The Secret Tunnel by James Lear
Published October 1st 2008 by Cleis Press
Format: Kindle ebook
Length: 325 pages / 1842 KB
Genre: Erotica, Gay Erotica, Gay, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Reading Level: Adults Only
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The Flying Scotsman, one of the world’s legendary train journeys, has many attractions for Edward “Mitch” Mitchell, from the obliging porter to the mean guard to a troop of rough-and-ready soldiers in easily lifted kilts in the third-class carriage. But Mitch may not have time for them all before they arrive in London. When the train gets stuck in a tunnel, a dead body is found in the first-class toilet! Ever-ready Mitch decides to intervene and solve the crime. With his new Belgian sidekick Benoit, he pursues the killer through a crazy kaleidoscope of movie stars, drug dealers, royal scandals, and queens of every description. Can he finger the villain before the villain fingers him? What is the connection between Buckingham Palace and a bunch of backstreet pornographers? And what is the mystery of the secret tunnel? Mitch intends to go all the way to figure it all out.
Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman
Published January 5th 2008 by Lethe Press
Format: Kindle ebook
Length: 204 pages / 317 KB
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Ghost, M/M
Reading Level: Mature Teen
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A lonely boy walking along a highway one autumn evening meets the boy of his dreams, a boy who happens to have died decades ago and haunts the road. Awkward crushes, both bitter and sweet, lead him to face youthful dreams and childish fears. With its cast of offbeat friends, antiques, and Ouija boards, Vintage is not your typical romance but does offers readers a memorable blend of dark humor, chills and love.
I love ghost stories and paranormal fiction is one of my favorite genres. Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman is a classic ghost story with added nontraditional relationship. Our main character is never named in the book, not that I can find, so it makes my review writing a little hard. Be patient. Main character (MC) is dealing with a lot in this book, from his parents’ reaction to him being gay to a ghostly romance that’s turning out to not be all that great after all. I have to give kudos to Berman for creating a complex romance that had a completely unexpected ending. With a cast of awesome secondary characters and excellent paranormal themes, Vintage turned out to be an even better book than I was anticipating.
In paranormal fiction, characters often gain the ability to see ghosts after brushes with death. (Trigger warning: attempted suicide spoken about in past tense.) This happens to our MC, opening up an opportunity to meet the ghostly boy of his dreams. But Josh, the ghost, turns out to be a little too good to be true. I have to say, I expected our MC and Josh to somehow overcome all obstacles to be together. (How cliché.) So the path Berman selected was a thousand times better in my opinion. The complex relationships in this book were unexpected and I feel propel Vintage to a level above.
All the characters are exceptionally well-written and I am so pleased to find a book with a gay teen character so well done. My only problem is that the MC ends up starting a relationship with the younger brother of his best friend and while I know there is only two years difference between them, it still weirds me out. The end conflict resolution with Josh, the ghost, feels a bit rushed to me and a bit too neatly tied up, if you know what I mean. I would have liked to see a bit more struggle there. The portrayals of mediumistic powers and paranormal events in Vintage are fantastic and exciting. This book is definitely for older teens and adults due to drug use, sexual scenes, and a great many messed up people and their weird coping mechanisms. Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman is in turns fun, suspenseful, and exciting and I really recommend it for anybody looking for a great ghost story.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5