Review: Rattlesnake, by Kim Fielding

The Blurb:

Rattlesnake-kfieldingA drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.

On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.

Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.

The Stats:

Published:  August 31, 2015
Publisher:   Dreamspinner Press
Genre:         Contemporary M/M
Length:        238 pages Kindle / 240 pages paperback
POV:             3rd Person
Type:            Stand-alone
Dates I read this:   September 27-29, 2015
Edition I read:        Kindle
See the book on GoodReads.

The Review:

5StarWell, hot damn for this book.

The COVER before I move on to more pressing thoughts and feelz: have mercy, I can’t think of the last time I wanted to put my hands aaaall over an ass and give an uninvited little squeeze.

Right…moving along…

The HOOK – Oh My God! This book grabbed me by the throat from the first sentence, and I went happily along for the ride.

This book was, in a word, refreshing.

This story begins on the foundation of the concept of *nothingness*–and I mean that almost literally. These characters are nobodies, the setting is nowhere, the past, present, and future are, to some degree, nothing special or consequential. It builds from there with simple steps into the concept of everything.

The present is taken a day at a time with simple tasks and simple pleasures like a good meal, a warm bed, and the kindness of others. The past is resurrected, forgiven, then sort of forgotten. The future becomes something to believe in because “home” might really be a good place. Hope might be worth holding onto after all. Love might just be real because it sure smacked you on the ass when you were least expecting it.

This isn’t about two uber-hot, over-sexed, perfectly cut, ‘roided cover-model, rich heroes with gigantic schlongs who can get whomever they want by crooking a finger.

Nope. They’re the opposite. These guys are “normal” nobodies—a little less-than actually, if we’re putting labels on it. They’re unlikely heroes—the ones that generally go unnoticed or the ones we might notice for a minute and easily dismiss without a second thought. Or, most likely in Jimmy’s case, we might even cross the street to be on the safe-side.

Jimmy is a drifter, a traveling man—a self-described ghost. He’s in his 40s, maybe average looking, there’s nothing inherently *spectacular* about him. He belongs to nobody, and to nowhere, and doesn’t stay put long enough to develop relationships of any kind. He’s lived such a hard, uncomfortable life he’s convinced himself that it’s the most he deserves so he’s always got one eye on getting the hell out of Dodge.

Shane, well…he’s broken in his own more physical ways and dealing with a crap hand life dealt him following a horrific accident. His body and brain aren’t working like they did when he was younger. He’s somewhat dependent on family and therefore stuck in a small town where the prospects of finding his one-true-man-love are slim. But, for the most part, he’s found a way to be content.

The characters are (metaphorically) stripped down to near bare-bone nothingness. It’s just them…“this is me and all I have” nothingness to build on except for the protective cloak of a few secrets, some lies, and guilt-ridden painful pasts.

Personally, I couldn’t find much relatable in either of these characters. Jimmy especially. I can’t imagine being a drifter and capable of traveling with nothing, sometimes no cash, sometimes no extra clothes, sometimes no books for fuck sake. This DOES NOT COMPUTE with me.

The layers of these characters develop at an even enough pace where their depths of compassion and appeal are revealed in careful detail resulting in beautiful, complex, and deserving souls.

The setting is even a nowhere town. It’s a town that time forgot; an easily dismissed speck on the map that most would bypass. The town is a hidden gem with a great name though, and some quirky inhabitants and small-town lore that make it an inviting little place on second glance.

The plot is mostly simple with small, nuanced arcs and flow that take the reader on an easy, well-paced journey of self-discovery, forgiveness, comfort, courage, and longing. Even the climax is…I won’t say anti-climactic, it’s not that…on one hand some of it’s expected, on the other the resolution isn’t so easily attained.

I get really turned on by somewhat purplish poetic prose…and I didn’t get that with this book. However, it’s a beautiful story told in a generally simplistic writing style that I thought worked very well for the characters and the overall plot. There was humor and emotion that kept the momentum going at an even clip.

I found this to be a refreshing, admirable way of tackling a love story.

This is a story about finding home and learning to embrace the concept of deserving that home.

It’s a story about believing in hope when it’s always failed you in the past—because Hope is a teasing bitch.

It’s about really seeing a person with all their faults, their scars, their ugliness and loving them anyway.

Because, there truly is no other way to appreciate all that is the beauty of hope, love, and home until everything has been stripped away to nothing.

From nothingness to everything.

This review also posted on GoodReads

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