Friday, January 30, 2015

ARC Review: Drive Your Truck by Julia Talbot


Home on compassionate leave for his brother’s funeral, Navy SEAL Garrison Matthews needs to blow off a lot of stress and grief before he returns to active duty. In honor of his brother, he takes Bettie, the brothers’ souped-up vintage truck, out for a spin. A bit of an adrenaline junkie, Garrison has no problem finding trouble. This time trouble’s named Walt, and he happens to be Garrison's sister-in-law’s brother.

Neither man expects their fun to amount to anything else, but after an injury sends Garrison home for good, he turns to Walt, hoping to start a new life. Walt is a closeted sheriff's deputy, and while he adores Garrison, he isn't sure he's ready to come out... or for such a big commitment. Being fresh out of the service isn't easy on Garrison either. To find their happy ending, Walt and Garrison must overcome their trust issues and get ready to settle down together.

Dani's rating:

The title is misleading. There is a truck, yes, a 1966 Ford pickup in cherry red, "all gleaming paint and chrome." The truck is important because it belonged to Garrison's older brother, Brandon, who was killed in action.

The "driving" theme, however, is clumsily handled and not central to the story.

Garrison loses his shit at Brandon's funeral. He fucks his brother-in-law (Brandon's wife's brother) Walt through the mattress, then takes off recklessly in his dead brother's truck. Way to honor your brother's legacy, dude. Classy.

Garrison seems to have a death wish. Walt knows he can't tame him. He doesn't even try.

I really like the idea of two alpha males getting it on, but the writing was choppy and distant. There were too many fragments, too many thoughts repeated.

"You're used to being the doer." Walt got it. Hell, Gar was a hero. For real. They had to come with a bit of an adrenaline addiction. An action gene.

The conversations didn't fare any better. Walt and Garrison called each other "man" or "babe." They sounded like overgrown frat boys. There were myriad sentences that ended with "huh." I read some of them aloud and decided that, nope, no one really talks like that.

"God, you're pretty . . . "
"Can we go to bed now?"
"I have food."
"We'll snack in the bedroom, huh? Chicken fingers and ranch."
"Sounds good, babe."

We didn't learn anything of substance about Walt or Garrison. Walt is a closeted cop. Garrison is a SEAL who likes the outlet of "shooting people." They eat pizza and watch sports.

The main plot point centers on Walt not wanting to come out of the closet in a small conservative town when he doesn't trust Garrison to stick around. It's been done, and done better.

I can get down with rough sex, but even that felt mechanical, just rutting, no romance. I didn't feel the connection here. The tension fizzled and died long before the HFN ending.

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