My Busboy

My Busboy - John Inman Release day review posted at Sinfully.

3.5 stars

My Busboy falls in the middle between John Inman’s intense mysteries and slapstick comedies. There is the underlying mystery story line and the snarky characters I’ve come to expect, but the romance between 30 year old writer Robert Johnny and 21 year old busboy/veterinary student Dario Martinez takes center stage in this story.

Robert is going to make a wonderful crotchety old man one day, since he’s already a pretty crotchety young man. He has just turned 30 but talks about himself as if he’s closer to 60. He is plagued by self-esteem issues both personally and professionally. After two successful books his third was not as well received and he is having trouble writing the fourth. He can’t understand why anyone, especially the young and beautiful Dario, would see much in him to like or love, even though his best friend from college, Chaz, has been in love with him for years. Once he starts up with Dario he definitely has problems with the nine year age difference. While it borders on annoying, at times it is actually quite endearing and Dario really brings out his vulnerabilities.

Dario is a sweetheart. At 21, he is working as a busboy while attending college where he is studying to be a veterinarian. He is the opposite of Robert, upbeat and positive, enjoying his life and not bothered one bit by the age difference.

There is instant attraction between the two, but it wasn’t insta-love, and after a whirlwind weekend together they settle into a growing relationship, which intensifies over the next couple of months. Dario becomes a muse of sorts and Robert finds his writing groove again. Unfortunately there are still other issues that are not settled.

Robert’s snarky, best-friend, the lovelorn Chaz is an interesting side character that I alternately felt sorry for and hated. Robert has been clear with him about where they stand, but still Chaz is undeterred and pushes for more at every turn. There is also the stalker who after some worrisome emails seemed to have faded to the background, but then comes back with a vengeance.

The biggest difficulty I had with the story was really just Robert’s personality. There were aspects of it I liked and he is almost instantly devoted to Dario, but the fact that he acted so much older than his age was a stumbling block for me. I had to keep reminding myself that he just turned 30 and, especially in the beginning, it detracted from the relationship aspect of the story for me. Luckily though as Dario works his magic on Robert, things settled and I came to appreciate them as a couple.

John Inman has a certain writing style, creating unique descriptions, snarky dialogue and injecting wit and humor into even the most dire of circumstances. Something else he excels at, the mystery aspect of the story, was again very well done here. Although there was only a small pool of suspects on the stalker list, I was still surprised and saddened at how it all worked out. While it wasn’t my favorite of his books, I did enjoy it and am certain that his fans will too.