconnected as men, was truly beautiful. In fact, his unwavering faith in general was fascinating, as it was both his salvation and very nearly his destruction. Religion is a tough topic to tackle in a novel, and there are certainly some controversial viewpoints here, but ultimately the beauty of Alistair’s faith was nicely juxtaposed with Ryde’s disdain for organized religion.
There were many heart-racing moments, and moments that felt hopeless, but these guys have a wonderful cast of characters in their corner. Ryde’s parents are completely fantastic, and Jamie – Dr. Scarborough, the psychiatrist who helps Ryder, and then later, Alistair, deal with the trauma of what they went through when they were seventeen – was an amazing doctor and a good friend.
The end was a bit of a rollercoaster. I got a titch worried that things weren’t going to be resolved in time, and that perhaps I was headed for a cliffhanger. And then I thought, rather than the big, dramatic showdown, the author was going to take it in a different direction, which I was actually ‘ok’ with. But, then she DID do the big dramatic showdown before wrapping things up, which also worked fine. While it wasn’t a cliffhanger, it did leave me wanting a tad more closure. I would definitely not object to seeing more of these guys in the future! Either way, though, I’ll be checking out more of Mel Bossa’s work.
You can buy Craving’s Creek here: