Dana and Dawn review BOYSTOWN Season 4 by Jake Biondi (Published November 13, 2015, 480 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb: The horrific night club fire leaves lives and relationships forever scarred. As the flames die down and the smoke clears, survivors struggle to rebuild. At the same time, the race to save Derek Mancini and to bring his shooter to justice begins — while the search to identify the new Mancini brother continues.
More catastrophic than the fire, a special birthday celebration propels lives in dangerous directions. While some work to end the Mancini-Ciancio feud permanently, others use it as motivation to put a life-threatening plan in place. Meanwhile, two couples prepare for their weddings, one couple struggles to survive its secrets, and a new couple forms an alliance that will ultimately destroy several people around them. Plus, the arrival of a new doctor and his son to Boystown impacts the lives of everyone they meet.
It all builds up to a wedding weekend that will leave the lives of Boystown residents in peril.
There’s no place like BOYSTOWN!
I’ve learned something surprising about myself reading the BOYSTOWN series. I’m bloodthirsty. Yes, I know these are characters in a book and not real people, but I’ve never wished for someone to die so bad before. 😉 The thing to first understand about this series is that it’s quite unlike most m/m books out there. It would probably be considered LGBT fiction. There is plenty of sex in the book, between gay and straight couples alike. There is also a touch of romance. But mostly it is drama; soap opera worthy antics fill the story. Scenes in the story cut in and out like they might in a daytime drama. You don’t really get to feel what the characters feel and take a walk in their shoes, but the reader is a voyeur to the insanity. It is addicting and maddening at the same time.
When we left off in Season 3, it was a pretty big cliffhanger. Most of the couples we met in Season 1 had been flipped and flopped and changed around. The ever expanding cast of characters was celebrating the opening of Max and Emmett’s new restaurant/club before Ben locked them all in and set fire to it. Unfortunately for him he was also trapped. Would this be the end of him like I hoped? It certainly appeared so. Derek, Emmett’s brother, was not at the club but his future was threatened as we see him shot. The few characters not shot or left in a burning building were the ones I couldn’t stand, and I really hoped would be in danger.
As Season 4 starts we see party-goers trying to free themselves from their doom, and all but one person makes it out of the fire. But many are injured. Derek is found and brought to the hospital as well. From there on out, it was business as usual in BOYSTOWN. That means cheating, lying, and manipulating, Mostly. Of course there are some people being kind to one another and the rebuilding of the restaurant. Keith, Emmett, Max, Cole, Justin, Gino, Derek, Joyelle, David, Logan, Tyler, Cole, Michael, and Jesse all return from the previous books.Jensen and Dustin who were introduced in season 3 were also back though their places in the drama are still to be determined. Rachel, Marco, and Carlo, who have proved to be nothing but manipulative troublemakers so far are also present in this book. There are a few additions to the story. Mateo joins the hospital staff. He is Michael’s brother but they aren’t particularly close. His son also Hector comes to Boystown with him. Adam is also briefly in the story. He seems to be an ex of Dustin’s and possibly looking to stir things up, but his part is small yet. We will have to see.
The three characters I like most in the story are Michael, Cole, and Emmett. Michael is a good cop. He seems really decent. Cole did sleep with Derek while knowing he was married and proceeded to follow him to Chicago. However, he seems like he is just following his heart. In a series where people are intentionally trying to hurt and/or kill others his love for the wrong man seems relatively harmless. Emmett is the epitome of a good guy. He has never done anything to hurt a soul in the story at all. Somehow that means anything bad that happens usually happens to him. Even though these men are constantly hurt by others they remain pure of heart and I love the sanity they bring to the story.
There are definitely troublemakers and baddies in the story. Derek is a cheater and will stoop pretty low to get what he wants. Keith has done some bad things in his past that are causing him to do some pretty dubious things in the present. Jensen lived on the streets before meeting Emmett and he can be bought easily but he genuinely regrets his actions. Gino and Justin were both troublesome before they fell for each other. Max is also a cheater and Logan is an alcoholic. These guys have done things that have really made me angry with them. I want to see them taken down a peg, but ultimately they all seem redeemable. Marco and Carlo are more questionable. I haven’t seen anything truly honest about their actions. They have tried to hurt many people, they have used many too. Rachel is the most awful character of the series. Not awful like the author did a bad job writing her, but he wrote her so well as the villain that I keep hoping she will die. I can’t see her getting better in any situation whatsoever. She has tried and tried to bring people down. In some ways she has succeeded, but her personal goals have tended to fail. That won’t stop her though. If one plan falls through she will make another, and you can bet it will be worse.
With those drama bringers you can also bet that there is a cliffhanger ending in this story as well. Max and Emmett, and Justin and Gino are having a double wedding in California, but trouble seems to be in the cards for them as they get on the plane. A car driven by a character hits one of the other characters when he tries to save a third character. Logan’s depression hits a new low. Also, Derek’s past comes to haunt him again but this time it’s going to effect someone he cares about. It was BOYSTOWN series worthy ending. As much as I wish that some characters will see the light and for some to die, I must admit I am addicted to the drama. I definitely recommend the entire series.
Well, this is one review I am finding it hard to write. I really don’t want to give too much away, but I totally agree with Dana, in that while reading I am literally wishing some of the most evil, manipulative people in Boystown meet a nice grisly end…. but alas they always seem to get themselves elsewhere at the crucial moment. I absolutely, totally, completely hate the character Rachel. I am not sure why it is, but there is something about her that I really dislike (you may or may not have noticed that!! Lol). Then there is Ben, who at the end of Season 3 is trapped by the fire, and I was thinking woo hoo, another one of the manipulative people has gone…. but has he…… time will tell if he did actually die or not. It is like all these people have nine lives or something!
What did surprise me in this Season, was one who I usually felt really sorry for – Joyelle, Dereks long suffering wife – but with what comes out in this book, I am now having second thoughts about her too. Is she as sweet and innocent as it seems to begin with? I am sure something really big is going to happen with her, and she could well end up being another one who is manipulative to get things going her way. I could be wrong, so I will be interested to see what happens to her in Season 5.
Emmett is one character I really do feel sorry for. He seems a really sweet guy, and yet somehow he is managing to pick people in his life who keep hurting him. At this point, I am not even sure that Emmett and Max should be getting married, as Max at times had a thing for someone else in Boystown. I used to think Max was another OK character, but like Joyelle, he is now showing a side that I am not sure I like. He was playing around on Emmett, and now he is on a plane to go and get married to him. Not sure if this will be a match made in heaven…. knowing Emmet’s luck, Max will find someone to play around with once they are married.
I am also intrigued to find out what happens to Logan in Season 5, he was one of the worst casualties from the fire at the end of Season 3, and as you read this book, you could see him spiralling down to route to full on depression. At the end of the book, you knew he had reached rock bottom, but is there anyone who can help him get through this time. It should be Jesse, but to me Logan seemed to put on a false happy front for Jesse, and Jesse was totally taken in by it, not really realising the extent of Logan’s depressive state.
Overall, what I can say about this book, it that it really keeps you hooked, as quite literally you have no idea of what is going to happen next. Just when you think you have it all clear in your mind, something else happens, or you learn a little titbit of information, and it all changes again! I am totally looking forward to Season 5, but please please let something happen to Rachel in the next one, I really don’t think I can cope with another book with nothing happening to her. She is long overdue her comeuppance.