Review: Ryan Loveless – Last Chance Charlie

Author: Ryan Loveless
Reviewer: Stephen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Summary:

Charlie Corcoran is the best thing about twenty-five-year old Zach Prentiss’s life. Sure, they’ve never met. Charlie’s never seen Zach from the neck up, but because of Charlie, for a few hours Zach can forget about his sick father, his falling grades, and his dwindling clientele who don’t like that he’s a rentboy who ages. With Charlie, he talks online about comics, cars, and movies. Then a new client arrives. It’s Charlie wanting sex tips… for a date with Zach. Zach goes through with the appointment, convinced it’s over if Charlie recognizes him. However, he doesn’t have long to nurse his broken heart or worry about Charlie’s before Charlie is back, wanting to take him out, introduce him to Mom, and treat him like he’s decent.

Review:

This is a the tale of a young man (Zack) who’s had to begin supporting himself at much too young an age and of Charlie, the preppy college kid who comes to love him. Some have criticized this book for being misleading and/or inaccurate and the cover for being deceptive.

I didn’t find that to be the case.

The fiction we read about hustlers being “rescued” is just that, fiction and folks that have spent time making money that way are generally damaged in a way that will never entirely heal. Yet everyone bears scars and many become better human beings because of them.

One of the first good friends I made when I moved to NYC many years ago was a guy who’d grown up a bit rough. He’d been a hustler and had done a LOT of things that we don’t consider “proper” but he was fiercely proud of being a survivor and had turned his life around to a large degree.

By the time I met him he was working full-time as an accountant/bookkeeper and had a steady living situation (albeit with an old trick turned friend) He also maintained a lot the friendships he’d made over the lean years and I spent more than a few hours drinking and swapping tales with him and a few other “working boys” in several “hustler bars.” Though he died of AIDS in the mid 80’s, I learned a lot from him. He was a good friend and a good person. I’ve talked to/befriended a number of guys since then who’ve found themselves in similar situations.

This book actually seemed pretty romantic on the whole, particularly given the premise. Perhaps the MC was a bit too well adjusted but overall it seemed like a credible story. However, it will not be to everyone’s liking.

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