Title: Redemption by Fire
Author: Andrew Grey
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Redemption by Fire (Redemption by Fire Series)
Genre: Contemporary m/M fiction
Length: novella ( 96 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A story of a life that fears living outside the “closet” and the love that makes it possible.
Blurb: Dirk Krause is an asshole of the first degree. His life is a hell of his own making, and he makes everyone around him just as miserable. When he’s injured on the job while fighting a fire, he’s nearly unbearable to the hospital staff, and of course no one from his unit cares enough to visit.
Lee Stockton is the new guy at the station, so he gets saddled with the job of bringing Dirk a sympathy bouquet from the guys at the firehouse. To Dirk’s surprise, Lee sees through him like a pane of glass and doesn’t take any of his crap. Lee’s determined to get Dirk to stop being a dick just to push everyone away. When their fighting turns to fucking, will the fireworks shine brightly on a possible relationship or leave them with nothing but ashes?
Review: Every once in a while a story comes along and I wish I could contact the author and tell them how much I enjoyed it. Now, I know that I could–I could send a note or leave something on their blog. However, this kind of note–the kind that gushes ever so slightly–that sounds like I might be a 16 year old girl with her first crush–well those kinds of letters are ones I rarely write. Till today. And so, I beg your indulgence for a review written in a slightly different format–in the form of a letter to the author about his book, Redemption by Fire…
Dear Mr. Grey,
I wanted to write you to tell you how much I liked…no, loved this story. I felt at times like I was standing in the corner of Dirk’s life, with a bird’s eye view of everything that happened to him…of his pain, and his longing, and his redemption.
When the story opened with Dirk falling through the floor of a burning building while rescuing a child, I must admit I immediately worried that this story might be too cliched–too formulaic. You know those kinds of novels right Mr. Grey?? The kind where the macho guy is a gruff , insensitive bastard who has a similar type of bigoted father and lives in fear of anyone finding out that he isn’t “normal”. In fact–that could really describe who Dirk is at the beginning of this story; but it certainly does not come near defining who he becomes after he meets Lee, that young, musclebound new firefighter he works with at the station.
Lee…sigh…I liked him, Mr. Grey. He was a no-nonsense guy, who refused to let Dirk hide behind his fear of exposure. Lee understood what it was like to be ostracized by your family for being gay and yet, he lived life on his terms and no one elses. When the guys at the station send him to deliver the flowers to Dirk in the hospital, he decides that there is something more than the rough, overbearing ass that Dirk has been portrayed as–if ony he can wake this guy up so he can see what a jerk he has been. Lee helps him do that.
This was such a beautiful love story. Such woundedness, such need. I enjoyed…well, loved, really, how I could feel the emotions of each of these men. You paint such beautiful pictures with your word choice. I felt as though these men were some how real–fleshed out–well matched. As their relationship blossomed into more than lust, I really liked how you didn’t have Dirk just “cave in”. Rather, you chose to make this transition from the closet to the out and proud, gradual and, at times, painful, But…but…you allowed for Lee to help, to forgive when there was misunderstanding, to concede when he could no longer keep his love inside.
Mr. Grey, you let us see how these men both took risks and came out wiser, changed, in love. And, I must admit–you gave us some pretty hot sex to boot! More than that, however, you gave us a story that kept us wanting just a bit more…that stopped just a bit too abruptly for my taste. So sorry Mr. Grey, but that is why I gave the story only 4.5 stars instead of the whole 5. We needed just a bit more story to round out the ending. Other than that, I can honestly tell you that I was hard pressed to find any flaws in this beautiful novella.
So, Mr, Grey…in closing, I want to say thank you! Thank you for a smart, clever, poignant, compelling story that left me a bit misty-eyed and very satisfied.
Now…about that sequel I think you should write…