Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future.
Nobody knows the real Chase. Chase Summers has a razor blade to his wrist and the smell of his lover's goodbye clinging to his skin. He has a door in his heart so frightening he'd rather die than open it, and the lies he's used to block it shut are thinning with every forbidden touch. Chase has spent his entire life unraveling, and his decision to set his sexuality free in secret has only torn his mind apart faster.
Chase has one chance for true love and salvation. He may have met Tommy Halloran in the world of gay-for-pay-where the number of lovers doesn't matter as long as the come-shot's good-but if he wants the healing that Tommy's love has to offer, he'll need the courage to leave the shadows for the sunlight. That may be too much to ask from a man who's spent his entire life hiding his true self. Chase knows all too well that the only things thriving in a heart's darkness are the bitter personal demons that love to watch us bleed.
©2012 Amy Lane (P)2014 Dreamspinner Press
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"Modern Day Greek Tragedy that Transcends the genre"
The last half of the story. The angst and the impending suicide attempt seemed to weigh heavily on the joyous bits early in the story. It's only after Chase's suicide attempt that the story redeemed itself in my eyes.
Narrator Sean Crisden does a great job of keeping the narrator voice AND Chase's spoken voice AND the voice of Chase's inner monologue clear. That's tough to do. Meanwhile, he gives distinctive interpretations to the many other boys in the story as well. He even does a great job with the sole female voice we hear.
If you're a fan of audio-books, you'll want to check this one out simply to enjoy the brilliance of Crisden's performance. However if you're NOT a big fan of audio-books, this might not be the best one to start with. The many distinctions between the narration and Chase's spoken voice and the turmoils of his thoughts and his inner demons, take a certain amount of concentration to keep sorted and it's not easy listening.
This was too long and too dark a spiral downward to listen to in one sitting. However the porn making interludes provided a necessary break in the tension and were enjoyable in their own right.
One should NOT expect a simple light-hearted yarn from a book with a red cover that features razor blades and blood drops, particularly when the prologue has the MC locked in a bathroom with one of those blades to his wrist...
Chase Summers is a deeply damaged young man. After finding his mother dead in a bathtub as a child, after growing up with a drunken, abusive father who blames him and his "faggy" ways, it's a wonder that Chase can pass for normal at all. But he does. Chase is determined to be a success, to have a girlfriend and a successful college baseball career, get an engineering degree and even someday, a house of his own. All it will take is for him to deny certain aspects of himself which might make his father's assertions true. He must never, ever, let the people he cares about see the real him.
When Chase hears about "Johnnies" the gay for pay porn site he sees a way to explore some of his long sublimated desires and still maintain a level of denial. But as he meets the guys, and falls for one particular guy, the pressure that has been building since his early childhood redoubles.Chase, his boyhood friends and even his workmates are all charming and well drawn and we soon come to care for all these guys.
And yet Chase's damage is ever-present and growing. Symbolized by a "Red Door" that is soon all too frequent, it's clear that just as certainly as in any Greek tragedy, the flaws in Chase that his childhood created make his ultimate fate inescapable. And yet to attempt something is not always to succeed. And it's the events that happen after the attempt that make this story rise above the mundane. It's as much a tale of recovery and redemption as it is of the despair that gets us there.
"Come meet the boys from Johnnies & fall in love"
be prepared to cry, and laugh, and have your heart hurt just a little bit. Chase in Shadows will grab you by the heart in the prologue, and never let go.
Chase shatters, and Tommy is broken but their love is strong enough to pull through. The boys of Johnnies gather round to help anyway they can, and you will want more - lucky for us Amy has written 2 additional Johnnies books Dex in Blue and Ethan in Gold.
As always, Sean Crisden does an excellent job of bring all the characters to life. He's one of my favorite narrators.
Absolutely, heartbreaking story by Amy Lane and best narration
It is hard to say,
This beginning, not favorite, just stunned!
