Title: My Dragon, My Knight
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 Pages
At a Glance: My Dragon, My Knight is nigh on brilliant as a psychological thriller, and endlessly sweet and tender as a romance.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Danny Sims is in over his head, torn between his abusive lover, Joshua, and Jay Holtsclaw, the bartender up the street, who offers Danny the one thing he never gets at home: understanding.
When Joshua threatens to get rid of Danny’s terrier, Danny knows he has to act fast. Afraid of what Joshua will do to the dog, and afraid of what Joshua will do to him if he tries to leave, Danny does the only thing he can do.
But Danny isn’t a complete fool. He has enough sense to run into the arms of the man who actually cares for him—the man he’s beginning to trust.
Just as their lives together are starting to fall into place, Danny and Jay learn how vengeful Joshua can be.
And how dangerous.
Review: First and foremost I can say, without a doubt, that the way in which this novel’s material was handled was with the utmost honesty and sensitivity. Is there both physical and mental abuse in this novel? Yes, there is, and it permeates quite a chunk of the first half of the book, so if you are triggered by reading such material, you may want to rethink diving into this story. However, I can tell you that what author John Inman does in developing his characters and allowing us to glimpse the inner thoughts and emotions of their hearts and minds is truly inspiring. We live inside Danny’s turmoil, his doubts, his fears and his shame. It is true, realistic and painful to read, and yet the end result, his triumph over the abusive relationship that has all the makings of a deadly one, is beautiful to read. The way in which Jay comes back to the land of the living after such personal loss, and finds love once more, is equally as moving. These two characters could not have been more fully realized and believable. On the flip side, and a near perfect foil to our two heroes, Jason could not have been the more perfect embodiment of evil insanity. John Inman carefully crafts a story of survival and love, and infuses it with some hair-raising moments of pure evil that will rock your world and then some.
My Dragon, My Knight takes a young man who is held prisoner by a controlling and abusive partner, and puts a knight in shining armor in his path; in fact, after reading this some may say that there are two such knights–one being Jay, and the other, sweet, sensitive Ernie. As secondary characters go, Mr. Inman hits it on the nail with the gentle giant Ernie, who is Jay’s bouncer at his bar. It is there that Danny goes to escape the hell his private life has become, mostly after each argument with Joshua, his controlling lover. Jay, who is just a year out from burying his own partner, who died suddenly in his very arms, can only watch somewhat helplessly as the battered and bruised Danny comes to seek solace at his bar.
When things come to a head between Danny and Joshua, it is to Jay he runs for help. Initially Danny just wants to save his little dog and asks Jay to take him in, but Jay quickly makes Danny see he must never return to the abusive Joshua, and moves him into his remote cabin in the mountains. What begins as a friendship soon grows into more, and much needed time, space and healing are all there for Danny, who laps them up and absolutely blossoms under Jay’s gentle care. However, Danny has always maintained that Joshua will follow through on his threat to get revenge, and when things begin to get creepy and disturbing at the cabin, Danny is sure that Joshua has returned to exact his pound of flesh.
This novel has so many twists and turns in the last third of the story that I could barely catch my breath. It was a taut, horrifying ride to the end, and I could not believe the depth of evil that lurked inside one of these characters. Once more I was transported right into the action and terror that John Inman liberally dished out in the final moments of this novel, and I was nearly devastated by the loss of one character and weeping tears of joy at the survival of others. This book is not for the faint of heart. The nature of Danny and Joshua’s relationship is such that you experience every moment of humiliation and pain Danny goes through until he manages to escape. At the same time, you can feel the grief Jay struggles with over the loss of his partner as palpably as if you knew the man personally. You grieve in different ways with both Jay and Danny over losses that are totally different and yet are so incredibly real and deep.
My Dragon, My Knight is nigh on brilliant as a psychological thriller, and endlessly sweet and tender as a romance; that it could be both, simultaneously, just speaks to this author’s incredible talent as a storyteller.
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