Title: There’s This Guy
Author: Rhys Ford
Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 7 hours and 30 minutes
At a Glance: There’s This Guy is a rich story of healing and love, voiced by a consummate professional who gave life to each and every character.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?
Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.
It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued Art Deco building on the WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the artistic, sweet man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.
When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.
Review: The Story: This novel begins with a stunning jolt to the senses, and the painful hits keep coming one after another as we are privy to Jake Moore’s tortured life history. With each gripping memory that is wrenched from his battered soul, we get a deeper and more profound window into the man whose life has been nothing less than a hell on earth. Author Rhys Ford’s descriptive writing encapsulates the past of her main character so succinctly when the man who will come to love Jake remarks on what he has come to realize about the quiet, shy welder: “At some point in Jake Moore’s life someone made him…less.”
In one poetic and gorgeous descriptive scene after another, we watch Jake begin to shed a lifetime of guilt, anger and self-loathing, all while Dallas Yates stands ready to be the friend Jake needs most and the lover he has denied himself for so long. This novel is difficult to synopsize, primarily because it is a journey of self-discovery and a realization of certain longings that were held to be wrong and unattainable. To say that Jake transforms in this story is putting it mildly, and even though it is a lengthy journey through some really dark material, it is well worth taking. Yes, at times the language is a bit over the top, in my opinion, and yet it all seems somehow to fit.
The cast of secondary characters compliments our two men and often provide much needed humor and respite from the heavy nature of the overall text. But it is Jake and Dallas and their developing relationship that hold center stage in this story, and deservedly so. Rhys Ford touches on everything from physical abuse by a parent to zealous religious beliefs stifling a person’s sexuality and self-worth, and she does so with brutal honesty, never shying away from the damage that both do to the heart and mind of a person.
After such an arduous, gut-wrenching journey, There’s This Guy resolves a bit too quickly for my liking, and leaves a few important issues hanging—one is reminded of the gun and the revelation about Jake’s father in relation to the weapon as a case in point—but it does not diminish the fact that it’s a gorgeous story of survival and love.
The Audio: There is no denying that Greg Tremblay is one of the finest voice artists on the scene today. His crisp, clear delivery that manages to convey heaps of emotional pathos is just the ticket for this particular novel. This is a narrator who just doesn’t wait for dialogue to deliver stirring and impassioned moments that otherwise might be lost by a lesser recitation. Mr. Tremblay infuses his dissertation with just the right amount of drama for that near perfect effect. You feel the characters live through his narration, and then hear them come alive when he gives voice to their thoughts and interactions. I was most impressed by the varied pitches, accents and pacing used to portray each person in this novel. While there were times when I felt the vocal tones of Dallas and his best friend, Celeste, were a bit too close making them hard to differentiate, the narrator used the faint southern accent for Dallas and saved most of those scenes.
The strength of this narrator lay in his flawless pacing—particularly when reading the prose sections of the story. It just poured off Mr. Tremblay’s silver tongue and wrapped itself around you, thrusting you completely into the story and never letting up. You could feel Jake’s despair, Dallas’ frustration, and the cold hate of Jake’s father, throughout. I am fairly certain this novel might have suffered at the hands of a lesser narrator, for so much of it centered on the actor’s voice revealing the depth of Jake’s pain during long passages that were more prose than dialogue.
There’s This Guy is a rich story of healing and love, voiced by a consummate professional who gave life to each and every character, and depth to the beautifully lyrical prose passages that made this a story well worth the read.
You can buy There’s This Guy here: