Title: Easy Ryder
Author: Deanna Wadsworth
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Sub-Genre: Coming of Age, Historical Americas, Mystery/Suspense
Kisses: 4.5 out of 5
On the ride across Route 66, Snake introduces Michael to new and steamy pleasures, leaving Michael aching for more than just the physical.
It’s July 3, 1976, the beginning of America’s bicentennial weekend, and everyone seems to be celebrating their freedoms except eighteen year old runaway Michael Ryder. Fresh from rural Pennsylvania, Michael is doing whatever and whoever it takes to get to San Francisco, where he hopes to find a new life with the freedom to love without fear.
While hitchhiking, a mysterious, tattooed biker names Snake offers him a ride west – on the back of customized Harley chopper. During their journey across Route 66, Snake introduces Michael to new and steamy pleasures, leaving Michael aching for more than just a physical relationship. But a violent encounter with a cruel biker gang and a harrowing secret from Snake’s military past might destroy their unlikely relationship long before they reach the end of the road.
This is the first book I have read by Deanna Wadsworth and I doubt it will be the last. Easy Ryder is a well written story set on the American Bicentennial weekend in 1976 following Snake and Michael Ryder on their journey across American on Snake’s Harley Chopper. It is also an examination of their relationship and other people’s attitudes to homosexuality.
Whilst I am not American I was a teenager in 1976 and I’m not even sure I knew what a homosexual relationship was, they were so far in the closet and it was certainly not polite conversation in my family home. So the way the main characters were looked down on by the general public struck me as scarily accurate. Something else that hit home was the difference in attitudes towards unprotected sex before the advent of HIV.
At the start of the story Michael Ryder comes across as a painfully innocent almost ignorant child chasing an impossible dream. A dream of finding a community in San Francisco where he would be accepted for himself as a gay man. Desperate to escape his abusive family he is hitching rides across the country using sex as payment when he meets Snake, a tattoo covered tough guy who rides a Harley.
Snake is a man of few words and lets his body do the talking. Some of the early times they spend together on the bike are the sexiest most erotic non penetrative silent sex scenes I’ve come across anywhere. Hot, hot, hot.
As their journey progresses it becomes obviously that Snake isn’t the completely confident man he portrays himself as. We begin to realize that he’s actually less at easy being gay than young Ryder is and it is Ryder that teaches Snake to be proud of who and what he is.
There were enough frantic action driven moments in the story to keep the angst in balance. I found myself cheering Ryder on when he defended Snake both verbally and physically. Then at the end when Snake outted both of them in public I was grinning from ear to ear unlike joe public who witnessed their kiss. They were horrified and disgusted, a perfect reaction for the time the story was set in.
This is a story I strongly recommend. Please read it.
Reviewed By: Smidgeson