Come Unto These Yellow Sands

Come Unto These Yellow Sands 
Author: Josh Lanyon 
 Publisher: JustJoshin Publishing 
Release Date: May 31, 2021 (reissue) 
Genre(s): M/M Murder Mystery 
Page Count: 161 
Rating: 5 stars out of 5 

What a difference a reread makes. I had enormously liked this novella the first time I read it several years ago.  FYI, the book was originally published in 2011 and this is a reissue.  This second time ... I was gobsmacked by it. 

Swift, the only child of two literary icons, had nearly every moment of his childhood documented in film and poetry. "It was a peculiar thing to grow up in the public eye. It was a still weirder thing to serve as the living, breathing form of inspiration for two of the greatest poets in North America." [...] No wonder Swift had been doing drugs by the time he was seventeen. 

That drug addiction nearly killed him, left him estranged from his mother, mourning the death of his adored father and denied access to his trust fund. "There was nothing like having friends, family and your health-care professionals go on the record that they did not believe you were (or ever would be) competent to manage your own business affairs - and then having a judge agree." 

But Swift has hung onto his sobriety by the skin of his teeth, and his relationship with Max - Police Chief Max Prescott - has kept him grounded (and very sexually satisfied). But when one of his students, a battered and bruised Tad Corelli, asks for help and a place to get away for a while, Swift gives him aid ... only to learn that Tad's father has been murdered and that his actions of helping Tad evade arrest may have severed his relationship with Max forever. 

Sure, the murder keeps the drama going, but at the heart of the story is Swift and the theme of perception. Swift thinks his relationship with Max is casual yet he wants so much more, Swift was unaware that his job at the university at times had been hanging by a thread, Swift has a real problem understanding how he is perceived by others, there is the perception by some that Swift will always be nothing more than addict, and the murder mystery hinges on perceptions about various suspects that are encouraged by someone. We have conscious and unconscious perceptions about others that color the facts and can hide the truth. 

The more I think of this book, the more it becomes. It is really a touching story about a man living with addiction and finding the one person who can see beyond preconceptions and really be there for him and love him. 5 stars all the way. 

I received an ARC from the author, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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