Chase and hug him and love him
Great, but heartbreaking story or not being able to live your life due to fear!
"Yes, there are nuclear levels of angst in this."
Here's the thing...I put this series off for a very long time because I knew they did not just have normal Amy Lane Angst, oh no, they have Super Mega Huge Over The Top Amy Lane Angst, and I just wasn't sure whether or not I could handle that level of sustained feeling of deep anxiety or dread.
So like every good coward, I put the series onto my TBR and pretty much left it there. To languish among the hundreds.
Then I saw that Sean Crisden narrated the audio book. It's Sean. I have yet to hear a story where I didn't like his narration. So I got the audio.
And, oh, but I am a sucker for Sean Crisden and Amy Lane together. So yes, there are nuclear levels of angst in this story. Yes, there is cheating, which is normally a red-flag-full-on-stop-do-not-go-further-with-this kind of thing for me, but I was prepared for it, you know? So I could roll with it. I didn't like it, but I could deal with it.
The story is told completely from Chase's POV, so as a listener (or reader) we get to see just how not malicious he is in the things he does. He's not mean, he's broken. Unfortunately, his brokenness tends to spill out over other people who love him and trust him. Can you tell I didn't like Chase? I never really warmed to him. I listened to almost 10 hours of audio and never once thought, "Well, at the heart of it all, I really like the character." No, I didn't like Chase, but I empathized with him. I felt sorry him. I felt sorry for a lot of the characters in this story.
I did like how the porn shoots were treated like a job, and it wasn't skeevy or sleazy. I liked Tommy, Donnie and Dex, or what I got to see of them.
In the end, the writing is very good. Hell, the story is very good, but I didn't connect to many of the characters. I didn't feel like I usually feel at the end of an Amy Lane story. I'm not sure if that's because of all of the emotions running high throughout, or because this is one of those stories that uses a jump around timeline, where we start in the present, and keep popping into the past. Also, each chapter apparently has a "scene" in the beginning and the narration of that transition to the actual chapter was sometimes confusing to me.
OH! and the "twist" that happens towards the end? Oh, ho! Let me tell you, I raged! As soon as the whole "Oh, I changed brands" happened I knew what was going on and man I would have liked to been Pacino in Scent of a Woman at that moment!
Though this might sound strange, I'm actually thankful that the story pretty much only has the horrible things happening to Chase. Sure, some of it spills out onto others, but for the most part, it's on Chase. Thankfully it's not a Keeping Promise Rock situation where everyone is being made miserable and has to go through the trials of Job. Of course, like all the other Amy Lane books I've read, in the end the characters get their hard won HEA.
I would absolutely recommend this for those who like a heavier tone to their romance stories with higher angst levels and who don't mind cheating.
P.S.: I'm really looking forward to David "Dex" Worral's story next up in Dex in Blue!
"A Haunting Tale"
Dark, Emotional and Beautiful
A Solid Core of Alpha. The main characters and storylines are quite similar.
Loved it, he's one of the best in the business!
When Chase finally opens up about the red door and his mom.
At first glance one would think Chase Summers life is perfect. He has a devoted fiancé, a home, friends and good paying job. Dig down deep though and you’ll find the stuff of nightmares. Chase buries his sexuality behind a blood red door that binds his soul. His father is a homophobe of the highest order, and his mother killed herself when he was just a boy, only adding to the emotional scars that make up Chase’s tattered soul. The little piece of heaven in Chase’s otherwise psychotic existence is his job for a ‘gay for pay’site, Johnnies.
Tommy Halloran has his own personal demons to deal with. He’s bulimic, brought on by a need to look as fit and trim as possible in front of the cameras. His Johnnies persona, Tango, is a sexy little minx with his dark hair and piercing eyes and absolutely zero inhibitions where sex is concerned. Tommy and the other guys at Johnnies quickly befriend Chase, but somewhere along the way the relationship between Tommy and Chase becomes something more.
