Title: Johnny Two-Guns
Author: Mark Wildyr
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: The book wasn’t what I expected. It’s a definite heartbreaking and heartwarming story, and I highly recommend it.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: When vacationing Denver architect Roger Mackie rolls into a quaint old trading post in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountain Range to gas up his car, it’s the start of a life-changing journey. Lean, handsome Chippewa Johnny Two-Guns is looking for a ride. He’s on a mission to recover some clan treasures. Roger is immediately smitten and drives Johnny all the way to Arizona.
Although the two successfully build a friendship, Roger is unable to initiate the intimacy they both seem to desire. A second visit gives Roger another chance to draw Johnny out of his shell. The payoff is spectacular, leading to a week of sex and discovery, during which Johnny’s innocent enthusiasm shows Roger a new side of love between men. But trouble is on the horizon for the new couple, as fate seems set against them. And what does the sudden appearance of sexy young architect Brad Beaver portend for the future?
Review: Roger Mackie, Denver architect, and his friend and co-worker Stan were going to go on a vacation to celebrate their divorces, but Roger’s plans fall apart from the beginning when a new contract is landed and Stan has to stay behind. Roger heads out on his own, with no particular place to go in mind, when he finds himself in the Bitterroot Mountains, at a little trading post where he first lays eyes on Johnny Two-Guns, a young Native American of the Chippewa tribe.
Adam Beasley, the trading post owner, and Roger strike up a conversation and from that, he learns of Johnny’s situation. Johnny is heading to Tucson to bring back a calumet that belongs in his family. Johnny stirs something in Roger, and he has a flashback to his teenage years and his first time with another boy. Roger finds himself so intrigued with Johnny that he offers him a ride to Butte. As Roger learns about the young man, he starts to appreciate his company and the trip extends all the way to Arizona. Roger struggles with his feelings for Johnny, but the trip comes to an end—Johnny goes home and Roger goes back to Denver.
Roger and Johnny still keep in touch, and eventually they have the chance to reunite. They spend time together and share more information about themselves, and a relationship develops—but Roger wants Johnny to be absolutely sure this is what he wants, so they agree to wait a month before making the final decision. Johnny goes home and then Roger gets a call that has him spiraling out of control.
As Roger’s life is at a stalemate, Stan gets Roger back on his feet and back to work. Then Roger is taken aback by Brad Beaver, a new intern at the firm. With so many confusing emotions, Roger tries to avoid Brad, but Brad is working hard and is tired of being passed over by Roger, so Brad finally decides to confront him.
I really liked Roger and Johnny’s characters. Mark Wildyr did an excellent job of bringing them to life; you could really feel the special kind of love they shared. I also liked the warm, down home feeling Mr. Wildyr portrayed between Roger and Adam Beasley—you could feel a friendship growing.
Roger’s pain and grief was very powerful and I thought it strange, at first, that he would go back to dating a woman after Johnny. There are some very good and subtle moments with Brad too, a little jealousy, his dating women and being propositioned by a man. As their being bisexual is never mentioned in the story, I looked at this as Roger, Johnny, and Brad at the stage of discovering their sexuality.
What I really loved most about this story, though, is the Native American history and culture that Mr. Wildyr brought to this story: how Johnny’s family was given the name of Two-Guns, the Native American attitude toward gay men, such as the Berdaches that could relate to the world as a man and woman, and Niizh Manidoowag, who was referred to as agokwa. There’s also a cameo appearance by Charlie Blackbear, Daniel Warhorse, and Aden Smith from Charlie Blackbear, also written by Mark Wildyr.
Johnny Two-Guns really took me by surprise–the book wasn’t what I expected. It’s a definite heartbreaking and heartwarming story, and I highly recommend it.
You can buy Johnny Two-Guns here: