Title: Linear Park (States of Love)
Author: Ken Harrison
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 61 Pages
At a Glance: I’m sure there will be some folks whose opinion may differ, but I would pass on this one, guys.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Sean and Nick’s life together was a fairy tale: childhood friends who became lovers, high school sweethearts who married after college, both handsome professionals. Sean always enjoyed a few drinks, but after the death of his father, his alcoholism spiraled out of control… and it cost him everything.
When Sean loses his job and becomes too surly and unreasonable to live with, Nick has little choice but to end the relationship. Sean can’t blame Nick for giving up—not after the arguments and the lies—but he longs for the happiness and love they shared before he spoiled everything. He resolves to get sober and win back his husband. But even if he wins his battle with alcoholism, will it be too late to save his marriage?
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Review: Ok, I’m going for the tearing-off-a-Band-Aid approach and cutting right to the chase… Sadly, this one was mostly a miss for me. I have largely been enjoying the States of Love series from Dreamspinner Press, so at least it was a rare miss, but Linear Park was not at the level of the other stories I have enjoyed from the group. I didn’t hate it. I’m not saying it was the worst book I’ve ever read, or anything at all that extreme. However, I would say that it was just okay, and will probably not be one that sticks with me for any length of time.
I think the main problem, honestly, came down to the length of the story. There simply wasn’t enough character development or enough established between Sean and Nick together to get me to really care about what happened. I mean, we were told that they had been inseparable since kindergarten, and about them finally getting together in high school, and what had happened in college and beyond, but we didn’t get to see any of it. If the author had fleshed things out more by adding in some scenes where we get to see the MCs interacting, showing us how in love they are, and then also some scenes of Sean’s descent into alcoholism and subsequent apathy with regard to his marriage, or anything that didn’t directly affect his next drink, I would have been much more invested in the relationship.
Harrison’s tackling of the subjects of grief (the death of Sean’s dad is what purportedly begins his downward spiral) and substance abuse was commendable; both topics can be tricky and are typically very personal. Again, though, we are only given the CliffsNotes version of what happened, making it difficult to become fully invested in either what happened between Sean and Nick, or Sean’s recovery. I did like Sean and his friend Todd, who acted very much like a sponsor, though he was never referred to as such. But, I would have very much liked if the author had done some type of shared POV, and given us Nick’s perspective at some point.
The last twenty-percent was nice. There was finally a title reference, and it felt like the story began moving forward. Alas, at that point it was a matter of too little, too late, I think. *sigh* I hate how harsh this review sounds, but you can’t win ‘em all, I guess. I’m sure there will be some folks whose opinion may differ, but I would pass on this one, guys.
You can buy Linear Park here: