Eye of the Beholder

Eye of the Beholder - Edward Kendrick

Reviewed for Hearts on Fire Reviews

 

Now that Preston Davison’s contract is up, he wants out of the pornographic film industry. He learns getting out isn’t so easy once he starts receiving threatening e-mails. He decides to ignore them rather than worry his best friend, Cary Fielding, who’s heading out on a business trip.

 

Cary and Preston have been close since they were boys and even though they are both gay, they never became more than just good friends. Cary is now settled down with his boyfriend, Hugh, but Preston is never far from his heart and his mind.

 

Once Cary is ensconced in his hotel room, he learns that Preston is in intensive care after suffering numerous slash wounds to his face and torso. A snowstorm delays Cary’s flight back and once he arrives at the hospital, he discovers Preston signed himself out.

 

A month later, Preston is nowhere to be found and the police believe his attack was random.

 

Meanwhile, Preston is living with his roommate, Tabitha, a friend he met at a coffee shop when he first moved to town and who is now a nurse at the hospital. Under Tabby’s patient care and encouragement, Preston’s physical and emotional wounds gradually heal and he eventually starts a website design business that allows him to work from home. By chance, he receives an email from Cary, whose boss has requested he work with him to update the company’s website.

 

As Preston is using a pseudonym for his business, Cary has no idea who he’s working with. Their correspondence starts off businesslike and gradually becomes friendly. Though Preston has deep feelings for Cary, he is not yet ready to meet him.

 

Tabitha is one of my favorite characters. There is a dearth of female characters in gay romances and when they are present, they are often one-dimensional, evil, predatory, manipulative, shrewish or just plain dull. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to get to know Tabby. She’s funny, smart, caring, patient, strong, generous, and wants the best for Preston. Tabby was instrumental in getting Preston out of his self-imposed cocoon and facing the world again. She boosted his confidence and helped him open up about his feelings for Cary. One of my favorite scenes was when Tabitha and Preston were walking in the park and they encountered a little boy who approached Preston, looked directly at him and asked, “Were you in the war too?” It was achingly sweet and sad and brought a tear to my eye.

 

Though I enjoyed this story overall, I found it a little thin and insubstantial. Perhaps there was too much story for the number of pages. There was a lot going on, but I wish certain significant events were explored more deeply. I would have liked more about Preston’s recovery and his eventual reunion with Cary. A few minor characters would have brought complexity and made it more difficult to guess who Preston’s attacker was. I liked how the chapters alternated between events in Cary’s and Preston’s lives, creating tension and suspense, but felt the conclusion was a bit rushed.

 

This is my first book by Edward Kendrick and I just learned this is the first of a series. Since Tabby will be appearing in the next book, I definitely don’t want to miss it!