Title: Into This River I Drown
Author: T. J. Klune
Genre: m/m paranormal romance
Print length: 400 pages
Publication date: March 24, 2013
Rating: Four Stars
Blurb: Five years ago, Benji Green lost his beloved father, Big Eddie, when his truck crashed into a river. Everyone called it an accident, but Benji knows it was more. Even years later, he’s buried in his grief, throwing himself into managing Big Eddie’s convenience store in the small-town of Roseland, Oregon. Surrounded by his mother and three aunts, he lives day to day, struggling to keep his head above water.
But Roseland is no ordinary place.
With ever more frequent dreams of his father’s death and waking visions of feathers on the river’s surface, Benji finds his definition of reality bending. He thinks himself haunted; by ghosts or memories, he can no longer tell. Not until a man falls from the sky, leaving the burning imprint of wings on the ground, does Benji begin to understand that the world is more mysterious than he ever imagined—and more dangerous. As uncontrollable forces descend on Roseland, they reveal long-hidden truths about friends, family, and the stranger Calliel—a man Benji can no longer live without.
I know weird is an unreliable word as far as book descriptions go but I can’t help that. It is what it is. It’s also beautiful. Only some of this book is actually written, the rest of it is painted. And man, the colors will tear your soul to bits. They will just shred you. Not many readers realize how incredibly hard it is to do grief like this. When the writer paints it so intensely, so graphically, it will take its toll. No one can do pain like this and not feel it, not have it follow them around like a dark cloud. So much grief will turn you world black. To write from that place, you gotta have skill and passion and experience. You gotta be willing to drown yourself and trust you’ll float back up.
I do have some complaints but they have nothing to do with the plot, the characters or the writing. All of those things are stable. I know that when the readers of this genre read a book, they usually expect sex. And that’s fine. Who doesn’t like sex? I like sex. Still, I can’t help but feel like it wasn’t necessary in this book. It struck me as almost sacrilegious and not for the reasons people might think. It just didn’t seem to fit; it was like adding a sex scene in the middle of Toni Morrison’s work. Sure, the sex scenes probably made it more sellable to a certain group of readers, but you take away the sex, hell, take away the romance, and this book will still stand strong.
There’s unmatched luxury in this work and this author has some seriously sharp and deadly tools in his belt. With this sort of opulent prose, he just might cut his way to a bestseller list.