St. Nacho’s by Z. A. Maxfield

Synopsis: For about three years Cooper has been going from place to place, never staying anywhere longer than for a few days. Eventually he ends up in St. Ignacio, a small beach community in California, where he finds some kind of peace and love with Shawn, a deaf, young man with a strong personality. Then one day Cooper gets a phone call from his former lover and knows he has to go back to his home town.

Review: I liked the characters – a lot. Cooper was a man haunted by his past and desperately tried to get away from it. Shawn was absolutely wonderful – strong, supportive and understanding – almost too good to be true. To see that angelic Shawn was the actual dominant partner and rough boy Cooper rather submissive was surprising. It showed that there always is more to people than what you would suspect from a first glance and what stereotypes tell us. I really liked everything about this book until it turned out that Cooper had to go back home to help his former lover, after getting out of jail, back onto the tracks – presumably leaving St. Ignacio, aka St. Nacho’s, for good.

I don’t mind when an established couple gets separated for whatever reasons, as long as they try to get back together again. The fact that Cooper actually left and intended to leave Shawn behind – no matter how hard that was for him and no matter how much he didn’t want to do it – was something I could have done without. He could have left to come to terms with his past, with people involved etc. but he actually planned to go back because his ex asked him to get back together with him. The deal breaker came for me about three pages later or so when it turned out that Jordan, his ex lover, had turned to the church for salvation. One thing I can’t stand is a religious zealot, be it a follower who constantly tells you that you have to go and talk to the pastor "because you need his help", or be it the pastor himself, who constantly tells you that with God’s help you’ll be a better person, if only you weren’t so stubborn and accept it. And as soon as I have to picture a bible study group I’m out of there. I just don’t enjoy reading this, no matter how good the story is otherwise.

Just a side note on Cooper’s sister. I cannot fathom how she would possibly give Jordan Cooper’s phone number. She might have had the best intentions (though I can’t imagine what they would have been), but I found that incredibly insensible. After all Jordan was the responsible party for all the trouble in the past and he still tried to shift the blame on Cooper. Knowing that your brother already goes through hell, but now has found some sort of peace, would you give that person his phone number to pester your brother once more? I wouldn’t.

I read on just for the sake of it, but skipped parts where Jordan kept whining and Stan, the pastor, kept preaching. I am sure lots of readers will really enjoy this story, it is well written, the protagonists are likeable and they have deep feelings for each other. If I hadn’t been put off by the religious issues this would have been an excellent read.

Available at Loose ID

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