Genre: M/M Contemporary
This book had been on my "Must Read" list for a while so when I saw that it was available for review as an audio-book I jumped at the chance.
What I knew going in was that the story centered on Jerry Lincoln a gay man who'd moved back from San Francisco to Sioux Falls South Dakota to care for an aging grandfather. A relative who'd always supported him despite the rest of the family's turning their back on him when he came out. The old man has now passed and Jerry is a successful web designer and computer programming entrepreneur who takes on additional help to meet demand. One of those he takes on is John Black Raven.
John "Akecheta" Black Raven is a Native American who's left the reservation in order to seek gainful employment as part of his battle with the South Dakota department of Child Services. The department that has taken custody of his niece and nephew when their mother died.
As with many of Andrew Grey's books, the story starts slow but I enjoy spending time with his characters. His prose has a plainspoken quality that makes it easy to like the characters that inhabit his fiction. Plus his characters are generally good people, though there are the infrequently appearing, somewhat two dimensional, villain characters that are needed to bring drama to these homespun tales.
This book has the added merit of being based on a real problem that has been reported in the press concerning the uneven and oftentimes overzealous behavior of South Dakota's Childrens' Services representatives when dealing with the state's Native Americans.
I was first recommended this book while in search of something that depicted Native American attitudes toward MM relationships. This story really only touches on that briefly and is mostly set in the "white man's world." but I still found it a worthwhile and engaging read. It's a compelling tale that drew me in. I learned a few things along the way about Native American culture (particularly as to their hair-cutting tradition) and about the all-too real CPS conflict in South Dakota.
I listened to the audio-book version of this as narrated by Andrew McFerrin rather than reading it in text form and while McFerrin did a workmanlike job I think that I'd have preferred to have read this one.
This was primarily due to two problems. The first was that the book included a number of women's and children's voices and I personally found McFerrin's portrayal of these to be somewhat grating. Others may completely disagree with this and it may well be entirely a personal preference.
The second problem was one of pronunciation. John Black Raven's given Apache name is Akecheta meaning warrior. The narrator pronounced it as "a KEY cheetah" (with two long E sounds) From what spoken Lakota I've heard, I felt it should have been "a KAY chaytah" (with both e's sounding like long a's) Again, this is a MINOR problem but the name does occur quite frequently and I personally found it a bit hard to ignore.
If these problems are things that you feel wouldn't affect you as much as they did me, by all means, check out this otherwise commendable audio-version.
Overall I rated this a three star experience. I'm guessing that the same book in text form would have gotten a fourth star from me. But, as previously stated, personal preferences vary.