Title and Author: In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Narrator: Robert Nieman
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Order at links: Amazon Audible
Reviewed by: Alisa
What to expect: A low angst love story with strong character development and some charming and humorous moments.
Plot: Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.
Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.
When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.
Review: I originally read this book when it first came out and it was one of my favorite books of 2015. I was very excited when I was offered an opportunity to review this in audiobook format but I was also a little nervous. I often find books don’t hold up to the test of time for me on re-reads. I’m so happy to say that not only was this as wonderful for me the second time around, but I think the audio format enhanced my enjoyment. The story is told by Daniel as he interviews for a new job in a new state and subsequently relocates for the job. Daniel and Rex have an encounter on Daniel’s first trip and while they don’t keep in touch, they stay on each other’s minds. Not long after Daniel starts his new job the two men meet again and slowly begin a relationship.
The story that follows is both a love story and a look at Daniel’s journey to realizing he is worthy of someone else’s love. I loved Daniel as a narrator. He has worked hard for everything he has but his years of emotional abuse by his family, combined with his years of never quite fitting in to his scholastic setting, have left him full of insecurities and the feeling that good things don’t happen to people like him. He doubts himself as much as he doubts the people around him and the road to happiness is a bumpy one. Fortunately Daniel has Rex to lead him on this journey. Rex is an amazing character. He has some insecurities of his own and he’s very lonely in a lot of ways but he’s a solid guy. He works hard, he’s a natural caretaker, he’s patient and he’s devoted to the people he cares about. Rex is a rock and his personality is just what Daniel needs.
There are so many things about this that I enjoyed. In addition to the plot itself, I really like the author’s writing style for this book. It has a melodic, almost melancholy feel to it in places, and I loved the pacing. As I mentioned, I loved Daniel and Rex, but I also really enjoyed the secondary characters. They all add to the story and there is a good balance between their roles and those of the primary characters. While Daniel has some issues he works through in the story there is not a lot of angst or drama. The steam level is pretty high and those scenes are done really well. (I now have an embarrassing story about walking outside with this playing on high volume in my purse, hands full with stuff, and running into my mailman. It was during an especially graphic sex scene and now neither my mailman nor I can look each other in the face.)
This was my first time listening to this particular narrator and I have to say I enjoyed him a lot. He had a great voice and he sounded just like I had envisioned Daniel sounding. He does a good job with all of the characters including the female ones. He also does a great job on the steamy moments which I find not all narrators can do. I will defiantly look for more work by him.
Overall this was a great audiobook for me. A really well done story was complimented by a really good narrator.
What you might like not like: The story is narrated in a first person present tense and I know some people do not care for that.
What I loved: I really enjoyed the story as a whole but the narration really added to it for me.
But wait! DO NOT GO! There’s more! Roan Parrish is on the blog today giving away 2 COPIES OF THIS AMAZING AUDIO BOOK to kick off our brand new audio only column, Alisa Listens! Enter here to win: