Title: Tonight’s Encore (For the Love of Pup: Book One)
Author: Parker Avrile
Length: 203 Pages
At a Glance: Tonight’s Encore was just too much of a slow starter and way too underdeveloped plot-wise to really shine.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Is there a second chance after your first love gets famous?
Zac was once Bobby, before he left his old name and his old flame to claw his way to the top of the charts. A decade later, bounced from his band, the erstwhile celebrity finds himself crawling home alone with his tail between his legs.
Reed hasn’t seen Bobby for ten years after making the tough choice to quit music to study medicine. His small town needs a local doctor, and Reed has worked hard to fill that need. Sure, it’s lonely for a gay man in a place this size, but he has his loyal dog Magnum by his side to keep him company.
When Magnum literally knocks over the stranger squatting in the old Mason place, Reed didn’t expect to meet his Bobby from way back when.
Can former friends find the love they lost, or will the paparazzi tear them apart for good? Even with a nudge from an intelligent dog, how can a celebrity and a small-town doctor make it together? This steamy gay romance is a complete full-length standalone novel with no cheating and no cliffhangers.
Review: When a reviewer begins their summary of a book and its strengths and flaws with, “oh, if only,” you know to be prepared for a bumpy ride into how they felt about a novel. Parker Avrile’s latest novel, Tonight’s Encore made me say, “oh, if only” many, many times. To say I enjoyed a part of this book would be true—unfortunately, it was the last third or so and to be honest, if I had not been reviewing this one I would have bailed on it long before then. However, I am glad I persevered because it showed me that this writer has some definite strengths when it comes to writing a suspenseful storyline and that, when focused, the book could contain more than endless sex scenes strung together by lightweight moments of plot and character development.
After ten years of cleaning up after his lover and bandmate, Zac Dillon leaves behind the drug addicted, narcissistic lead singer, Troy, and quits the band after being paid handsomely for his departure and being told he is bound to silence regarding his time in the band. He disappears into the mountain home his grandparents left him, and tries to forget how much time he wasted on Troy and the fact that he still struggles with his feelings for him.
Reed has returned to his roots to be the doctor to a town that needs one, desperately. He has signed up for a five year stint as a way to help pay his med school fees, and we also discover he had done some stripping along the way to finance his college. Reed and his dog, Magnum, often hike the woods in order to check for poachers, loggers who are a constant threat to the forests’ well-being. This day he sees that the old cabin of his former high school flame is occupied, and investigates only to discover that this Zac was once his “Bobby”—guitarist to his drummer in high school, and the boy he was in love with at that time. But, many years have passed and even though there is still a spark there, the two agree to be sex buddies with no ties. Little do they know that the heart has its own ideas where all of that is concerned.
Zac and Reed grew on me during this novel. After we waded through the countless sex scenes (which had a good bit of kink in them), and we actually got to the point in the story where these two guys became genuine with each other (as their pasts resurfaced to give them both a bit of hell), I found myself liking their dynamic together. However, prior to the last few chapters of this story there was little to go on other than continuous sex and a very fragile storyline that seemed to be going nowhere fast. Scene after scene rolled out with seemingly no connection to anything—no furthering the plot, no developing character, no cementing emotions or deepening them either. It was frustrating due to the fact that there was such potential in this story—you wanted to like these guys, you wanted to be on their side and see them rekindle what they once had.
Thankfully, when a disaster struck which threatened to destroy both Zac and Reed and what was developing between them, this story took a dramatic upswing. All of a sudden we were thrown into the turmoil of this great comeback scheme by Zac’s former lover, which he seemed powerless to stop. Coupling that with Reed’s college stripping job coming to the surface and threatening to expose him to the small town that trusted him as their doctor, and you had a sudden burst of energy and an uptick in pacing and plot development that really was quite good. All of a sudden I found myself invested in this story and in the fate of these two men. Here was the novel I had been hoping for all along, and while it was still a bit contrived, it was also entertaining and satisfying. Unfortunately, it came way too late in the book to really save this one from being just a mediocre attempt at storytelling.
Tonight’s Encore was just too much of a slow starter and way too underdeveloped plot-wise to really shine. However, if this writer can give us more of what I saw in the last third of this novel, then I have no doubt that future reviews will be very different. There is great potential here, and I am hopeful that subsequent stories will prove to be longer on plot and substantially shorter on meaningless sex.
You can buy Tonight’s Encore here: