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The Eskimo Slugger is a fitting final piece to Brad Boney's circular M/M romance trilogy as it is a both a sequel to 2nd book, The Return, and a prequel to the first book, The Nothingness of Ben. The way the stories are written TNOB can stand alone and makes sense even without the others. Unfortunately, it is the weakest book of the 3 [I would rate it 3-4 stars] but you may want to REread it AFTER the other 2. The Return is an excellent book [4&5 stars], definitely the best of the three and it both expands on people & events in book one and gives you information that is really important to book three [The Eskimo Slugger].
The Eskimo Slugger is a really good book [a solid 4 stars]. Some people may find some of the M/M elements to be TMI, but I think this info enhances the realism of what is a M/M romance with spiritual/fantasy elements [depending on your beliefs]. I don't think this book would be as enjoyable on its own and should only be read third [or at least after The Return]. The climax of the story is very intense even though you know what is going to happen by then; and really, I could only deal with it Because I knew what was going to happen. The change in narrator isn't a problem [from the other 2 books], both give 4 star performances. This book is a very enjoyable "read" and both enhances and completes the stories of this trilogy.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Trent is a baseball player from Alaska, thus the name Eskimo Slugger. He’s at the top of his game when he gets injured and ends up spending two weeks in Austin, TX. There he meets Brendan, a law student/record store clerk. They start as friends but once Brendan tentatively asks Trent “Is this a date?” the two acknowledge the deeper aspect of their blossoming relationship. The two immediately set sparks off one another, though neither has ever had a gay relationship before.
With some pretty funny forays into gay sex, the two explore each other and a relatively unexplored aspect to their personalities. For Brendan, being gay is something he’s pondered but been afraid of, but with the right incentive he embraces the idea and eventually decides to incorporate into his life fully and without secrecy.
For Trent, being gay means possibly (probably) the end of his career, certainly the end of his life as it stands currently, and though he’s always known he was gay, he has never let himself entertain the idea that he could actually live as a gay man.
Brendan enlists the help of Stanton and Hutch (from The Return) as “gay mentors” and together, with Bill Walsh (from The Nothingness of Ben) the group bonds, smoke a lot of weed and begin to form relationships that even death won’t end.
Ultimately, Trent has to make the biggest decision of his life: Choose baseball or choose Brendan. Perhaps the two can be together, but probably it’s one or the other.
By now you should have read the first two books (The Nothingness of Ben and The Return). If you haven’t – go! What are you waiting for? Technically this could be a standalone, I guess, but it won’t make a heck of a lot of sense and will leave you very unsatisfied.
If you have read the other books you know that the end of this book is really the beginning of TNOB. That, Brad Boney, is an amazing feat! Mr. Boney has managed to create this beautiful circular set of books that literally bleeds one into the other so that (as a reader) you want to just keep going round and round the merry-go-round.
I found myself referencing both of the earlier books time and again with the “treasures” that were revealed throughout this book. Without completely giving away all the secrets just know that the MCs of all three books are inter-related in various ways and little bits of their stories, past and present are slipped in throughout the story.
In The Return it was all about music – fast paced facts and quips, with Slugger it’s baseball. For me, the music was more interesting, but if you are a baseball fan this will really hit home. (See what I did there?)
I didn’t like the love story as much in Slugger as in The Return or TNOB, probably because it happens so quickly. I just never felt the emotion – especially from Brendan. Trent was invested, you get that feeling so strongly. Brendan was too standoffish for me and it made me a little sad. But… since I know what I know about how things end… he’s forgiven ☺.
I really, really enjoyed these books and was sad to see it end. I can’t say for sure, but I think that if I were to recommend a reading order I would say start with The Return, then Slugger then finish with TNOB. There may be something “missing” with that order, but I think, ultimately, it will be so much more satisfying. Or… do as the author may have intended and read it : TNOB, Return, Slugger, TNOB… and so on and so on…
Just a fantastic book all around, 5 of 5 stars and for the series 6 of 5!
Michael Ferraluolo did an excellent job with this! I adored Charlie David and was disappointed he didn’t narrate this, the third of the series. I think the continuity would have been great. But… Michael didn’t disappoint with his performance. He has a great voice that is easy to listen to, did a nice job differentiating the characters, really got into the emotion of the story and even managed to do a nice job with the female voices.
All in all I am sticking with 6 of 5 stars for this in either book or audio form!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Eskimo Slugger again? Why?
yes, names and places need rethinking
What other book might you compare The Eskimo Slugger to, and why?
though I didn't know it is part of 'the return' and 'the nothingness of ben'.. once I realised it was heading that way and who the characters are the story takes on another dimension ..
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
yes indeed, not wanting to spoil, but knowing their plans for the future can never be, puts a different slant on the story
Any additional comments?
I had to think about buying this book for a while. then decided to give it a try. at no point did I realise it is tied in with others.. when one character names a character from another book (Stanton Porter) I felt somewhat 'disappointed', why can authors not come up with new names.... (mr clune - the queen and the homo jock king).. then as it started to dawn on me that the character actually was part of the story I realised who the two main characters were, I realised I knew the ending.. it certainly puts a different slant on everything.. the characters, how they all fit, even the two unborn babies.. all in all a good story once I understood...