Jake Moore is on the precipice of an abyss that he cannot seem to escape. Trapped by a dying father he despises and exhausted by a lifetime of pain, Jake doesn’t see an end to his agony. Thoughts of suicide consume him even as he manages his work as a welder and finds a measure of solace in his art. And then he meets Dallas Yates.
Dallas comes from a loving family and with his best friend Celeste at his side, he’s determined to renovated a worn down building and return it to its former glory. When he hires Jake to take care of the welding and metal refurbishment, he doesn’t expect to find himself drawn so deeply into the other man’s life. But Jack is everything Dallas wants and he’s willing to wait as long as it takes to win Jake over. Before Jake can consider any kind of future with Dallas though, he has to face his past and hope that doing so doesn’t end up destroying him.
There’s This Guy was, by turns, beautiful, agonizing, and slightly exasperating. We are introduced to the depth of Jake’s agony on page one and it’s brutal in its intensity. The author has done a wonderful job of transmitting the scope of his pain into real and meaningful text. It isn’t always easy to read and there are times you wonder if Jake can possibly endure even another page of it. But he’s strong and tough and you can’t help loving him for it. Dallas has something of a white knight syndrome, but it works and his affection for Jake is clearly rooted in something powerful. I felt like Dallas was lacking some of the depth that Jake had, but he was still excellent character and he and Jake work on every level.
The secondary cast is strong and, while they are firmly relegated to the background, they are given enough breath and life to allow them purpose without enveloping the story. The first two thirds of There’s This Guy are exceptionally strong and then it stumbles a bit. I feel like the story pulls away from Jack and Dallas and focuses on events that are neither important nor seem particularly well integrated into the wider story. I found this frustrating, as the pacing and plot had been relatively strong up until this point. Had the author simply allowed their relationship to continue evolving naturally, it could have been a near perfect book. Instead the story falls prey to a hurried finale and too much determination to wraps things up.
Despite a somewhat rushed and uneven ending, There’s This Guy is a truly wonderful read and Jake will captivate most readers right from the start. His journey is far from simple, but the reading of it was powerful and provocative for all the right reasons. This novel is heavy on the angst and suicide, or at least the thought of it, is a major theme so if you have triggers, you may want to give this one a pass. For everyone else though, consider There’s This Guy highly recommended.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.