After Tommy’s mom dies and Chase is a shoulder to cry on, the two begin a passionate affair. Yes, Chase is still closeted and lying to his fiancé, but he doesn’t lie to Tommy about the important things, or so he thinks. Keeping his sexuality and his past bottled up behind that red door that is starting to buckle under the pressure, turn out to be more than anyone could bare. When the bough breaks, and Chase takes a razor to his wrist, he finally opens up about his sexuality. Turns out, that was just the tip of the iceburg.
First, I’m going to tell you this was one of the best books I’ve ever listened to. Then I have to warn you that if you have triggers... severe depression, attempted suicide, abuse, neglect... be warned all of these situations are depicted in this story. While this was a very heavy story to listen to it was told in such a way that I was engaged and intrigued throughout. I found myself silently weeping at one point, when Chase finally opens up about the red door and his mom, it was devastating. But the way he gets through everything, surrounded by nothing but love and support, because Tommy and the rest of his friends NEVER leave his side, was beautiful.
Either Amy Lane works with people with depression and anxiety, has a family member or close friend that suffers or she does some of the best research in the business. I know someone whose situation is quite similar to Chase’s and the way Lane describe things were so eerily true, it was almost haunting.
Now the narration, wow! It’s no secret Sean Crisden is one of my favourite narrators, his voice is mesmerizing. The way he can change his tone with just the barest of pitch or breathe adds so much more to the story. And then when you couple his expertise with a fantastically written story, it’s a masterpiece. Throughout the story Chase has this inner monologue going, the demon that is his depression speaks and Crisden had a specific voice, monotone almost, that he used for these parts in the story. It allowed me as a listener to feel the gravity of Chase’s situation. He’s all sunshine and smiles on the outside, but inside he’s being torn apart, and all the while this demon of depression is so matter of fact about everything, it really shows the truth of what goes on inside the minds of people that suffer this debilitating disease.
This story is dark, dramatic and emotionally draining. But there is such a beauty to the bond between Chase and Tommy and the way they literally drag each other out of hell, that I can’t not recommend it.
"Must read Dex in Blue first!!"
This is the second book in the series. When I first bought this book, I didn't realize it was part of a series and started listening too it and stop after about 20 minutes. I thought a suicide was a horrible way to start a book.
After discovering that this was book 2, I went back and listened to book one "Dex in Blue" and then this book was awesome. The book makes a lot more sense when read in context with the series. The third book in the series is Ethan in Gold. I have really enjoyed this series.
"Amy Lane doesn't disappoint"
Fantastic combination of a great book and a great narrator bring this heart wrenching tale to life. It's not an easy book, but it's expertly handled by the author and narrator alike. Amy Lane always delivers, love her work.
"Oh The Pain!!"
One recommendation I have is to read "Dex in blue" That's the first book in the series, and it sets up "Chase in Shadow" and makes it even better.
This is such a good book, Chase and Tommy ripped my heart out. There were tears and sniffling. But The HEA is worth all the pain and hurt.
I love Chase and Tommy and all the supporting cast, well except the dad (he's a jerk). The story drew me in to the very last word. Amy Lane can tell a darn good story.
Sean Crisden did a wonderful narration as usual and i was happy to see it was him doing it.
"Lane... usually a winner!"
I usually like all of Amy Lane's books... this one was good..but the back and forth from present, past and future...confused me a bit....and if the book wasn't shifting timeframe...well there u go! Confused....
AWESOME NARRATION! I loved Crisden!!!!
Maybe a credit if u can figure out the timeframe!
"This book packed a punch!!!"
Top 5, I think.
The prologue was a punch to the gut, for sure.
The scene where Mercy hands it to Chase, towards the end. Although, it wasn't between the two main romance characters, I felt it was so realistic to how someone in her situation felt, it was heart wrenching
Both reactions. It was hard to see Chase do all the things he did, merely to hide his past, from everyone, including himself.
The narrator did great! He had varying voices for all the characters, and really used his voice to convey meaning.
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