Amazon • Narrator: Nick J. Russo
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers and their penchant for making good music when they weren't getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends especially Grant Adams made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind. Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he's hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn't flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that's not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav's help but Trav's not sure he's going to survive falling in love with Mackey. Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn't do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey's past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.
Amy Lane is one of the best storytellers in the business and this was definitely one of her best work, if not the best. I felt engaged from the beginning to the end, but no runny mascara eyes this time. I love how Amy Lane (via Nick Russo the narrator) takes the reader on a journey with the characters from adolescent years to their time as grown men. It’s like the author is the driver, the character is the passenger, and I was in the back seat watching and listening. It was a quite a ride!
This story featured the Sanders brothers who formed a rock band with one of their childhood friends and named their band “Outbreak Monkey”. The youngest, 14 yr. old Mackey Sanders, was the band’s writer as well as their lead singer. Mackey had a crush on his oldest brother Kell’s best friend, 17 yr. old Grant Adams, the other member of the band but always thought Grant was straight. After one drunken night of mutual discovery, Mackey and Grant embarked on a secret affair. They told no one because Grant’s family was unaware of his orientation and they are very homophobic. Out of fear of incurring his father’s wrath, Grant drops out of the band and marries a girl, ending his relationship with Mackey.
Outbreak Monkey moves on to sign to a record label and achieve professional success. Meanwhile, Mackey personal life descends into depression and drug abuse. The record company brings in a new manager, clean up specialist Travis Ford, to get the Outbreak Monkey guys on point. Travis immediately set up on the task of helping Mackey reclaim his life starting with rehab. Under his care, Mackey and the Outbreak Monkey had to address their issues before they began to flourish again. The brothers and the band went from a fun time to living the rock-n-roll lifestyle to rediscovering their bond as a unit. This book took us through all those transitions whether they were happy or painful. After some healing, Travis and Mackey begin a relationship…and then the past comes knocking.
While I didn’t cry, this audiobook was angst –filled. Grant and Mackey had all that youthful passion and love that I couldn’t help but root for. Mackey and Travis had that adult relationship when you have seen a person at their lowest which I also found myself wishing would last. I thought, Amy Lane, what are you doing to me because I don’t know if Mackey can handle this? The writing was poetic and smooth, and the characters were multi-layered. I found it hard for me to judge their mistakes because you could see why and how they could make those decisions. While Mackey was the central character, the supporting cast was equally essential to the story. Forgiveness and Support was big in the end. If you are looking for a book about love, second chances and character growth, then this one is for you.
Available at: Dreamspinner Publishing
*Special thanks to Dreamspinner Publishing for providing the audiobook.