Reviewed by PizzyGirl
TITLE: The Sparky
AUTHOR: Marek Moran
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 3, 2017
Aaron’s been living in what his friend Howie calls a sexual desert. But an oasis appears on the horizon when Paul, a divorced electrician with a five-year-old daughter named Sam, moves in next door. He’s a country boy from northern Australia, and although he’s never been with a guy before, he has an impression that anything goes in the city. They find that the ordinary things in life—books, footie in the park, looking after Sam—lead them into an unlikely relationship.
But as their relationship slowly deepens, with Aaron spending time on Paul’s family’s cattle station, it becomes clear that Paul might have a harder time leaving the country behind. To him, happiness means a conventional life—including a mother for Sam. Being with his old friends convinces him he’s on the wrong path with Aaron, and he starts a relationship with a girl from his hometown. If he cannot find the courage to go after what he truly needs, he and Aaron will become nothing more than awkward neighbours.
Be warned, this is a VERY SLOW paced novel. It reads very much like a “day in the life of” with a lot of time spent building up details and setting up characterizations. If you are not inclined to wait it out and prefer things that move at a good clip, this one will annoy the mess out of you.
With that being said, I loved the slow pace because this was a strangers to friends to lovers to more story and I personally liked that the author spent so much time developing and building this relationship. I loved the everyday life feel of the story and I loved seeing how Australians live and their opinions on certain things like education and trade. The author took time to set up the location, the story, and the characters in a way that left me feeling lazy and relaxed but not overly bored, though it came close a few times.
The relationship needed to be a slow start because this was a delicate road these men were on and it had its up and downs and lefts and right and there were times I just wanted to slap them both for being so obtuse and stupid. But I never once questioned their journey or their feelings, until the big angst and the reunion.
I totally understood and believed Paul’s reaction. It felt authentic to his personality. But I have to admit the last 3rd of the novel left me feeling let down and as if the story was incomplete. For all the time the author devoted to growth and development, very little time was given to the reunion and the makeup before things were too perfectly happy. It didn’t work for me and left me with a LOT of unanswered questions. Maybe there will be a sequel to wrap this up, but as it stands, this story feels incomplete.
Even with the ending leaving me wanting, I do recommend this one. As a first time author this story was mostly well done and shows great potential. I look forward to more from him in the future as he develops his talent.
Finally, I would just like to say that the way Paul’s parents were portrayed was fantastic! They were country without being stupid. They felt natural to the story and were needed to move things forward. I loved the quiet way they showed their acceptance for Paul and Aaron without making it more than it needed to be. I felt this was one of the highlights of this novel and needed to make sure it was mentioned.