Dana reviews The Otto Digmore Decision (The Otto Digmore series Book 2) by Brent Hartinger. (Published by BK Books, January 15, 2020, 253 pages. Audiobook released January 15, 2020, 7 hours 51 minutes in length. Narrated by Michael Crouch.) An ebook copy was provided in exchange for an honest review
Why I read this: I loved the Russel Middlebrook series and the first book of Otto’s series so I was excited to read this one. Plus, the blurb sounded very interesting to me.
To read my review for The Otto Digmore Difference click here.
Book two in the Otto Digmore series
“If we get caught, they’ll throw us in jail. On the other hand, we’ll have been involved in one of the craziest Hollywood stories I’ve ever heard, and maybe someone will want to turn that into a movie!”
Otto Digmore is back, still trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood (despite his facial scars), but frustrated by all the schemers who’ll stab you in the back to get ahead. But then Otto’s good friend, Russel Middlebrook, sells a screenplay, a heist movie set in the Middle Ages – and Otto has been cast in an important supporting role! For 12 weeks, Otto and Russel will be on location together in England and Malta.
Problem is, once production is underway, it quickly becomes clear that the director is ruining Russel’s script. If the movie ends up being the bomb that both Otto and Russel expect it to be, it could destroy both their Hollywood careers forever.
But Otto and Russel aren’t willing to take that chance. Together, they hatch a crazy plan to make a good movie behind the director’s back! But how far are they willing to go to save their careers? Are they willing to become exactly the kind of scheming backstabbers they always said they hated?
The Otto Digmore Decision is partly a caper story, partly a humorous Hollywood satire. It’s also an inside look at the struggles of anyone “different”, and it’s even something of a love story, except it’s one between two friends.
More than anything, The Otto Digmore Decision proves the old adage about creative pursuits: The most interesting drama always happens behind the scenes!
I had started reading this book for review and the same day the ebook released, so did the audio. Being a fan of audiobooks and an even bigger fan of the narrator Michael Crouch, I picked up the audio so I could finish the book sooner. I must admit it’s more convenient for me to listen while I run errands and clean house. The narrator is one of my favorites, and with the story being a good one, it was completely a win-win situation.
In the Russel Middlebrook series that came out before Otto’s series, the story was a coming of age story, a coming out story, and a lot about Russel finding someone to share those experiences. Otto was one of the people who came into Russel’s life for a brief but memorable relationship before Russel settled down. The friendship between Otto and Russel fell by the wayside for some time until Russel moved to L.A. where Otto happened to be living at the time. The friendship got new life and ta-da, Otto got to have his own series. Otto does happen to meet someone and begins a relationship in the first book of this series. But again, the emphasis on this series seems to be the friendship that started in the very first series by this author.
In this book, one of Russel’s screenplays is finally picked up and greenlit for production. He’s not gonna let his close friend Otto miss out on a chance to shine and on his recommendation, Otto auditions and gets his first big screen role. It is looking good for the two friends. But once production starts, things get all sorts of crazy. The director doesn’t seem to have the right vision for the film Russel wrote and is determined to make Otto’s character one to pity because of the facial and body scars that the actor came by authentically. A few others grumble about the direction that the film is going and then life mirrors the movie when the group of actors and production hijack the film to do it justice.
There are some funny moments, and some nerve-wracking moments where you think they might get caught. Through it all, Otto and Russel are there for each other and their friendship gets even stronger. I’ll be honest, there is a part of me that would like a little bit more romance, but that is only because I am a romance lover. Both Russel’s husband and Otto’s boyfriend are barely present in this plot. Russel’s old friends, Min and Gunner, probably have more of a cameo. (p.s. I was so happy to see them again) On a more objective note, sometimes a good friendship and a good friendship story are just as important as a romance, and it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story.
In the end, I feel like these two characters achieved what they set out for. Otto has what it takes to stay in Hollywood, and Russel realizes living there isn’t what’s right for him. It is almost a little bittersweet, but I believe that the separation won’t take the same toll on the friends as it did when they were much younger. Russel’s life is about to mirror reality as he and his husband become digital nomads, which is how the author and his husband live. I smiled at that, but for now I will hope the author will revisit Otto and Russel in the future. It’s a great series about friendship and life that I really recommend.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
I’ve loved creative projects ever since I was a kid. For the past fifteen years, I’ve made my living writing fiction full-time, mostly novels and screenplays. I’ve published fourteen novels, had ten screenplays optioned, and had two of my projects turned into feature films.
I also love to travel. In fact, I no longer have a home. Instead, I travel the world indefinitely with my husband, writer Michael Jensen, moving to a new country every few months. You can follow our “digital nomad” journey at Brent and Michael Are Going Places.
My first novel Geography Club (2003) is the story of a gay teen named Russel Middlebrook. It was one of the very first in a new wave of break-out LGBT young adult fiction, and it was later adapted as a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula. I subsequently wrote three more books about Russel, calling them The Russel Middlebrook Series. I tried to give these books a lot of humor and heart.
In 2013, I continued Russel’s story as he grew up, into his twenties, in a new, stand-alone series called Russel Middlebook: The Futon Years. These books are “new adult” (making Russel one of very few literary characters to “jump” genres in projects created by the same author). And I also have a new, stand-alone series starring Russel’s gay disabled friend Otto Digmore, called The Otto Digmore Series.
I love mysteries and thrillers. My 2016 gay teen puzzle box thriller Three Truths and a Lie was nominated for an Edgar Award (this, and my 2005 novel Grand & Humble, are real mind-benders, trust me). My 2007 YA mystery, Project Pay Day, is much lighter, and has also been adapted as feature film (which I wrote), to be released in 2020.