THE FLAMBOYANT FLAMINGO by Theo Fenraven
Date: August 18, 2015
Details: ARC review
“Benched for a minor knee injury, pro baseball player Devin Carter recuperates on beautiful Islamorada in the Keys, where he meets Jim Dellwood, half-owner of a run-down resort. The attraction is immediate, the chemistry is good, but it’s not love yet. They agree to stay in touch but keep things casual.
Back in Sarasota, Devin hooks up with another player for no-strings sex but quickly realizes Jorge Rodriguez, newest teammate for the Suns, has a different take on their relationship. With things heating up between him and Jim, Devin tries to break it off, but Jorge won’t take no for an answer.
Set in Florida, the sun-drenched land of eternal summer, and played out against the backdrop of high-stakes baseball, this tale of love and obsession will keep you awake long into the night.”
Note: This story was originally published as The Blue Paradise but has since been revised and new scenes have been added.
It is a well known fact I’m a huge fan of Theo Fenraven’s writing. He can do things with words other people, myself included, can only aspire to. In one sentence he’ll give you a description others would need a full paragraph for. He consistently draws me into the world he’s created and by the time I’m ready to leave again his characters and the issues they’ve faced have become a part of me as if I was there, experiencing the whole thing with them.
The Flamboyant Flamingo was no exception to that rule. We’re introduced to Devin and Jim, two young men who stand out because at first glance there’s nothing too remarkable about them. They’re nice, considerate and tolerant. And before you think that makes them or the story boring, let me put you straight. For me it was a wonderful change of pace to read a book in which neither of the main characters had huge personal issues or past ordeals to overcome. Not that there’s anything wrong with books in which that is the case, but it is nice to occasionally read about characters who just get on with life, like I do myself most of the time. J
Of course it’s not quite that simple or this would indeed be a boring story. For starters Devin is a baseball player getting very close to beating the existing record for homeruns. As a result he’s become something of a minor celebrity, a distinction he wears reluctantly.
Jim is a student getting ready for his master’s when the grandfather who’s been raising him since his parents died, gets ill and Jim’s plans get thrown into disarray.
When the two men meet, the attraction is more or less instant but it isn’t long before Devin’s career and Jim’s obligations in the resort, which he runs with his grandfather, force the two men to separate. They agree to stay in contact but no strings attached. As a result the situation gets dicey and what would have been a gentle and easy going romance turns into a toe-curling thriller. I read the second half of this book with my heart in my throat and may have muttered ‘don’t you dare’ a few times while turning the pages.
Most of the sex scenes in this book manage to be very enticing while fading to black; which makes the one on page scene all the hotter. And while I never miss the sex when I read books by this author, that particular scene suddenly made me wish he’d indulge a bit more often. A well written sex thing in the right hands is indeed a thing of beauty.
A funny thing happened after I finished the book. It’s not unusual for the characters in a book I’ve loved to linger in my head and continue their story in my imagination. It is far less common for them to become more rather than less vibrant in my mind. At the time of writing this review two days have gone by since I finished the book and Devin and Jim not only still occupy my thoughts, they are getting stronger and louder as well. This is a new and rather fascinating experience.
I still bless the day I first discovered Theo Fenraven’s books. He is one of the few authors I know who can successfully switch from (sub)genre to (sub)genre and make each of them his own while never losing his unique voice. It really doesn’t matter what this author is writing about, what genre he’s visiting or where the story’s set; each work is original and one-of-a-kind and yet quintessential Fenraven. A rare gift indeed.