Rating: 4.25 stars
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Garrison’s brother Brandon is killed by an IED in Afghanistan, leaving Brandon’s pregnant wife, Kylie, behind. While at the wake, Garrison meets Kylie’s brother, Walt, who takes Garrison away from the memory of his dead brother if only for a few hours. Garrison and Walt quickly figure out that they have more in common than just Brandon and end up at Walt’s in bed.
Two weeks of leave from the Navy turns out to be an eternity and Garrison appears to be on a self-destructive path until Walt steps in and helps to relieve Garrison’s tension. However, Walt is so far in the closet, he can’t see daylight, and since Garrison is scheduled to return to Afghanistan, he knows it goes no further. Problem is that Garrison is no longer in the game, zigging when he should be zagging, and if it keeps up, he will be honourably discharged…so much for retiring from the Navy SEALs.
No job, no home, Garrison lands at Walt’s doorstep and the sexual tension is still strong, but with Walt being in the closet, the best the men can hope for is to remain friends. Others start noticing the closeness between Garrison and Walt, a closeness that would not go over well in the small, conservative town. Both Walt and Garrison need to make a choice, a decision that they can both live with. Too bad it’s not as easy as it sounds.
I have a good number of Talbot’s books in my personal collection and was really looking forward to Drive Your Truck, not even knowing what it was all about. When I discovered that it was about a former Navy SEAL and a police officer, you could have knocked me over with a feather, I was that pleased.
I found that the beginning of Garrison and Walt’s relationship was less than warm and fuzzy, I mean hooking up with your sister-in-law’s brother at your brother’s wake, let’s just say ewww. Okay, maybe I’m being narrow-minded, “they” say sex can be life-affirming and that sure seemed to be the case with Garrison and Walt. Talbot did a pretty good job fleshing out not only our heroes, both also the key secondary characters like Kylie. The conflict was understated and felt realistic. It was obvious that they cared for each other but Walt’s job with the department and his fear of coming out would put a huge strain on any relationship, especially one born out of tragedy.
Drive your truck could be a metaphor for many things in the story, such as Garrison trying to retain the memory of his brother, Brandon, using the truck as a form of running away from a relationship that may not work. However, the metaphor was not really worked into the story to my satisfaction. I don’t mind working a bit to put a title and the story together, but when it is so close, so very close, I began to feel that what I was thinking was a stretch. And speaking of stretches, let’s talk about Garrison and his hypocrisy – it’s not like was out in the SEALs and yet he seems intolerant of Walt’s desire to protect his job and remain in the closet at work. I wanted to say “c’mom Walt, call Garrison out on it, dammit!” Sadly, Walt never did, but it still irked me.
Although Drive Your Truck was not the best book I have read by Talbot, it was still an enjoyable read and so if you like the ex-military/closeted cop who fuck like bunnies, this is definitely the book for you. With well developed characters and solid world-building, I can see myself re-reading it one day in the future.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.