Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Racing TBR (To Be Read)

Challenge: More Than One (An author who has more than one book in your TBR--to be read--pile)

Title: Racing for the Sun
Author: Amy Lane
Grade: A

First off, I don't have one TBR pile.  In fact, my TBR pile has a bunch of TBR piles.  How does that work?  Well, I like to keep things semi-organized, so my TBR pile is divided by subgenre--review books, gay books, Westerns, contemporaries, and non-fiction.  I also have a miscellaneous TBR pile with bits and pieces which don't fit in the bigger piles.

I always enjoy reading Amy Lane's gay romances, mainly because her books feature such quirky and lovable-despite-themselves characters.  But she writes way faster than I can keep up, so Amy Lane novels seem to pile up quickly on my TBR list.

Racing for the Sun is another in a long line of her anti-heroes who turn out to be larger than life heroes.

Jasper "Ace" Atchison bonds almost instantly with Sonny Daye when Sonny joins Ace's Army unit.  Although Ace immediately knows that Sonny is hiding something, he also knows that short, frail-looking Sonny needs protection from those bigger and meaner than he is, and Ace is just the right man for the job.

Both of them love cars, and Sonny is a mechanic who can build the fastest race car around.  Leaving the service, they set up a garage together and start street racing, winning both with the adrenalin high and the betting money.

But as in all of Lane's angst novels, the past barrels down on Ace and Sonny, nearly wiping them out.  To say more is to spoil the book.

What makes this book special is its tone.  Written in the first person from Ace's point of view, the novel shrieks of rural America, the good-ole-boys standing around an open garage talking about the fish that got away or the car that could go 0-60 in half a second. 

Images of grease-stained coveralls and grimy, calloused hands underlie the tender emotions and electric link between Ace and Sonny.

Both Ace and Sonny are so vivid that even those of us who live in cities and rarely see mechanics working in garages will know them intimately.  Lane's stark prose breathes life into them and makes the unknown believable.

This is one of those books that lives on in the back of readers' minds and bubbles up when least expected.  It's made me move the rest of Lane's backlist to the forefront of my TBR pile.

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