Author: Amy Lane
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Run Time: 8 hours and 12 minutes
Category: Contemporary, Drama
At a Glance: The angst is strong with this one—but I loved me some Cal and Avery.
Reviewed By: Cassie
Blurb: Cal McCorkle has lived in Bluewater Bay his whole life. He works two jobs to support a brother with a laundry list of psychiatric diagnoses and a great-uncle with Alzheimer’s, and his personal life amounts to impersonal hookups with his boss. He’s got no time, no ambition, and no hope. All he has is family, and they’re killing him one responsibility at a time.
Avery Kennedy left Los Angeles, his family, and his sleazy boyfriend to attend a Wolf’s Landing convention, and he has no plans to return. But when he finds himself broke and car-less in Bluewater Bay, he’s worried he’ll have to slink home with his tail between his legs. Then Cal McCorkle rides to his rescue, and his urge to run away dies a quick death.
Avery may seem helpless at first, but he can charm Cal’s fractious brother, so Cal can pretty much forgive him anything. Even being adorkable. And giving him hope. But Cal can only promise Avery “until we can’t” – and the cost of changing that to “until forever” might be too high, however much they both want it.
Review: Angst, hurt-comfort, and tense circumstances abound in this one. On the Amy Lane angst-o-meter, The Deep of the Sound is closer to the Johnnies end of the spectrum than to the Mannies end, so be prepared with tissues and maybe a teddy bear.
Amy Lane is extremely skilled at writing you right into her characters’ brains. That talent is on clear display here with Cal. Even with the dual POV, this book was all about Cal for me. Probably because even when the book follows Avery’s POV, I was busy worrying about Cal. The poor guy is stretched thin and basically whittled down to the bone with fatigue and worry. His family’s medical situation is tenuous—a great uncle with Alzheimer’s and an adult younger brother with some fairly severe spectrum issues, both living at home. They not only eat up all of his monetary resources, but also his emotional ones. He has no familial support outside his two dependents and very little income, even after working two grueling jobs. When he’s injured on the job, all his spinning plates hit the floor in spectacular fashion. It’s a tough listen, because he’s so desperately worried and so precariously situated. It was particularly timely that I was going through this audio at this moment in our country’s discussion of healthcare reform. I actually struggled to finish because current events lent the story a too scary dose of realism. But I loved Avery and Cal together, and it felt so good to see Cal finally getting something just for him in his life.
Nick J. Russo does his usual competent job on the audio. He does a good job with differentiating dialogue, and he handles the characters’ emotions with aplomb. He’s always pleasant to listen to; I never worry when I see he’s the narrator.
The book has its fair share of tragedy, but is ultimately hopeful. There’s also a prequel of sorts if you’re interested. Lights, Camera, Cupid!, the Valentine’s Day anthology from this series, is all about Cal’s great uncle and the events in the family leading up to Cal’s storyline in The Deep of the Sound. Very lovely, and very sad, and it lends a lot of context to this book. I recommend it—if you want to up the angst rating by about 1000%. If not, The Deep of the Sound can stand on its own and will give you an angsty listen with a bittersweet ending.
You can buy The Deep of the Sound here: