Buy Link: Reverb
Author: Jet Mykles
Publisher: MLR Press
Life is going great for guitarist Nick Gorman. His career has taken off and he is touring with the hugely popular musician Marlowe and his band. Marlowe is interested in Nick’s songs and is planning to make them a part of the group’s next album. Nick is living the rock star life, complete with wild parties and readily available sex, drugs, and alcohol.
Lead singer Marlowe is totally hot for Nick and senses that Nick shares the attraction, even if Nick doesn’t really recognize his own interest in the other man. Although Marlowe enjoys women for his casual hookups, the encounters he really cares about are with men. One night after a successful show, he tempts Nick into a sexual encounter, easing the way with drugs that lower Nick’s inhibitions. Nick is shocked to find out that not only is Marlowe interested in him, but that he shares the attraction. But before the men have a chance to really explore things, a near-fatal accident caused by Marlowe’s irresponsibility turns their world upside down.
Nick survives the accident, but his arm is severely broken, keeping him from playing guitar for over a year. And Marlowe must pay for his crimes with jail time and rehab. Nick is furious with Marlowe and refuses to even talk about him, let alone forgive him for his actions. And Marlowe is a changed person, losing a lot of his bravado and realizing that he needs to reevaluate his life and his actions. He still cares for Nick greatly, but Marlowe doesn’t know if they will ever be able to move past the accident and rebuild the relationship between them.
Wow, this was such a good story! It shows such a different side of the rock star life than we usually see in romance novels. Almost everyone involved in the story indulges in the ever present drugs and alcohol. They go to wild parties, are offered all kinds of vices, and sex is readily available from women constantly throwing themselves at the band. Marlowe is almost god-like, able to do whatever he wants because he is famous, talented, and incredibly magnetic. Seeing him start out this way, and watching him come to terms with the new person he has become after prison and rehab as he struggles with his insecurities and staying sober is incredibly powerful.
I really loved the way the relationship develops between the two men. Nick’s anger at Marlowe is understandable and I was glad that the book doesn’t go for the quick fix. Marlowe has to earn his way back into Nick’s life and he recognizes the need to gain and keep Nick’s trust again. It was also interesting to see how Marlowe overcompensates, wanting to give in on everything to please Nick and make him happy, and how it takes time for the men to find some balance in their relationship and really make things work. The book also nicely explores Nick realization of his attraction to Marlowe. He is surprised by his feelings at first, and it takes time for him to become truly comfortable with the physical side of things. I thought this was a nice change from many stories where the guy who previously identifies as straight jumps right into all aspects of a sexual relationship without needing any time to adjust.
This book really blew me away and I just loved it. If you have read Mykles’ Heaven Sent series (which I also enjoyed), I think you will find the tone of this book quite different. Those are much lighter and glossier, whereas Reverb is a much more gritty and realistic portrayal of the music industry and the dangers of fame and readily available vices. It is a great story of finding forgiveness, as well examining your life and figuring out who you really are and who you want to be.