Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Chase In Shadow by Amy Lane

Guest Review by Buggy
Chase in Shadow ( Johnnies #1) by Amy Lane
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 320pgs
Rating: 5/5

Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future.

Nobody knows the real Chase.

Chase Summers has a razor blade to his wrist and the smell of his lover’s goodbye clinging to his skin. He has a door in his heart so frightening he’d rather die than open it, and the lies he’s used to block it shut are thinning with every forbidden touch. Chase has spent his entire life unraveling, and his decision to set his sexuality free in secret has only torn his mind apart faster.

Chase has one chance for true love and salvation. He may have met Tommy Halloran in the world of gay-for-pay—where the number of lovers doesn’t matter as long as the come-shot’s good—but if he wants the healing that Tommy’s love has to offer, he’ll need the courage to leave the shadows for the sunlight. That may be too much to ask from a man who’s spent his entire life hiding his true self. Chase knows all too well that the only things thriving in a heart’s darkness are the bitter personal demons that love to watch us bleed.

Wow, what an intensely emotional, draining, yet ultimately amazing read. My first from author Amy Lane but not my last for sure, however it may take a while before I’m up to facing this sort of angst again. Yeah Chase In Shadow is heartbreaking and beautiful and damaged and gorgeous and just such a freaking hot mess, I won’t be forgetting him for a long time to come.

As much as I came to love this story I should tell you though that I had a hell of a time getting into it, and quite honestly almost gave up more than once. My initial problem was sorting out the huge cast of characters, most of whom had two names (which wasn’t explained right away) Chase is also Chance, his love interest is Tommy or Tango then we have childhood friends, porn industry friends, directors, fiancées, it took me ages to figure who was who. Compile that with a very unique style of writing that jumps from past to present with real events, dreamed events, desired events and directors cut type filmed events. The dialogue also takes some getting used to because in almost every circumstance Chase includes a “wished” internal response to what he actually says.

“Is there something wrong?" Donnie asked, like he was afraid of the answer.

I fell in love with a guy I met on a gay-for-pay porn set, and he cheated on me when we weren’t really a couple, because I had to leave him for my girlfriend

“Mercy had my dad over last night. It…it didn’t go real fuckin’ well.”

At some point though everything just clicked for me and fell in love with both the story and the uniqueness of the writing. Add to that one of the most emotionally damaged, frustrating, contradictory characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, a heartbreaking romance including love scenes that defy a hotness category and well, Amy Lane‘s got herself a new fan-girl.

Chase “Chance” Summers has it all….from the outside He’s young, popular, good looking and athletic with a beautiful fiancée and supportive friends. Which is just how he planned it. In between studying for his engineering degree, playing baseball and saving for a house Chase has also managed to hide an abusive, messed up childhood behind the red door (in his mind) -which, throughout the course of the book slowly gets opened. His farce of a life seems to going along just fine until he adds one more lie to his already toppling house of cards. Telling himself that it’s for the money and that he’s straight, I mean he’s got a fiancée right? Chase decides to try out the gay porn industry.

Entering “Johnnies” is a revelation because for the first time in his life Chase “Chance” feels free. In fact when he’s with another man he’s flying, but the house of cards is starting to sway. Keeping his alternate life from his girlfriend is almost too easy, which of course just makes him feel like a dick but then again he can hardly contain himself once he starts thinking about who and what he’s going to be doing during the next shoot.

Enter Tommy “Tango” Hallaron, fellow porn actor and the one Chase has been inadvertently waiting for his entire life. They fall fast and hard and Chase’s life trisects, and the house of cards shakes a bit more. His abusive father, his mother’s suicide, his porn life, his straight friends, the fact that he’s really gay, the cheating on both Mercy and Tommy. Secrets upon secrets upon secrets, something’s got to give. Throughout the utter chaos of Chase’s perfect life he hates what he’s doing to those he loves but can’t stop, can’t change and he hates himself more and the house of cards falls and the red door opens.

As you’ve assumed this story goes to some very dark places, I mean on page one he’s attempting suicide so you know you’re in for a roller coaster ride. But I never really expected the level of grief, torment and self abuse that we get to see here. Towards the end there’s a huge surprise (that I didn’t see coming) and it helps in what (Thank God) is a well, well earned HEA.

5 Pants Off


  1. Hey Buggy, yes, yes and hell yes. You must read Amy Lane's "Keeping Promise Rock". It will rip your guts out but in a a good way ;) Amy Lane has assured me that she's also written some "lighter" books but I'm not sure I completely believe her, LOL.

    1. I have Keeping Promise Rock, bought it awhile back, but it sounds tough real tough.

    2. Give it a read already. I don't think you'll regret it.

  2. I am wary as hell about reading Amy Lane but I know she's fantastic. Buggy's review have me anticipating Chase, and now I can prepare myself.

  3. Hey Barksless :) I am adding to
    As much as I like the tortured heros and loves me some angst this was a whole new level of pain so it may take a while until I'm ready. Oh, but damn the writing is so good. It will probably be sooner then later. Thanks for the rec.

    1. If you loved Chase I can almost guarantee you'll love Keeping Promises Rock.

  4. My friend D, Hows the long weekend going? Hope you're feeling better. I can't wait for you to read this so we can compare scars :)

    1. It was alright, didn't really do anything. Stayed in and watched Supernatural took the boys to the park. Just another day. What did you get up to? I am feeling much better, meds worked like a charm.

  5. I love anything Amy Lane writes. A few of her lighter reads are The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters, Bewitched by Bella's Brother, and If I Must.

    To be honest, I like the stories with angst. No one does it better than Amy. Chase is one tortured soul, too. I hear she is writing a story about Dex and Kane(from Chase in Shadow) called Dex in Blue. I can't wait!

    I have to agree with Barkless. Keeping Promise Rock is awesome but it was emotionally draining at times. All the books in that series are to some degree, but that one really stuck with me for days. It is still one of my favorites.

    Great review Buggy!

    1. That's exciting news. I just know Dex and Kane have some deep, dark issues and I can't wait to read them!


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