Author ~ John Inman
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 4 July 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, Mystery
Robert Johnny just turned thirty, and his life is pretty much in the toilet. His writing career is on the skids. His love life is nonexistent. A stalker is driving him crazy. And his cat is a pain in the ass.
Then Robert orders a chimichanga platter at a neighborhood restaurant, and his life changes—just like that.
Dario Martinez isn’t having such a great existence either. He needs money for college. His shoes are falling apart. His boyfriend’s a dick. And he has a crap job as a busboy.
Then a stranger orders a chimichanga platter, and suddenly life isn’t quite as depressing.
But it’s the book in the busboy’s back pocket that really gets the ball rolling. For both our heroes. That and the black eye and the forgotten bowl of guacamole. Who knew true love could be so easily ignited or that the flames would spread so quickly?
But when Robert’s stalker gets dangerous, our two heroes find a lot more to occupy their time than falling in love. Staying alive might become the new game plan.
My Busboy falls in the middle between John Inman’s intense mysteries and slapstick comedies. There is the underlying mystery story line and the snarky characters I’ve come to expect, but the romance between 30 year old writer Robert Johnny and 21 year old busboy/veterinary student Dario Martinez takes center stage in this story.
Robert is going to make a wonderful crotchety old man one day, since he’s already a pretty crotchety young man. He has just turned 30 but talks about himself as if he’s closer to 60. He is plagued by self-esteem issues both personally and professionally. After two successful books his third was not as well received and he is having trouble writing the fourth. He can’t understand why anyone, especially the young and beautiful Dario, would see much in him to like or love, even though his best friend from college, Chaz, has been in love with him for years. Once he starts up with Dario he definitely has problems with the nine year age difference. While it borders on annoying, at times it is actually quite endearing and Dario really brings out his vulnerabilities.
Dario is a sweetheart. At 21, he is working as a busboy while attending college where he is studying to be a veterinarian. He is the opposite of Robert, upbeat and positive, enjoying his life and not bothered one bit by the age difference.
There is instant attraction between the two, but it wasn’t insta-love, and after a whirlwind weekend together they settle into a growing relationship, which intensifies over the next couple of months. Dario becomes a muse of sorts and Robert finds his writing groove again. Unfortunately there are still other issues that are not settled.
Robert’s snarky, best-friend, the lovelorn Chaz is an interesting side character that I alternately felt sorry for and hated. Robert has been clear with him about where they stand, but still Chaz is undeterred and pushes for more at every turn. There is also the stalker who after some worrisome emails seemed to have faded to the background, but then comes back with a vengeance.
The biggest difficulty I had with the story was really just Robert’s personality. There were aspects of it I liked and he is almost instantly devoted to Dario, but the fact that he acted so much older than his age was a stumbling block for me. I had to keep reminding myself that he just turned 30 and, especially in the beginning, it detracted from the relationship aspect of the story for me. Luckily though as Dario works his magic on Robert, things settled and I came to appreciate them as a couple.
John Inman has a certain writing style, creating unique descriptions, snarky dialogue and injecting wit and humor into even the most dire of circumstances. Something else he excels at, the mystery aspect of the story, was again very well done here. Although there was only a small pool of suspects on the stalker list, I was still surprised and saddened at how it all worked out. While it wasn’t my favorite of his books, I did enjoy it and am certain that his fans will too.
Meet John Inman
John Inman has been writing fiction since he was old enough to hold a pencil. He and his partner live in beautiful San Diego, California. Together, they share a passion for theater, books, hiking and biking along the trails and canyons of San Diego or, if the mood strikes, simply kicking back with a beer and a movie. John's advice for anyone who wishes to be a writer? "Set time aside to write every day and do it. Don't be afraid to share what you've written. Feedback is important. When a rejection slip comes in, just tear it up and try again. Keep mailing stuff out. Keep writing and rewriting and then rewrite one more time. Every minute of the struggle is worth it in the end, so don't give up. Ever. Remember that publishers are a lot like lovers. Sometimes you have to look a long time to find the one that's right for you.