Review of Spirit, by John Inman

Spirit

I bought a copy of John Inman‘s novel, Spirit.

Description from Goodreads:
Jason Day, brilliant designer of video games, is not only a confirmed bachelor, but he’s as gay as a maypole. One wouldn’t think being saddled with his precocious four-year-old nephew for four weeks would be enough to throw him off-kilter. 

Wrong. Timmy, Jason’s nephew, is a true handful. 

But just when Timmy and Uncle Jason begin to bond, and Jason feels he’s getting a grip on this babysitting business once and for all, he’s thrown for a loop by a couple of visitors—one from Tucson, the other from beyond the grave. 

I’m sorry. Say what? 

Toss a murder, a hot young stud, an unexpected love affair, and a spooky-ass ghost with a weird sense of humor into Jason’s summer plans, and you’ve got the makings for one hell of a ride.

Review:
I thought that this was really quite cute, funny in a clever sort of way and suspenseful. It was also well written and well edited.

Yes, the precocious four-year-old was far too clearly communicative to be realistic. He was very adult sounding, in fact, and that annoyed me a bit. I wouldn’t have wanted baby talk or anything, but no four-year-old has that much reasoning power or clear, concise, grammatically correct speech. It was distracting (but maybe that was exaggerated for me since I have a 4 year old). Similarly, and possibly as a result of the adult toddler, the interactions between the Jason and Sam and Timmy were unrealistic. (Along with Jack, Paul and Sally, are those not the most boring American names the author could have chosen?)

And yes, despite generally loving Jason, I thought he was so camp as to be a cliché. Not so much because he listened to show tunes or used concealer on his acne, but because of his constant need to talk about things being butch or that he might not be manly or macho enough to do whatever—lift a suitcase, swing a sledgehammer, face a spider, etc. It was just a constant attack on his status as a man, as if to say, ‘I’m gay so I obviously can’t also be strong, or brave, or handy with a hammer.’ Certainly, Sam had no such compunctions. Some of this wouldn’t have bothered me (it’s his personality, after all), but he never missed an opportunity to remind the reader. 

The relationship between Sam and Jason also felt a little convenient, but the plot couldn’t have happened without it, so no real complaints. I’m not sure how I felt about all the aiming for the face and licking the leftovers in bed, though. I’m really just not sure. I didn’t necessarily dislike it, but I couldn’t decide if this was supposed to be a little kink thrown in or if this was supposed to be (or maybe is, what do I know) a normal, everyday practice.

All in all, I had a few niggles but for the most part I laughed a lot, nibbled my lips in anticipation, sighed at the romance and generally enjoyed myself with this one.

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