Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: There is so much to think about in this book and Reed guides us with a gentle hand
Blurb: Life can change in the blink of an eye. That’s a truth Andy Slater learns as a young man in 1982, taking the Chicago ‘L’ to work every morning. Andy’s life is laid out before him: a good job, marriage to his female college sweetheart, and the white picket fence existence he believes in. But when he sees Carlos Castillo for the first time, Carlos’s dark eyes and Latin appeal mesmerize him. Fate continues to throw them together until the two finally agree to meet up. At Andy’s apartment, the pent-up passion of both young men is ignited, but is snuffed out by an inopportune and poorly-timed phone call.
Flash forward to present day. Andy is alone, having married, divorced, and become the father of a gay son. He’s comfortable but alone and has never forgotten the powerful pull of Carlos’s gaze on the ‘L’ train. He vows to find him once more, hoping for a second chance. If life can change in the blink of an eye, what will the passage of thirty years do? To find out, Andy begins a search that might lead to heartache and disappointment or a love that will last forever…
Review: Blink is a fascinating book. Rick R. Reed took one of his own memories and ran with it. He let us experience the what ifs, the maybes, and the if onlys, as he showed us the possibilities of a second look, a chance longer than the blink of an eye.
The book starts in Chicago in 1982 with Andy on the L train. He spies Carlos as he is on his way to work, and is mesmerised by him. Alternating POVs with each chapter gives us a firm base for the characters to grow in, and we get a sense of the difficulties of being a gay man in the 80s. There is hope in Carlos, but he has an overwhelming lack of expectation. When that plays out and results in their parting, we are not surprised: hurt maybe, sad definitely.
When we next see Andy it is in the present time, and he has claimed his life as a gay man. He is long divorced and the father of a young gay man himself. He is comfortable with himself, but lonely. A chance encounter reminds him of Carlos, and he begins a journey to find him.
There is so much to think about in this book and Reed guides us with a gentle hand, never harsh, even though the misery of the 80s for gay men was awful. We are allowed to feel that briefly, but the focus quickly shifts towards the hope and acceptance we enjoy now. I appreciated the back and forth flow of the book the author employed with the POV. I could guess what was going to happen as I was all seeing, but I was totally engaged by the characters at the same time due to the skills of the author. He has an incredible talent for descriptive word use that allows us to see and feel so much more than the simple words on the page.
This was a very simple idea that Rick R. Reed took and turned into a very complex and satisfying read. If you are looking for a sweet romance, then this book is for you. If you want a taste of the turmoil that the older gay men today have gone through, then this book is for you. The search for a sense of self is universal, but the times you live in really have a part to play in that search, and the author gives us that too—the relatively easy quest for his own love that Tate juxtaposes so well with the trials that Andy goes through. While the story begins with the regrets of missed, or passed over, opportunities, there is a sincere sense of gratitude for the gifts life has given to each man. This appreciation adds to the hope the reader has for Andy and Carlos’s HEA, and solidifies our surety of their future.
You can buy Blink here: