Self-absorbed Aidan Montgomery knows what he wants: a life of luxury and material wealth. To get it he’s stumping on the campaign trail for Senator Philip Brenton and carrying on a rather perfunctory affair with him to boot. The senator is his ticket to better living, and Aidan is content not to look too closely at Brenton’s back room business dealings.
When discrepancies over property lines for a new casino development in the senator’s district surface, axe man Rafe McCafferty becomes an unwilling participant in the dispute. A suspicious accident on the logging company owner’s job site draws Aidan and Rafe into murky plans that threaten not only their jobs, but Aidan’s shallow lifestyle and his vision for the future. There are no clear-cut answers for either of them, that is, until they have to unite for their own survival.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Gone Stumping is a different kind of read. On the positive side it’s a decent story about two men that are frustrated with parts of their lives and through meeting each other, break out of the mold they’ve cast for themselves. Watching two men realize they can break away from stereotypes is a nice story. The political vehicle to this is rather predictable and takes some obvious leaps but what really hindered my enjoyment was the writing itself.
The story follows Aiden Montgomery, a political campaign manager that gets his job by sleeping with his senator boss. Aiden doesn’t have a problem with that though as he aspires to achieve the money, fame, success, and material possessions the senator has. However when the senator’s shady land deal starts to unravel, Aiden finally wakes up from his comfortable life to reassess his values and priorities with a little help from sexy logger Rafe.
The story itself is pretty basic with the obvious and predictable political corruption component. This is the weakest aspect of the story since it’s so cliché on many levels. Yet what saves this from being boring is that Aiden really does embody those stereotypes and plastic people that exist. His characterization as someone that wants all of those trappings comes across yet he’s not the hard worker that is willing to do anything and everything to get the job and the promotion. Aiden comes across more as thinking perfection would be nice but lacking the elemental drive to really attain it. Instead he measures himself and others by these ideals and finds many of them lacking.
Thus Aiden’s interaction and subsequent romance with Rafe causes him to really reevaluate his life and choices. When the senator’s corruption comes to life Aiden realizes he’s been fooling himself and thus attempts to see life through a lens that doesn’t demand perfection. Rafe for his part is a tough working, rough man that doesn’t understand or fit in with the model perfection types. He doesn’t have the perfect hair or clothes nor does he want to be pigeon holed as some typical gay man so his realization that not all gay men are the same fits well with Aiden’s own change. Thus the two men together make for a nice couple that is likely to change and grow together in positive ways.
What didn’t work so well in the story is the actually writing itself. Often I found the writing too loquacious and unappealing to read. The story seemed to talk around the point it was making, thus prompting me to re-write the sentence in my head to ascertain the main point. Some examples of this and the awkward verbiage are:
Additionally the third person POV shifts often from paragraph to paragraph to encompass all viewpoints, though Aiden is the main perspective.
Overall the story is decent and I liked how the men grew out of their stereotypes and boxes. It’s nice to see characters grow over the course of a story and capable of change. The unattractive writing is such that perhaps this author just isn’t for me and the examples noted may not bother other readers. If it doesn’t, I’d recommend picking this up. If you’re more like me and find the prose somewhat awkward, I can still recommend the story but that depends on your tolerance level.
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