Talker – Tate “Talker” Walker has spent most of his life hiding his scars under a bright punk facade, and until he sat next to Brian Cooper on a bus, it worked. But Brian has spent his whole life being the invisible man, and he’s used to looking below the surface. What he sees in Talker is a fragile and lovable human being.
Brian is outwardly straight, but Talker is desperate for love, and when Talker’s behavior leads to some painful consequences, Brian is forced to come out of his closet—in dramatic fashion. He’ll do anything to make sure Talker sees that he’s the Prince Charming Talker has always needed.
Talker’s Redemption – Tate Walker’s past is too painful to just disappear, even if his dream boy, Brian Cooper, is there to hold his hand. Brian does his best, but Talker—always good at avoiding his own pain—is having a hard time facing the truth about what happened when he trusted the wrong man at the wrong time.
When that truth resurfaces and lands Brian in the hospital, Talker is forced to make a choice. He can either confront every demon in his fragile, bleeding heart, or he can let Brian take the heat for him, just like he has from the beginning. But even Talker knows you don’t leave your dream boy alone and undefended when he just saved your life, and he’ll have to find the strength to take care of Brian when Brian needs him the most.
Reading Amy Lane’s Talker and Talker’s Redemption was, for me, like taking a crash course in the fine art and often overlooked beauty of the fairy tale romance.
I fervently hope the use of the term fairy tale is regarded with the respect with which I intend it. Oftentimes, when mention is made of the term, the book is summarily dismissed as cliché or trivial; the story is believed to be lacking in substance, its resolution presumed to be arrived at too handily. The association is made with the Disney-ized version of the fairy tale, which I do love, but it’s the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen versions of the fairy tale to which I refer. Anyone who has read the story of Cinderella or The Little Mermaid, then has seen the Disney version of the movies gets my meaning.
Brian Cooper and Tate Walker are two sides of the same coin—one side newly minted, the other, scarred and worn. They both live on the fringes of society, Brian by virtue of his shy and isolated nature; Tate by virtue of his appearance. Brian is straight, Tate is gay. The boys are perhaps the unlikeliest of allies, but because one talks and the other listens, because one hides and the other seeks, because one is scarred and the other can see past the scars to the beauty that lies beneath, because one loves and the other is desperate to be loved, they forge a bond that transcends the definition of mere friendship.
The boys become roommates, living in a crappy little apartment that they, as starving college students, can scarcely afford. Through Brian’s eyes, the reader witnesses Tate searching desperately for his Prince Charming, selling himself short at each and every turn as he yearns to lose his virginity to the first guy who will have it. The reader witnesses Brian’s despair as Tate walks out the door time after time, blind to what is directly in front of him. Brian loves Tate fiercely, but because Brian has a girlfriend, Tate cannot hear the meaning behind Brian’s pleas; Tate cannot understand the meaning of the word love when it falls from the lips of the boy who cannot possibly love Tate in the way he longs to be loved. The reader witnesses Brian watch, utterly helpless, as his beloved walks out the door and into the arms of the dragon who will brutally steal what Tate is unwilling to give. The reader will watch helplessly as the Prince ascends, caring for Tate’s wounds, keeping Tate tethered to a world that has hurt him again and again; the Prince becomes all but invisible to the boy who has disappeared behind a wall of pain and humiliation, until the Prince dons his armor, fights the dragon, and storms the fortress, collapsing the walls and rescuing his beloved.
Salvation, however, is still a long way off for Tate as he continues to battle his demons, his Prince at his side. The boy is battle worn; his scars run deep, clean through to his soul, yet he tries so bravely to ignore their presence and deny their cause. Tate insists upon taking the blame for a horrifying crime in which he was the forsaken. The violation and its aftermath torment the beloved and his Prince; the memories won’t be put to rest until a confession provides absolution. An act of revenge, his Prince mercilessly beaten, delivers Tate to a crossroads—he will either be imprisoned by fear and anguish or delivered from evil, rising up to slay the beast who has caged his soul.
Tate’s confession will require an incredible leap of faith, though that faith will be strengthened by the unconditional love of and for his Prince, by the support and compassion found within a family that welcomes him, although he is not of their blood.
Tate ascends. Tate transcends. Tate overcomes. Love prevails.
Amy Lane has delivered a powerful and moving story, one that is filled with desire and desperation; it is a story of hearts laid bare, scars exposed; a soul is rescued, one soul in two bodies; bodies join and become one. It is written with a rhythm and a beauty that can be called nothing less than poetic.
I reviewed these books as a single entity because each of the books depends upon the other, just as Brian and Tate do. Talker is written from Brian’s perspective, Talker’s Redemption from Tate’s. They, both the heroes and the books, support the other, complement and complete the other. They are two halves of the same hole, and they are a wonder.
Reviewed By: Lisa