Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 289 Pages
At a Glance: I can tell you to buy this novel because you see, it is, simply put, outstanding storytelling.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Lies are the chains that keep you weighed down at rock bottom.
Officer Noel Carlson isn’t out to anyone in small-town Stratton, Pennsylvania, only to distant friends and family, so a relationship is out of the question. That doesn’t stop him from wanting one, though.
When a night-shift call brings him face to thonged butt with a hired stripper whose girl-party gig went terribly wrong, Noel takes pity on the guy and lets him go. But he can’t get the encounter out of his mind.
Shane has big-time debts to repay, especially to the brother who sacrificed nearly everything for him. His two jobs, in a deli and as a stripper, leave him no time for a social life. But a non-date of hot sex and takeout food with Noel? He can squeeze that in.
The bond they form is stronger than either expected or wanted. Especially since the step Shane’s about to take to put his brother—and his soul—back in the black isn’t quite legal. And he never calculated just how much his determination to make things right will cost him in the end.
Warning: Following on from the Cost of Repairs series, this book contains a closeted cop who’s looking for love, an indebted stripper who doesn’t believe he’s worthy, and a tasteful abundance of dirty guy sex. Also contains references to past physical abuse some readers may find disturbing.
Review: To be frank with you, I am not sure where to begin with this novel, The Truth As He Knows It by A.M. Arthur. You see, every once in a while a story comes along that steals your breath away. One that causes you to frantically turn page after page to get to the good part—you know that part—the one where the relationship is finally safe, where the pain has a place to go, where healing begins. And with this kind of book, the relief you experience at that moment is swiftly followed by so much regret—that the story—the impeccably written, blindingly beautiful story is—finished. Done…and now you can do nothing more than go back to page one and start all over again.
I am pretty sure I fell in love with two men during this book. Yes, with two, and for totally different reasons. The story itself is actually not over involved, yet it is so taut and sharply written that each moment literally zings with tension. Is their angst? Oh heavens, yes, but it is so good—the kind of angst that tells you the story you are reading is so believable, so real, and with characters so fully fleshed out you are certain you can finish their thoughts by novel’s end. So what can I tell you that the blurb has not already accomplished?
I can tell you that the brothers, Shane and Jason, hide some very deep, dark secrets, and they are thick as thieves in making sure they have each other’s backs. I can tell you that for such a young man, Shane carries the weight of a past so abusive and frightful that you will be amazed he has any strength left to care for Noel at all. To be clear, there is physical molestation by a stepparent in this novel, but it is off page and rarely mentioned—however, for some this could be a trigger so please, if you are such a soul, proceed with caution.
I can relate to you how patient Noel is and how much he wants things to work with Shane who, in turn, is so guilt ridden, but determined to clear an outstanding debt in order to give Jason some breathing room financially, that all he can do is push Noel away lest he hurt him as well. Shane is a fatalist—never expecting to be worthy of love and so always shutting it down before it has a chance to flourish. I would also mention that the scenes between Noel and his friend Tristan, who suffers memory loss due to gay bashing, are rich with tenderness and such love.
I can grieve just a bit and tell you there is great sadness in this novel before it ever achieves its happy ever after but, oh my, every moment of sadness is needed to give life to an incredible love that will last the test of time for Shane and Noel.
Finally, I can tell you to buy this novel because you see, it is, simply put, outstanding storytelling by a consummate artist, A.M. Arthur. The Truth As He Knows It is an epic journey of accepting self—no matter how damaged or unworthy that self is. It is also an incredibly beautiful story of love between two brothers who have saved each other countless times, and between two lovers who are discovering each other for the very first time. I highly recommend this novel to you.
You can buy The Truth As He Knows It here: