The burden of choice...Good choices, bad choices, made out of selfishness or selflessness, and where they lead in our lives.
Sebastian Swift is a man at a time of his life where he has learned to live with the effects of his past bad choices and has found the strength to make better ones. He was a lauded poet once, and now he is a professor at a distinguished Literary program in a small university in Maine, he has a job he enjoys, he is a recovering cocaine addict six years sober, he has a house he loves, and a long time lover, Chief of Police Max Prescott, who if not completely invested in their relationship, is someone who gives him comfort and companionship.
One day as he reaches his office Swift finds Tad, one of his most gifted students waiting for him, Tad is battered and hurt, but most of all he's scared. He says he has to run...From what? Swift doesn't know...But without hesitation he chooses to help Tad get away and gives him the keys to his house on Orson Island...From here on things get very complicated...Tad's father is found dead...Tad is on the run...And Swift's choices get him caught right in the middle of it.
Josh Lanyon can write a damn good crime novel and this one was a fine one for sure. The moment where the mystery is finally unraveled was so masterfully written, I had to read it again and again, just because I had to...And if anything, this novel is worth reading just for the first couple of paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter :O)
But for me this book was about Swift and Max...Swift's choices almost cost him Max, and Max in turn despite his anger chooses to get away from his prejudices and self-righteousness and to see Swift's actions for what they were...acts of kindness towards someone he cared for...and in that they finally arrive at a place where they could finally let into their minds, what their hearts already had for each other. The intimacy between Swift and Max was probably the most moving I've read in JL novel.
Josh Lanyon is a brilliant writer, that we know, but he also is a lover of beautiful words, and in his stories not only do we get his, but he reacquaints us with those of others that are always so wonderful to remember T.S. Eliot, Neruda, Frost...
This is a lovely book, a great mystery certainly, but also a beautiful story of redemption and a wonderfully thoughtful look at choices and intentions and how they shape our paths.
As for Swift and where this story leaves him...This comes to mind...Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference