Rating: 5 stars
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“Smart.” “Witty.” “Hot.” “Poignant.” “Compelling.” All of these are very appropriate words to describe Brad Boney’s novel, The Nothingness of Ben, along with stunning and oh so very good to the very last word.
Ben Walsh had not had much time for his three brothers. He was an up and coming trial lawyer with one of the most prestigious firms in New York when the news came that his parents were tragically killed in a car accident. And suddenly, Ben was a surrogate Dad to three brothers 10 years younger than he who did not fit into the niche he had created for himself over the years.
Upon returning home, Ben quickly realizes that he has only one option to keep his brothers together—drop everything and become the big brother they need and the fill-in parent they crave. The boys, however, are not going to make it easy on him. After all, he had become an ace at cutting them out of his life and they were determined not to become another “responsibility” their brother Ben viewed from afar.
However, what Ben does not bargain for is the latest “adoptee” his parents had taken in prior to their death. Travis Atwood, resident cook and mechanic by trade, strolls into Ben’s life with a genuine “aw shucks” naïveté and a heart of gold. He is also straight. Or so it would seem. Before long, however, there is a easy attraction growing between the two men and it is here where Brad Boney takes the tired and often unbelievable “gay for you” theme and smashes it to bits.
Yes, Travis is “gay” for Ben but there is so much more here at stake. There is the sense of family that Travis brings to the table—all three boys loving him and cherishing him so much that Ben, at first, keeps him around just to add normalcy to his brother’s lives. But as time marches on, Ben realizes that he, too, cannot seem to make it through the day without time spent with Travis—so easygoing, so relatable, so sweet, so right—so very right. This couple will experience trials, their own “muddy waters,” but, in the end, they recover triumphantly and, oh my, what a lovely moment that turns out to be!
The Nothingness of Ben is a dialogue driven story with just enough descriptive and introspective prose thrown in to make it one of the most compelling stories I have read in a long time. The richness of the conversations that author Brad Boney creates between his character is rife with humor and honesty. It’s as though you are eavesdropping on another couple’s conversation—it’s that natural and that interesting. His secondary characters spark off the page nearly as brilliantly as do the principals and so you never find yourself asking when he will get back to the main action as every word—every moment is simply sublime.
I would venture to day that The Nothingness of Ben is destined to be one of the top novels of 2013. Yes, dear reader—it is that good! Author Brad Boney is an up and coming talent whom I sincerely hope continues to run out novels of this caliber for years to come. The Nothingness of Ben—it is a 5 star read you won’t want to miss!