Doug Heavy Runner left the life of an openly gay Miami police officer and returned to his home on the Salish-Kootenai Indian Reservation when his mother got sick. In the two years since she passed, he's carved out an empty life as a small-town deputy, relying on out-of-town one-night stands to keep him sane. Then he meets Detective Christopher Hayes, and they share a wild night so incredible Doug breaks his own rule and allows a one-night stand to grow into a weekend of amazing sex.
When Christopher travels from San Diego to Montana to deal with his abusive brother's suicide, he doesn't expect to find the man he spent the weekend with to be handling his brother's case. He certainly doesn't mind spending more time with Doug-but then an arsonist destroys the house Christopher inherited from his brother, and Christopher and Doug discover they are the primary suspects.
As they investigate, they discover Christopher's dead brother has set them on the trail of a psychotic pedophile who will stop at nothing to silence his last victim. However, the search for the victim goes horribly wrong, leaving Doug hospitalized and Christopher at the mercy of the killer....
©2013 A.J. Thomas (P)2014 Dreamspinner Press
Written by A. J. Thomas - yes; narrated by Andy Babinski - probably no. There are a lot of coincidences in the story, most of which are believable - it is fiction and not a documentary! I felt some of the background detail in a couple of places bordered on being over-specific, even for someone like me who has no experience of rock climbing. However - despite the grating narration - I enjoyed the story, could believe the characters, and found myself getting impatient to know what would happen next when I got back into my car after work. A difficult subject, and handled pretty well.
Doug, probably. A man like many who is in the middle of people with whom he can never really be himself, whether because of cultural, family, historical, or sexuality issues. I could feel a lot of empathy with him. I would probably have liked Christopher (not Chris!) more had the narrator not made him sound so unpleasant all the time.
The voice characterization for Christopher was enough to make me dislike him at the start, and I don't think did the character justice in the emotional scenes. It was difficult to distinguish between Ray and Doug at times, and whenever a number of characters had dialogue at once, determining which was which was quite a challenge, It was easy to hear pages turning, but at least the narrator's voice did not change noticeably each time he had taken a break and re-started recording, as often happens - the "morning voice" and the "I've read three chapters already today voice" were pretty much the same, and - sadly - both equally irritating. It felt like the voice characterizations may have been done on the fly, and left the narrator with nowhere to go later on in the story.
Yes, there are some loose ends at the end of this book, which could be tied up in a number of different ways. I would certainly be interested to see if and how the relationship(s) continue.
Definitely worth a listen - the subject matter is adult, but is handled in an interesting way. You just have to try to ignore the style of narration.
"When you least expect it..."
I believe I have found another "must" read author!! A.J. Thomas delivered an exceptional story filled with humor, lust, intrigue, and possibility. Thomas's writing technique draws the reader in and makes you hunger for more. The meeting of Christopher and Doug is one that is very realistic and relatable and their journey to discovery was awesome. The narration by Andy Babinski was exceptional and added to the story. Though I would have loved to have had closure in the story that was Christopher and Doug...the author allowed the reader to imagine the possibilities and being the sap that I am, of course they live happily ever after!!! Excellent book and I definitely recommend. Looking forward to reading more from this author...
"Can't stand the narrator"
Yes the story was good but the narrating was beyond irritating
I think I'll buy the book because I was interested in the plot
The voice was completley wrong for the genre of book. I could not get into the story because the voice was grating and lacked any sort of emotional range
"Good story. Wrong narrator."
Just finished the audio book of A Casual Weekend Thing by A.J. Thomas. Great story, but I almost couldn't get through it because of the narrator. He had the least sexy voice ever. For some books, that would work fine, but he made all the guys in this book sound like creepers. I see there is a second book out. I hope when Dreamspinner produces the audio version, they chose a more appropriate reader.
As far as the story goes...I enjoyed the characterization. Christopher and Doug were interesting, thought I really wish the author would have left off the lame back story and nightmares for Doug. It felt like an afterthought, and didn't really add to his character or the plot. I liked his struggles with prejudice as a Native American. That was enough. No need to try to make him more damaged.
The plot moved quickly. There was enough mystery to keep me guessing. The love story was handled well. I liked that it showed even relationships with sleezey beginnings can find their happily ever after.
Overall, I give A Casual Weekend Thing...
Plot - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Character Development - 4 bookmarks (I'm just going to go ahead and pretend Doug's stupid back story with the boy from college didn't exist.)
Love Story - 5 bookmarks (Felt very natural.)
Dream cast (Otherwise known as who I pictured while reading/listening) - This was tough, because the narrator had me picturing Ron Jeremy. I suppose if I were reading this book my brain would have pictured Adam Beach (Doug) and Cam Gigandet (Christopher).
