Booklist - June 1 & 15, 2002

By Brad Hooper

The romantic framework of this very contemporary novel is readily apparent despite the tragedy the author hangs upon it. But that's fine because the romantic and tragic aspects work so well together. Ian McBride is a middle-aged leading actor in a Washington, D.C., repertory company. The death of his lover from AIDS several years ago has effectively sealed off his heart from the possibility of further entanglements - and pain. But when much-younger Jimmy Davidson joins the troupe, Ian is a goner: his heart opens up to the love of his life. However, when Jimmy takes a trip back to his small Texas hometown for his mother's fiftieth birthday, Ian gets a midnight call announcing that Jimmy is dead - the victim of a hate crime. Ian goes to Texas, but his presence is not universally appreciated as he takes up residence for the duration of the legal proceedings. Jimmy's death compels some individuals to rightfully deal with their emotions, and readers will take heart from this testament to the correctness of love in any context.