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My Busboy by John Inman Release Day Review

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My Busboy by John Inman Release Day Review

Book Info

About the Author
John has been writing fiction for as long as he can remember. Born on a small farm in Indiana, he now resides in San Diego, California where he spends his time gardening, pampering his pets, hiking and biking the trails and canyons of San Diego, and of course, writing. He and his partner share a passion for theater, books, film, and the continuing fight for marriage equality.
Publication Date
July 04, 2016
Robert Johnny just turned thirty, and his life is pretty much in the toilet. His writing career is on the skids. His love life is nonexistent. A stalker is driving him crazy. And his cat is a pain in the ass.

Then Robert orders a chimichanga platter at a neighborhood restaurant, and his life changes—just like that.

Dario Martinez isn’t having such a great existence either. He needs money for college. His shoes are falling apart. His boyfriend’s a dick. And he has a crap job as a busboy.

Then a stranger orders a chimichanga platter, and suddenly life isn’t quite as depressing. 

But it’s the book in the busboy’s back pocket that really gets the ball rolling. For both our heroes. That and the black eye and the forgotten bowl of guacamole. Who knew true love could be so easily ignited or that the flames would spread so quickly?

But when Robert’s stalker gets dangerous, our two heroes find a lot more to occupy their time than falling in love. Staying alive might become the new game plan.

Editor review

1 review
Saved by Romance
Cover – Evocative
POV – 1st person, past tense, 1 character POV
Would I read it again – Maybe
Genre – LGBT, Contemporary, May/December, Crime


This was a hard one for me to review. On one hand, I've only ever read one other John Inman story and it didn't sit well with me. On the other, I always go into each book trying not to take a previous experience of the author's work into account (unless they've become an instant-buy, by which I expect great things from each book after that).

My Busboy had really good bones. I loved the romance, the crime element and even the characters. What I didn't love was the writing style. Which is probably the oddest thing I will say in this review.

For me, the writing had far too many similes and flowery description to settle well with me. It was over the top, flamboyant and too exaggerated. Practically the entire first 10% was one simile after another. I mean, jam packed into each sentence, so much so that I seriously considered not reading any further and letting someone else review it. I mean, heck, the author comes up with some awesome similes, but I just came to a point that it felt like there was no description BUT similes and they were being crammed down my throat until I choked on them.

Now, I'm also admit that I'm not usually a fan of 1st person POV. It has to be a really good story to stop me from being uncomfortable inside 1st person. For a start, I'm not a man, I'm not gay (though I am a writer) and I don't have a stalker, I didn't make a packet with a massive bestseller...I could go on and on about the many ways that I am nothing like the MC. This is always the part that puts me off 1st person. However, Inman did a great job of not making it feel too foreign. It didn't take 3 chapters to learn “my” name, but just a few lines. It didn't take half the book to learn “my” background history, because it was info blocked at the beginning of the story – a bad point, but one that improved the 1st person considerably. So, this time, 1st person worked, because it limited all interactions to only things that “we” as Robert, could see.

Yes, the info dump was huge. It was a mass life story at the beginning of the novel, telling us everything we might ever need or want to know about Robert, bare the one or two important tidbits that slithered in later in the story, for the purpose of plot progression. So, yeah, I marked down for that. I hate info dumps.

However, I do love the way Inman used personal experience as a writer to make Robert's character so believable. The length of his unwashed state, though, after just a few days was a vast exaggeration and I didn't appreciate the way that his turning 30 was treated like he was suddenly 60 years old. I'm about to turn thirty and I certainly don't go around feeling like my life is over, I'm over the hill or anyone who is 20 is suddenly a child. That bugged me.

The shining moments in the plot, for me, were confined to three specific events – Robert's first interaction with Bucky, Robert taking care of Dario at the restaurant and during the night, and Robert and Dario's time at the cabin. Those three parts were my absolute favourite, though mostly wherever Dario made an appearance, the story really settled.

Personally, I felt that the story floundered at the beginning and only really took off – losing the flowery, over descriptive, info dump mistakes – when Dario entered the picture, during that first meeting. From then on, things settled down and all the really annoying parts of the writing drifted off, to become more sedate and regular. The exaggeration, over- everything and the urgent need to settle the reader into the story waned enough to let me enjoy the flow much better. I didn't feel rushed after they met, but did see a few points where we didn't have to see every moment of the time together. Still, even those parts were better than the rush of the first 5-10%.

I had a bit of a glitch, when Robert and others started talking about “tricked” or “tricks”. To me, that's always been used in previous books that have mentioned it to mean an escort's customer, but the way it's used here it sounds more like a casual sex partner, which was a little confusing. I didn't really know in which term Inman meant it, until about halfway through, when it couldn't really mean anything else. So that was a bit of a stumbling block. It's tricky (no pun intended) when words have two meanings and it's not really clear which one is being used, because in most cases this could have meant either.

I liked the build up of the stalker aspect of the story. How it began small, little things at a time and things that wouldn't actually be taken seriously by the police. However, I didn't like that the cops wouldn't do anything at all about a stolen computer, since they wouldn't just dismiss it because the crime was over. At the same time, I don't feel satisfied with the conclusion as to why the stalker did everything they did. I get that most of it is blamed on one aspect of that persons life (I can't tell you what) but that doesn't sit well with me. It feels dismissive and incomplete.


Overall, the romance saved this one for me. Dario was fantastic at always saving the story when it began to flag, mostly because Robert was a bit too insecure and needy as a main character. He was a bit of a wimp, for thirty, and bordered on depressed most of the time. Dario injected life back into the story, every time he appeared.

The crime/stalker aspect worked to a certain extent, but it got a bit exaggerated at the end, too incredulous and wasn't rounded off well enough for my taste. I like my crimes a little more well explored to just accept the solution that we were presented.

However, this is only my second John Inman story and with a total indifference to the first and an iffy start, with a better ending to the second, I have to think that his writing style and my preferences don't really mix. I'll try another one, since I'm willing to try again, but it may just be that we're not a good fit for each other. Which is a shame, but happens sometimes.


Favourite Quote

“When you're a writer, that lie always works. Don't want to go to dinner? Blame the book. Don't want to go to church? Blame the book. Don't want to be bothered by anybody ever again? Blame the book. Works like a charm.”
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