REVIEWED by ALEXANDER
SERIES: Bluewater Bay series
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 7 hours, 1 minute
NARRATOR: Nick J Russo
Hollywood is full of dirty secrets, but Carter refuses to be Levi’s.
Retired action star Levi Pritchard has made a quiet life for himself in the sleepy logging town of Bluewater Bay, Washington. But then Hollywood comes to film the wildly popular television series Wolf’s Landing, and Bluewater Bay isn’t so sleepy anymore. His retirement doesn’t stick, either, because he’s offered a part on the show – exactly the kind of complex role he’d always wanted, one that would prove him more than a glorified stuntman. The only catch? He has to stay in the closet – no matter how attractive he finds his co-star.
Carter Samuels is the critically acclaimed male lead on Wolf’s Landing. And now, the man who inspired him to take up acting – and made him realize he’s gay – is joining the cast, and sparks fly between them instantly. But Carter is out and proud and determined to stay true to himself.
Remaining just friends is the only thing to do, as both the studio and Levi’s disapproving, dysfunctional family keep reminding them. Except their friendship deepens by the day, tempting them with what they can’t have but both desperately need.
I like Witt’s books, I will admit that, and so it was no surprise that Levi and Carter’s story appealed to me and drew me in quickly. The premise of the TV show set in the Pacific Northwest and how the Levi and Carter come together was within the realm of possibility, and the buildup of their friendship and eventual romantic involvement was well-paced and totally believable. With a mutual love of indie films, attraction, and personalities, the sexual tension was ever-present and built at a steady pace. Take away the attraction, and these guys were best friend material, and as such, I was more and more emotionally invested in the story as they themselves got closer and closer.
The many secondary characters were well utilized, giving a nice feeling of interconnectedness and supporting the main storyline effectively. References to Forks (Twilight) helped us to picture the town and scenery, and honestly made me grin as Levi was setting the stage for the story.
Russo does a great job with the various character voices, from the differentiation, to the consistency, I was impressed, and liked that I could easily tell who was speaking during the story based on that. I also liked how Russo addressed internal dialogue with variations in the volume and tone. What caught my ear, though, was a bit of sloppy diction, in particular, four words that when spoken kept pulling me out of the story. Now, if a single character pronounced a word or words sloppily and it was appropriate to that character, I am fine with that, but when all of the characters and the narrator do it consistently, then it bugs me. A relatively minor flaw in a good performance.
Struck was a winner in my view, I have already even listened to it twice, and so my issues with the diction were obviously not a deal breaker.