Note: Out of Nowhere is the sequel to Roan Parrish’s fabulous In the Middle of Somewhere. The main character in this story is revealed in rather dramatic fashion in the first book, and the timelines overlap between the stories. Therefore, this review will reveal the main character of the second book. The first book is FABULOUS (and one of my favorites of 2015) so if you haven’t read it, I’d highly recommend checking it out!
Colin Mulligan leads a pretty miserable life. He works as an auto mechanic with his father and brothers and spends most of his time working to hide his sexuality and control the rage and panic attacks that rule his life. He controls his feelings with drinking, exercising, fighting, and obsessive cleaning. It’s been years since he has been happy and it doesn’t seem like his future looks much better.
When Colin is attacked in an alley after a bar hookup, he is helped by Rafael Guerrera. Rafe tracks Colin down later and his calm presence manages to sneak past Colin’s defenses. The two begin to spend more time together, and Colin even volunteers at Rafe’s LGBT youth center. Something about Rafe manages to give Colin some peace and happiness, something he has been sorely lacking between the stress of staying closeted and working to stay on the good side of his difficult, bigoted father.
As much as he grows to care about Rafe, it is almost impossible for Colin to imagine a life for himself with another man. He is afraid to tell anyone he is gay; he can barely bring himself to be with Rafe in public. And after Rafe got out of prison and turned his life around, he is determined to work for a better future for himself, one that he hopes can include Colin. But before that can happen, Colin has to accept his own right to happiness. With some work, however, maybe he can have a life with Rafe that he never dared even imagine.
As I mentioned at the start of the review, this story follows the wonderful In the Middle of Somewhere and gives us a different spin on Colin Mulligan. In that first book, Colin is pretty clearly the villain. He makes Daniel miserable and generally comes across as a horrible human being. Colin constantly picks on Daniel for being gay, so when we learn in that book that Colin is gay as well, it rocks everyone’s world, and I was really excited to see how Parrish would manage to turn him into the hero of his own story.
Out of Nowhere overlaps the timeline of the first book, opening fairly soon after Daniel has moved to Michigan. We see right away how truly, deeply unhappy Colin is. He is just this ball of rage and desperation, and he has a host of unhealthy habits that he uses in attempt to control his emotions. But he is pretty much in a downward spiral and things are quite bleak. Colin has worked since he was a child to fit his father’s expectations. Not just that, but to try to smooth his father’s path since their mother’s death. It has forced Colin to hide so much of himself, and he just lives in fear of not meeting expectations.
Rafe is this wonderful, calming presence. He has had a difficult past, but come out the other side. Rafe is patient and kind and works hard to have the positive future he really wants. So the two men are at different points on their journey. Rafe has found where he wants to be, and is now looking for someone to share his life. And poor Colin is still at the point where he can’t even imagine a positive future for himself, let alone begin working to get there. I loved the way that Rafe slowly brings Colin out of his dark place. He is just so patient, so undemanding. Colin slowly begins to open up, to enjoy his life and to think about what he might want. That is not to say that it comes easy though, because it doesn’t. There are times when Rafe is frustrated and hurt because Colin is just not able to move forward. But these guys are so good together, and I really enjoyed Colin’s journey.
This book intertwines fairly closely with the first story, and I would recommend that you read In the Middle of Somewhere first, for a few reasons. The timelines overlap here and I think you will get more out of this book if you have seen how things played out in the first one. For example, here we see the scene where Daniel finds out Colin is gay, this time from Colin’s POV. Seeing Daniel’s side of things is especially important as we see Colin redeemed over the course of this story. I don’t think we get the full effect here of just how awful he was to Daniel, how fraught their relationship truly is. I actually wish that had been developed a bit more here, along with Colin’s relationship with his dad. Those are such pivotal points and I think I learned more about them in the first story than here. We also see Daniel, Rex, and even Ginger appear here, and knowing their stories makes this book richer. Not to mention that the first book is amazing and I would recommend it to anyone.
This story takes a bit of a darker tone than the first book, something that makes sense given Colin’s emotional state. I think Parrish does a great job exploring his character and showing us the other side of the relationship that we had previously only seen from Daniel’s POV. I am not sure Colin is always 100% likable, but I could really feel for him, and I was so happy to see him find himself and begin to take steps toward his future with Rafe. Redeeming a villain isn’t always easy, but Parrish does a great job with that here. I am really a big fan of this series and I am dying for the next book!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.