Events on a small New England college campus, following an exceptional one. Gil Andrus and his husband, Pete Sordan, follow through the usual faculty politics and the unexpected mystery. And Don Burris, the detective from The Pendleton Omens, reappears.
Note: this book shares roots and occasionally overlaps with my other book, Quabbin, which is also set in Waldron, Massachusetts, though in a national clothing company. But they're different books with different sensibilities.
Jimbo is serving his final year as a counselor at Camp Falls. He has just graduated from high school and will enter University in the fall. Everything is going smoothly until a troop arrives without a Scout Master. Jimbo is assigned to the role and meets Mason, a scout having his first experience at Camp Falls. The frisson between the two leads to a them entering a partnership. The challenges of Scout Camp, their parents and larger forces shape who they are as a couple.
Brian, a successful VP of Technology, meets a young man during a vacation in New Orleans. After a brief affair, Brian returns to Boston, only to discover that the young man now has an entry-level position at his company. which makes things very complicated.
Simon is sixteen and on the edge of everything changing, his world changing from adolescent to adult, to facing up to his sexuality and coming out, but not just yet.
Now, his boyfriend is late and he’s sat on a cold, concrete bench waiting, waiting, waiting…
Over eighteen different days, during four weeks in spring, this story follows Simon as he navigates the difficult journey of his coming out. Like all journeys, this one will change him but in ways he doesn’t imagine, taking him places he didn’t expect to go.
Brandon works for a company that sells point of sale equipment in the IT department. His life has been on hold since his husband and their daughter died, but now there is Hal in Sales and Isaac from across the hall. How, exactly, do you make a family?
The last thing fitness guru Heathcliff Stone needs is a babysitter, mainly because the one thing he hates more than his name - courtesy of his mom who, to this day, continues to be a Brontë obsessed reader - is for someone to try to control him.
When the most important company endorsing him sends over a preppy looking guy to keep him on a tight leash, his knee jerk reaction is to send the yuppie packing.
Yet, there is something that stops him from putting the figurative boot in the guy’s ass. Aidan Spark is exactly what the doctor ordered.
(Full summary inside because there's a character limit)
This story starts in June of 2003. The invasion of Iraq is over, George Bush has landed on the aircraft carrier and proclaimed "Mission Accomplished", and the insurgency has yet to begin. Some may think America is at the height of its power.
Meanwhile, in the CAP world:
JJ and Will, both in doomed relationships that seem to be working. Will they unravel, and if they do, who is behind it?
Sean is a troubled young man. Some of the things he does might be considered to be not all that well thought out. At times all his family and friends, particularly his older friend, Johnny (the narrator of these fragments of Sean's life), can do is to be there for him, and help him to pick up the pieces when things go wrong. Even when, sometimes, Sean himself doesn't even seem to want to pick up the pieces.
Sometimes the brain fails and the heart is left to pick up the pieces. Tyson, the son of a heartless politician and an abusive control freak, has survived four suicide attempts, and has now been committed to a psychiatric ward. With severe anger issues, unhealthy behaviours and a tendency to self-harm, Tyson's terrific treatment team fights a difficult battle. Another boy in the ward, Vladimir, suffers from schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress. Tyson thinks he's perfect.