Book Reviews

Backbeat Rhythm by J.D. Ryan at JMS Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Interracial / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 10-April-2018

Book Blurb

Heavy metal backbeat vs. the classics.

Bassist Kit Barlow doesn't have time for romance. He's holding down two jobs and playing in a heavy metal band -- while raising his seven-year-old son by himself. But when Ebon joins the Cub Scouts, Kit can't help but notice his group leader, Max Hill.

Max is everything Kit likes in a man: tall, dark, and determined. The two men come up with a way to keep their nosy families from trying to set them up with every available man in the city: they'll pretend to be dating each other.

In between the afternoon pool games and the Sunday mac 'n cheese, Kit and Max find their pretend romance is developing some real heat. There's only one problem now -- Kit finds out Max despises rock and roll music.

How's a heavy metal rocker supposed to woo a man who only likes classical music? Can they make their relationship work, or will they find their differences hit a sour note?

Book Review

“As you begin to realize that every different type of music, everybody's individual music, has its own rhythm, life, language and heritage, you realize how life changes, and you learn how to be more open and adaptive to what is around us.” ~ Yo-Yo Ma

The only thing that Kit Barlow, of 'Backbeat Rhythm’ by J. D. Ryan, loves more than his music is his son, Ebon. Whatever Ebon wants, Kit tries his best to supply, even though he has to work three jobs to do so. Kit doesn't complain about having to raise his son on his own because Ebon is a treasure beyond words. Kit does wonder sometimes, how much better it would be to have someone to share his life and Ebon's rather than doing it all himself, but how would he possibly find the time to do so?

Ebon's latest passion is to be in cub scouts. It's not easy for Kit to afford for him to be a scout, but, somehow, he finds the time and finances to make it happen. Through scouts, Kit meets Max Hill, one of the scout masters with whom there is an instant attraction. Through chance and/or design, Kit keeps finding ways to run into Max and they find that they have a lot in common other than the fact that Max hates rock music with a passion, preferring classical instead. Max knows that Kit went to Julliard and has a musical degree, but, needless to say, Kit doesn't mention that he's in a rock band. Kit wants Max to see him in a good light and doesn't mention what kind of music he plays for fear that Max won't approve.

Another thing they have in common is that both Max's family and Kit's family thinks they work too hard and need to get out and relax sometimes, giving themselves an opportunity to find someone with whom to share their lives. Max and Kit are both of the mindset that, yes that would be nice, but just when would they find time to do that. Pondering on the situation, Max comes up with the idea that they become pretend boyfriends in order to get their families off their backs. Reluctantly, Kit agrees and they start seeing more of each other. Things progress rapidly in their pretend relationship and they soon become lovers. Secretly they both yearn for more, wanting their relationship to be real instead of make-believe, but neither can admit to the other that this is happening. Things come to a head one day when Max decides to check out the rock concert that Kit and his son wan to attend, not knowing that Kit and his band are actually performing at the event. After Kit finishes playing, he leaves the stage to be regaled with praise by Ebon, who tells him his dad's band is the best. The euphoria is short-lived when Kit notices that Max is there and looks extremely angry about the situation. Kit wonders how he will ever explain that he not only loves rock music, he loves performing it.

I decided to read this story because of the cover, but the book didn't quite live up to my expectations. The plot was good, but the story dragged sometimes; also, the conversations seemed a bit stilted and the sex rather clinical. The main characters were well described but seemed kind of flat at times. I liked and admired Kit for being such a good father and trying to be true to who he was. Kit was gentle, easy going, loving, and reliable. Max, on the other hand, was strong and reliable too, but was also pushy and overbearing. Although he was good with Ebon and enjoyed being with the boy and Kit, it seemed like things frequently needed to be on his terms. I didn't dislike him, but I can't say that I liked him either. If you enjoy a story without much angst, with music, and finding someone to love, then you may enjoy this book. Thanks, J.D., for giving Kit and Max their happy ending.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by JMS Books for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 81 pages/26223 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 17-March-2018
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link