One of the things I love about Brad Vance’s work is the quality of the writing. Sometimes, I feel as if I have to choose between hot sensuality, good writing skills, and a deep connection between and to the characters. But not with Vance’s stories.
In A Little Too Broken, we meet Jamie and Tom, both of whom have their personal issues. For Jamie, his diagnosis as HIV positive has left him feeling isolated and as if there’s no hope for romance, or even casual sex. At the Humane Society, Jamie meets Tom, who is a veteran and is the administrator of a charity that matches services dogs with veterans who need them.
What I love about this story is its honesty. There are depictions of what Tom sees, thinks, goes through as both a wounded veteran, with very real depictions of the way PTSD affects his daily life. And, as an amputee, both the physical struggles and the insecurities of having someone see his body inhibit his willingness to even attempt a physical relationship with anyone are told in such a way that I’m not left pitying Tom, but admiring him for the strength of will that’s kept him going.
As for Jamie, he begins the story so isolated, so unsure of himself that he can’t commit to adopting a second cat. In his mind, it’s going to end badly, because after all, hasn’t everything else in his life? But, still, the way Vance handles his insecurities, I’m not left with an “aww” moment where I want to knit Jamie mittens. I want to kick his ass. I want to tell him to suck it up, buttercup.
A Little Too Broken is a fabulously written story that has enough angst to make it interesting, but not so much that I was left curled in a fetal ball at the end. It rings so true and realistic that I want to buy Tom and Jamie a beer and catch up on their lives. Along with all of Brad Vance’s book, this is one I’ll re-read often, to discover all the nuances of the writing that I may have missed on my first, fast-paced consumption of another excellent story.
Lucy Watson Campbell