"Not a good narration, interesting story"
I always wanted to know what a robot would sound like narrating M/M romance. Now I know.
Ugh, this audiobook was not a strong one. While the narrator had a broad range of voices, they were all sort of... off. He gave each character a grating voice, and his narration of Christopher was stilted and odd. While it wasn't the worst audiobook that I've listened too (cough, cough The Fall), I had a difficult time getting into the story because of the reading voice.
Now, I have to say, when I heard this was a debut book from this author, I was very impressed. It is a mature, slow-burn romance with some surprising twists and with two men that have more baggage than Samsonite. I loved the diversity of the characters (I have only read a few Native American M/Ms, the others being by Sarah Black) and the way things seem to develop organically between the two MCs. Also the mystery... wow, really well done. I'm not a mystery reader but this mystery kept me guessing.
I did have a few issues with this book that kept it from being a "love" (not including that terrible narration... can you tell that I hated it??). This book tends to get caught up in the details. Descriptions tend to be overlong and I often found parts of this book to be slow moving. I think it could have been cut down by 50 pages or so and it would have made a tighter story.
I also think it tried to do a little too much. There were a lot of jumbled issues (childhood sexual abuse (<--- trigger warning), rape, domestic violence, trust issues, abandonment, PTSD, religious themes)... the list goes on and one), and when you are combining that with a burgeoning romance, a mystery, and a police procedural, it ended up feeling a little cluttered. Also, these guys were too dense and non-communicative about their feelings for each other for my liking.
I think if the narration had been stronger I would have liked this a bit more, but it was still a pretty impressive book. I think it is a must-read for angsty, mystery lovers who want something a little slower paced and different.
**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
"It was O K... but that's all"
First off, the narrator was horrid! The annoying grating and eventually by the end of the book the intolerable narration was a key factor in my rating. Once again it seems as if gay men can't seem to go through a book with out the graphic sexual description. I would love too listen to a book that the characters were just gay, and that the sex wasn't so important to write endless chapters describing it.
The story itself wasn't too bad. Could have been a little more engaging. The "twists" were predictable. And the fact that a 2 week fling leads to a LTR is pushing the envelope. But I was nonetheless compelled to finish this book and find out what happened.
"Terrible, terrible Narration"
I will NEVER buy another book narrated by Babinski. He was just awful and painful to hear. It sounded almost as if he were trying to do an imitation of someone like Don Pardo, or a radio announce from 1945 and failed miserably.
I tried to be fair when awarding stars. I could not give Babinski more than one star... or less than one star,(because Audible won't let you do negatives) and due to his horrible inability to narrate I was unable to judge the story. I may actually read the book myself sometime and see what I think
He had little to no emotion to his voice, all of this characters sounded so similar I had trouble distinguishing Ray from Doug at times. Both of which sounded like bad attempts at imitating John Redcorn from King of the Hill.
I think I might, just to erase the bad taste with which this left me.
I'm a little reluctant but I may buy the next book on Kindle and see how if I like it any better.
Yeah, I know, almost everyone has bitched about the narrator and I'm just the most recent to suffer through it, but really, he's just that bad.
"Great story, narrator's voice nearly ruins it all."
I would not. I would read the story instead. The narrator's voice and cadance are a cross between Mo Racca and Emo Phillips. The grating nasal quality is horrific. Despite the above average story, it is nearly destroyed by this narrator.
Cristopher. He's likable, under pressure, and absolutely ready for love. He doesn't crack under the stress of the story and still makes the choice to be happy.
No. Not ever.
Doug. He needs to know eople can like him for the man inside and despite his past. I would be happy to make him my friend.
"Andy Babinski... never, never again."
I enjoyed the read and will move to the next one in the series. However, the author and/or the publishing company needs to seriously consider not using this narrator, again. I ended up just READING (novel idea) the book. That's a 4 Star rating.
He's voice just doesn't draw you in. It's nasally and his cadence was too slow.
"Unfortunately medium due to narration"
The story is actually probably very good and if u like gay romance suspence Novels u will like the story. BUT word of advice: listen to the audio sample if u are the type Who cant listen to an irritating narrator. Its difficult to explain why he is bad - he draws out some words every 10sec or so - listen and se if u still Can listen - and if you think it will be possible Then it is worth your time. I listen to the entire story but were irritated and could not like the story for that Reason.
"voice was so wrong!!!"
Andy Babinski was definitely the wrong narrator, couldn't get through this story, but A. J. Thomas second book so much better "different narrator"
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