Review: Jefferson Blythe, Esquire by Josh Lanyon

The Blurb:

cover-jeffersonblythe-joshlanyonIn this fast, fun and dead-sexy male/male new-adult caper from multi-award-winning author Josh Lanyon, twentysomething Jefferson Blythe gets lost, gets found, falls in love and comes out…all in the span of one wild summer

After his first relationship goes disastrously awry, Jeff Blythe uses his savings to tour Europe—the old-fashioned way. Armed with his grandfather’s1960 copy of Esquire’s Europe in Style, Jeff sets off looking for adventure but finds much, much more than he bargained for…

In London, dodging questions from shady criminals about a mysterious package he most certainly does not have is simple. Losing the gunmen who are convinced he’s someone else is not. And when George, an old friend, offers him help—and a place to stay, and perhaps something more—things become complicated.

Is George really who he seems? And is Jeff finally ready to act on his attraction?

From Paris to Rome and back again, Jeff and George fall for each other, hard, while quite literally running for their lives. But trusting George at his word may leave Jeff vulnerable—in more ways than one.

The Stats:

November 16, 2015
Carina Press
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
65,000 words/roughly 230 pages
1st person
Dates I read this:
Edition I read:
November 16, 2015
Kindle Edition
See the book on GoodReads.

The Review:


I’m a fan of Josh Lanyon. I can’t call myself an expert as I haven’t yet worked my way through the extensive backlist of titles. But, what I’ve read has been pretty great so far.

I thought I had a pretty good grip on the author’s style of tight, well-constructed plots, well-paced, subtle humor, and just the right amount of emotion.

Not to say that this story didn’t have elements of these, but…it kind of felt like an erratic mess, to be honest.

I was excited about the premise of this book—mainly the trip through Europe and Jefferson sort of following in his grandfather’s footsteps with an old suitcase and 1960 copy of Esquire’s Europe in Style. I was entertained at the thought of the book he’s carrying along—there were some good excerpts. In the 1960s, when my mom was in her early twenties, she did a month-long jaunt through Europe carrying Europe On $5 A Day—which certainly isn’t nearly as poetic. I had a grand plan to do that when I was in my 20s and, regrettably, it never happened. Of course, by then it would have likely been Europe On (at least) $50 a Day.

The virtual trip through London and Paris were nice. Especially since Paris is in our hearts right now. I’ve been in love with Paris my whole life. I’ve been several times in the last few years, and love it even more after every trip. London and Rome are also dear to me. I liked these elements of the book, having been to these places and being able to recall the sights, sounds, and mood with clarity.

Unfortunately, the other elements of the book went off the rails for me, or never quite got on them.

The “mystery” seemed like a lampooned muppet caper in its silliness. A little overly theatrical, not tense, not very mysterious or suspenseful, more comedic farce than anything. Maybe that was the intent? If so…I guess it was a little lost on me. It was entertaining and action packed so I don’t think it really fell flat. Maybe it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

The blooming “relationship” between Jefferson & George was sort of like watching a pingpong tournament with players completely incapable of keeping the ball on the table. Balls, balls, balls flying around everywhere and every serve missed, nary a volley to keep in play. This is a horrible analogy. I think what I’m trying to say is that I couldn’t latch on to any sense that these guys really wanted to be together other than they thought they should maybe give it a try. That doesn’t resonate as very romantic to me at all—or as something I should bother cheering on.

There was lots and lots and lots of introspection by Jefferson—he’s young, figuring out his path in life, so I get it. Just, it was sometimes felt like too much. Some of his thoughts were quirky and humorous. But often these inner monologues seemed to take longer than the action that was simultaneously taking place; and that seemed to slow down the pace of the story.

The end of the book is…just that, and end. It was abrupt. There’s not an HEA or any sort of satisfying HFN. It just…ends. My reaction was the first word of this review: Huh.

A day later and I’m still perplexed trying to make sense of what I just read. Part of me enjoyed it, the rest of me was indifferent.

This review also posted on GoodReads.

Tell me what you think!