Erryn & Melissa review BooFF by Matt Burlingame, narrated by Don Alfredano. The ebook was Published November 2nd 2017 and is 96 pages. The audio was published January 9th 2018 by Matt Burlingame and is 2 hrs and 12 mins long. A complimentary copy of the audiobook was provided via AudioBook Boom in exchange for an honest review.
Why we read this book:
Erryn: I like to push myself out of my comfort zone and this book achieved that goal.
Melissa: In all honesty the length of the story really drew me in and I do love paranormal stories, and add in a haunting – this was the perfect storm for me.
James Dixon has it all: a gorgeous fiance, a beautiful new house with the pool of his dreams, and his beloved dog, Pepper. But his perfect life begins to unravel after the sudden disappearance of his best friend, Ben. Trying to maintain a sense of normalcy while desperate to find out what happened to his friend, James helps his fiance, Michael, plan their upcoming housewarming party. But the oddities keep adding up until James becomes convinced their new house is being haunted. Enlisting the help of his mother, a witch, their party becomes the housewarming from hell as James uncovers shocking secrets and the ultimate betrayal in this paranormal tale of terror.
A complimentary copy of this audio was provided via Audiobook Boom in exchange for an honest review.
I will admit to hesitating to read this story because the cover is a little off-putting and the blurb – while intriguing – left me questioning if it would be to my taste. I am so happy I took a chance because this was certainly an entertaining and gripping story. I had my suspicions early on as to what was going on with Ben being missing and “shocking secrets” that James uncovers. Despite the “mystery” not being very mysterious, I thought this was a well written short about a man trying to uncover what happened to his best friend. The book title “Booff” is James and Ben’s own term and a play off of BFF (best friends forever), it’s something only the two of them use, and the term comes in to play a lot during this mystery.
Since I don’t want to ruin what happens (I was shocked about a lot of the actual details, just not the overall mystery of Ben’s disappearance), I can’t tell you a lot about the actions in the story. I liked James right from the start, and I just adored Pepper. I didn’t like Michael almost from the start. James seemed to be giving up a lot and acquiescing to a lot of things just to keep the peace and make Michael happy. That’s not a good relationship, nor the basis for which to get married. Plus his attitude towards Ben just rubbed me the wrong way.
The final climax of the story was very fun (if gory) and very satisfying. I almost think the author wanted you to know what was going on, just be kept in the dark as to the reasons why and how. You could almost call the ending happy, except Ben isn’t just missing – which is sad, but the bad guy definitely doesn’t win, so that’s a happy. 🙂
Since this is an audio, I HAVE to talk about the narration and this is my first my Don Alfredano, but it won’t be my last. This was a great narration and I thought Alfredano totally nailed the characters and gave it the right tone to express the action in the story. When James was confused or scared/nervous, those feelings came through by how Alfredano spoke. When Michael was being an ass, his voice carried just the right amount of snark or sass, or contrition (towards James). I fully enjoyed this narration and will be looking for more by Don Alfredano .
Overall I rate the story with 4 stars – because there are some unfinished elements that are driving me crazy, but I can’t explain without giving away spoilers.
Narration 5 stars.
I do recommend this story (and audio if you have the chance). You might have the idea this is a horror, but I would NOT classify it as such. I see this as a paranormal thriller. There isn’t exactly any romance here, but there is affection between James and Ben; they’ve known each other for a long time and we are given some history of their relationship.
8/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
Okay, this book is way out of my comfort zone, but sometimes I enjoy taking a risk on something different. This book was…unique. I have to disagree with Melissa a bit in that, to me, this audio has horror elements. I feel the book combines two genres – MM and horror. If you love paranormal horror, this book will appeal to you. If you’re looking for a gay romance, this doesn’t really fit except for the hot sexy couple of men who are engaged and planning their housewarming party.
From the very beginning, I didn’t like Michael. Anyone (man or woman) who actively attempts to isolate their partner from old friends is usually in the wrong. Unless the previous relationships were toxic, it is good to hold on to people who knew you before.
Anyway, James has been away on business and upon his return, tries to locate his best friend Ben. Ben left a message the morning James flew out, but hasn’t returned any of the subsequent calls. James and Ben refer to each other as BooFF – a combination of ‘boo’ and ‘BFF’ (best friend forever). The closeness of that relationship is touching. 20 years of friendship with only a few bumps, and most of them caused by Michael.
Being a horror story, things go sideways very quickly. I’ll admit certain things I saw coming while others were a surprise. I don’t want to ruin the book, so I’ll refrain from including spoilers. I will say Pepper was the best part of the book.
Don Alfredano, the narrator, did a decent job. He allowed me to suspend my disbelief and just go along for the ride. I would be up to listening to another book narrated by him or another book written by Matt Burlingame, if it was in a different genre. I won’t be choosing another horror book soon, but I was glad I took a chance on something different.
6/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 3/5 Stars
Matt Burlingame is an award-winning journalist and playwright, living in Northern California. After 20 years of working for various LGBT newspapers, websites, and even co-hosting a late-night radio show, he has retired from his aspirations of being the gay Murphy Brown to pursue his love of fiction writing. His first book, the self-published dark comedy Sorry Charley, was released in 2012. He has written and co-written over ten critically acclaimed plays, including Recovery Mode, Poughkeepsie Porn Co., Countess Dracula, and the controversial Paperclip Messiah. His plays have been produced nationally, most notably in New York and St. Louis. He has been a well-known LGBT podcaster for over ten years and produced and co-hosted shows focused on writing, comedy, theater, gay sex education and positive body image. With the support and encouragement of his gay cat, and lifelong friend Nephi, he has now immersed himself into the wonderful world of M/M romance.