Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in – not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.
Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.
When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.
(Book reviewed by Tracy here previously : https://openskyebookreviews.com/in-the-middle-of-somewhere-by-roan-parrish/)
This is written in first person present tense and can be difficult for some authors/readers. I think it’s done very well and after a few pages I didn’t think it felt odd at all.
I really loved the characters. Daniel is hysterical and snarky and insecure and sexy and wonderful. Rex is a simple yet deep (still waters and all that) and the perfect foil for the kinetic energy that is Daniel.
I loved how they came together right away and started building from that. What I didn’t like was the continual waffling. A simple, sincere conversation could have easily eliminated half the angst of this long (maybe too long?) book.
I also didn’t love the ending. After all the torment I really wanted them to end up in a more decisive place. Perhaps this is leading to a book two, but if not, I really wanted more for them. It just felt so wishy washy – and we had put up with a lot of torment for us not to get that glorious satisfaction of a solid HEA.
The side story of Colin, Daniel’s closeted brother, didn’t really lend itself to the story and only served to muddy the waters. Perhaps this is another book to follow, but if not – I’m not sure it was necessary here and definitely distracted from the focus of the book.
All in all I mostly really enjoyed the book, wished it was a bit more tightly edited and wished for a slightly more robust ending.
Robert Nieman is a favorite narrator of mine so I really enjoyed his interpretation of things here. He doesn’t do a lot of different voices, but his voice is a good one – especially for Daniel. Some of the lines that I’d maybe skimmed the first time around made me chuckle out loud while listening. I think this is a great way to enjoy this story.
I know I must have ended my review of this book with this ending, “I need/want this on audio.” And I happily got my wish this past March. I have to say that Robert Nieman has done a tremendous job with this narration. He brings so much life to the story. In my opinion the narrator literally becomes his characters right before your ears. I don’t know how you listen to audiobooks but I find the best way is to just stretch out on your bed or couch with your earbuds and just listen away. The story just comes alive and I tend to drift along with the author’s words and the beautiful narration.
This story is big. And long with lots and lots of internal dialogue from Daniel who happens to be a favorite character of mine. I liked being in his head, exhausting as it was, but as a reader and listener I feel it makes me care for and become more invested in the characters. I think I mentioned in my review of the book that I would’ve loved having more insight into Rex’s inner thoughts and that view hasn’t changed.
So, the characters. Daniel’s voice like I mentioned earlier is very prominent and you get to know him very well. Robert Nieman brought this character to life. He captured Daniel’s hesitance and self doubt so well. The pauses in his narration and the stops and starts in his speech is perfect. He literally becomes Daniel as you listen and I can totally appreciate that. His voice is smooth when Daniel is speaking and his voice trembles when Daniel is upset. He has such a wonderful tone and I always knew how Daniel was feeling through his narration.
Daniel is such a big character. He’s had to grow up tough especially in a house with 3 other brothers and an oblivious father. Their mother died and since then the family has sort of been semifunctional. Daniel is an English professor who gets a job at a small college in an equally small town in Michigan. A far cry from the inner city of Philadelphia. I enjoyed listening to how the narrator brought Daniel to life. His moments of snark and toughness as well as his moments of vulnerability.
Daniel meets Rex Vale, a resident of this small town. Rex lives in a cabin in the woods and works as a carpenter and general handy man. Late one night, Daniel accidentally hits a dog and Rex comes to his rescue.
There ensues awkwardness, angst, growth, romance, fun, pain and healing and this audiobook completely delivers and deserves high praise. Roan Parrish has a way of writing that completely engages you and the narration is equally well done. Robert Nieman has a way of delivering Daniel’s fragility yet also highlights his grittiness. He also does such a wonderful job with Rex. Rex is such a strong character yet he’s very vulnerable as well. I felt those emotions comes across in this audiobook.
Kudos to an author and a narrator that can captivate you from beginning to end. I really hope this narrator has the opportunity to do Colin’s story.
4.5 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review