“The past will always come back to haunt you…” – Unknown
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 214 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Jason Day, brilliant designer of video games, is not only a confirmed bachelor, but he’s as gay as a maypole.
One wouldn’t think being saddled with his precocious four-year-old nephew for four weeks would be enough to throw him off-kilter.
Wrong. Timmy, Jason’s nephew, is a true handful.
But just when Timmy and Uncle Jason begin to bond, and Jason feels he’s getting a grip on this babysitting business once and for all, he’s thrown for a loop by a couple of visitors—one from Tucson, the other from beyond the grave.
I’m sorry. Say what?
Toss a murder, a hot young stud, an unexpected love affair, and a spooky-ass ghost with a weird sense of humor into Jason’s summer plans, and you’ve got the makings for one hell of a ride.
Review: It is no secret that I love author John Inman’s delightful sense of humor and the wonderful way he creates characters that can make me laugh out loud. However, I must say that I would never have thought that the words ghost story and John Inman would go hand in hand, much less translate into a full length novel. With the arrival of his latest novel, Spirit, I stand corrected and greatly entertained!
Our hero, while reluctant, is one Jason Day who takes on the care of his rather brash and outspoken nephew, Timmy. Timmy is a 42-year old con artist disguised as a four year old, and hilarity ensues as these two get used to being together. Not soon after Timmy’s arrival, another relative shows up. Sam, the brother of Timmy’s long since disappeared father, has an ulterior motive for his visit. Unlike Jason, Sam is positive his brother Paul did not abandon his family; rather he believes there has been foul play and that his brother is dead. When Timmy suddenly starts speaking to his father and a ghostly presence makes itself known, it is apparent to Jason he must not only reconsider Paul’s disappearance but must also begin to consider his sister’s involvement in what appears to be murder.
Spirit explodes onto the page and never lets up. It is not only a great ghost story complete with some hair raising supernatural episodes, it is a sweet love story that involves two men finding each other, and a little boy who captures their hearts as well. From the first time I read a John Inman novel, I knew that here was a talented storyteller with the gift of humor that communicated itself so well onto the written page. I can now add compelling mystery writer to this author’s long list of gifted abilities.
This story’s appeal all lies in the way in which the characters are developed and presented. They are rich in emotion, self-deprecating and undeterred in their pursuit of truth and of love. In other words, John Inman writes real people and fills his story with their insanely humorous foibles and quirks, not to mention their attraction to each other. He allows for the idea that love can happen when we least expect it, and that it is okay to say to a person let’s see where this goes because I cannot bear the idea of saying goodbye to you. He corners the market on sweet romance that is not overly sappy, grounded in realism and always a side note to the wonderfully intricate story he is presenting. To be clear, while there is great and, admittedly, hot sex in this story, that is not the focus—the boy, his lost father and Jason coming to terms with the idea that all he had believed was now suspect is the real story here.
I was invested in the outcome of this story immediately. A good storyteller draws the reader in, hooks them and pulls them along till the end. John Inman is a good—no, check that–a great storyteller. His novel, Spirit, is compelling and intricate, alternately funny and sad, and wonderfully peopled with realistic characters who wrap themselves around your heart. I highly recommend it to you.