by Brandon Shire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Available for purchase at: Amazon
All Romance (ARe)
ebook, 214 pages
Expected publication: May 20th 2013 by TPG Books
(first published May 15th 2013)
Edition Language English
Brandon Shire donates 10% of the proceeds from the sale of any of his books to:
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About the only thing of beauty he had seen within these walls in a long, long time was Anderson, and like most others in his life, Anderson had looked at Lem like he was someone to fear.
When Brandon Shire said he wanted to write a character based prison story he was serious. I couldn’t believe how caught up I got in Lem and Anderson. The prison is there, no doubt, and, at least for Lem it’s not going anywhere. But the focus is on the internal dialog these two men have. The emphasis on who they are, their fears, their passions, their regrets and that’s what makes this book work.
If you’ve ever read Brandon Shire you know he connects you to the characters. This book proves his mastery of this skill.
Book 1: Prison is a brutal, heartless, and demeaning environment. No one knows this better than a man sentenced to life in prison for murder. Lem Porter is a high-profile prisoner who had a solid career ahead of him in a field he loved until he killed his brother. He has spent almost eighteen years behind bars and doesn’t have much hope left.
Anderson Passero had it all. He built a career, a name, and a relationship with a man he thought he loved. Only after he very publicly landed in prison did he realize how ignorant he’d been. He has eight months left on his sentence and he is eager to go home and put prison life behind him. He doesn’t know it yet, but he will always carry these eight months with him, and they may just help him to understand what love really means.
All these new faces he would forget when he hit the door in eight months, every single one of them. He was sure of it.
Eight months. It was the only thing that ran through his brain. Eight months.
Anderson Passero - Although we only get to see Anderson in the last eight months of his incarceration you are able to see how he changes. Always wary of others because of his smaller size, he’s been living a nightmare where he trusts no one, keeps to himself and analyzes everything.
“You’ve spent almost twenty years behind bars, don’t you think it’s time you forgave yourself?”
Lem Porter - I don’t think I have ever wanted to reach out to a character more than I do with Lem. Days, weeks later (I beta'd this book) I’m still thinking about him. A beautiful, unique human who lets his guilt rule him. How Mr. Shire created a murderer that I would trust with my children I don’t know.
He’s a smart, tender, gentle man who is one with the natural world. Locked within cement walls, he has given up on beauty. Lem’s nature will speak to you and reach you in ways only very memorable characters do. He truly touched me.
You need to know this isn’t about prison brutality or guard dominance, this is a beautiful love story in a prison setting. While there is a brutal act, it isn’t the focus. While there is heart-ache that had me crying for a full chapter, you shouldn’t be afraid to read this because of the setting.
I’ve said it before, I have a true fear of prison. This book made me want to stay inside.
Brandon Shire uses this technique which counts down the time until Anderson is released. It is extremely effective in causing a certain tension. It plays with your head because you want Anderson out, but there’s not enough time, he's short. I know that doesn’t make sense, but that’s why its brilliant.
Shire’s writing feels perfectly paced. I didn’t find any lag. He weaves in enough questions to have us demanding another book, while completing everything he set out to accomplish. I think this author has found his stride here. There’s less poetry than in his previous books, but more solid story-telling. He drove this with perfect pacing, stellar characters and gripping emotions. A must read!
"It’s the god of vegetation and plant life, the Green Man. He symbolizes life and rebirth after the long hard winter and predates many religions,” Lem offered.
“So why do you have him on your back?” Anderson pressed him.
Lem held him for a moment before he answered. “Because when I looked out at a forest from the top of a ridge, I saw the cycle and beauty of life. It was something I used to believe in.”
“And you don’t now?”
“It’s a cycle I’m not a part of anymore,” Lem finally replied.
What about us, right here and now?” Anderson asked, […]
Lem cupped the side of his head and ran his fingers through his hair. “A false spring,” Lem answered, a sincere sadness in his eyes.
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I sincerely thank Brandon Shire for allowing me to beta-read this book and providing me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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