Review: John Inman – Acting Up

51qyxxr-dlAuthor: John Inman
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 


It’s not easy breaking into show biz. Especially when you aren’t exactly loaded with talent. But Malcolm Fox won’t let a little thing like that hold him back.

Actually, it isn’t the show-business part of his life that bothers him as much as the romantic part—or the lack thereof. At twenty-six, Malcolm has never been in love. He lives in San Diego with his roommate, Beth, another struggling actor, and each of them is just as unsuccessful as the other. While Malcolm toddles off to this audition and that, he ponders the lack of excitement in his life. The lack of purpose. The lack of a man.

Then Beth’s brother moves in.

Freshly imported from Missouri of all places, Cory Williams is a towering hunk of muscles and innocence, and Malcolm is gobsmacked by the sexiness of his new roomie from the start. When infatuation enters the picture, Malcolm knows he’s really in trouble. After all, Cory is straight!

At least, that’s the general consens


John Inman’s innate storytelling ability and his sense of humor kept this story from being just so-so. There wasn’t a lot of angst, and there was no trauma or drama; it was simply a sweet love story. Granted, it was a love story with characters who were “quite the characters,” but it’s perfect for those who simply like a sweet romance with plenty of lighthearted moments.

Malcolm is a struggling actor living in San Diego with his roomie, Beth, another struggling actor. There’s plenty of work in commercials, bit parts in community theater, and as extras in TV shows and movies filmed in the San Diego area, but already twenty-six, Malcolm doesn’t hold out a lot of hope for a “big break” and isn’t really terribly worried about that.

What he would like is a man. And maybe love. He’s never had someone in his life who loves him above all others, and for an actor who may have to portray love, he’s not going to recognize the feelings he’d need to convey if he’s never felt them himself. Enter Cory, Beth’s brother from Missouri. Expecting a stereotypical bumpkin, Malcolm is more than pleasantly surprised when he meets Cory, who is big, strong, gorgeous, and a sweetheart. He’s not so pleasantly surprised that he has to share his accommodations with Cory and his pit bull and his boa constrictor, and I’m sure Malcolm wouldn’t want me to mention the scene late in the story when he wakes up to find that what’s tickling his abdomen is not Cory, but the boa instead. It was a laugh out loud moment for sure.

Malcolm’s mother is a hoot—she enjoys her ability to predict the future and informs Malcolm, quite strongly, that he’s about to find the love of his life. When she turns out to be right, who is Malcolm to argue? There’s also his work at the zoo, his stint as a gorilla at a children’s party, and all the little things that make a relationship ultimately work. Starting with the smallest, most mundane moments and building to a declaration of love, the fun in this story is watching as these two fumble their way through and end up with a strong possibility of getting their HEA.

As I said, it’s not terribly dramatic, but it is humorous and lighthearted and is the sort of story we need once in a while to help us forget everyday stresses.


Dreamspinner Press 

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