Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review by Jodi: Don't Trust the Cut by Kade Boehme

Title: Don't Trust the Cut
Author: Kade Boehme
Publisher: Loose Id <-- purchase link from publisher
Rating: 4.5/5 Smooches


            Tucker Gray is a BaltimoreMD waiter, hailing from the Deep South, whose mental health issues and past relationships have made it hard to trust more than the cut. After he hits what he thought was rock bottom Tucker decides to keep close to the ones who stood by him and keep his head down, until he finds something to prove it can get better.

Jesse Bauer is unsure what his future holds after an injury forces him to retire from the marines. With all of the decisions he has to make in his civilian life with all of its freedoms and possibilities, he feels staying closeted and keeping the people in his life happy will keep down the chaos.

Until the night he met Tucker Gray at a party he thought that’d be possible, but both of them are instantly and strongly in lust. As their relationship grows Jesse has to prove himself and Tucker has to learn to trust more than the cut.


Ernest Hemingway wrote, “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows, and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”

Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory of writing suggests that the reader has to look beyond what is showing on the surface. That is what Kade Boehme seems to be challenging the reader to do in his novel Don’t Trust the Cut.

This novel is an intense, rollercoaster of a story. These characters will cling to your psyche long after the last page is read. Boehme’s characters are well-developed, beautiful, troubled and credible. There is a sad note of realism that permeates this story. Don’t Trust the Cut is not a light hearted romance. This story teems with angst, turmoil and drama. The beautifully descriptive prose are well written. The tension in the story is alleviated with a large dose of humor.

Don’t Trust the Cut focuses on the inner turmoil of two characters, Tucker and Jesse, who are drawn together through an intense, electric connection. Electricity crackles when their eyes meet across a crowded room.

“The man [Tucker] slowly scanned the crowd, and when his honey-brown eyes landed on Jesse’s stare, Jesse couldn’t look away. Pow! Crack! Was all he could hear in his head as a flame started to ignite between them.”

Of course, this is very tip of the iceberg. This instant attraction, which threads its way through the book, starts an avalanche of an emotional rollercoaster for the characters and reader.

Tucker Gray is a dynamic, multifaceted character. Tucker is diagnosed as having bipolar disorder and his method of dealing with stress is drinking and cutting. His previous relationship was filled with domestic violence and ended with a violent attack and a suicide attempt. Tucker’s scars, from the mental illness and self-mutilation, embarrass him and make him feel weak.

On the surface, Jesse Bauer is the polar opposite of Tucker. Jesse appears to be strong and self-assured. He joined the marines at the age of 18 and planned to be a career military man. Jesse is forced to retire from the military after being injured in combat. His future is unclear. He has lived a life of following the rules and running away from his homosexuality. Between his mother’s deep religious views and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Jesse is an emotional mess. Just before Jesse thinks about telling his mother the truth, he is gutted by her words.

“She looked at him like he was foolish. “What’s a mother to think when her son has a woman like Miranda and keeps her dangling on a string for so long? She’s either raised an emotionless bastard or he’s gay. … I’d settle for emotionless bastard. Gay is such a jagged pill.’”

But Jesse is drawn to Tucker. The electricity between the two is palpable. Between Jesse’s mental anguish and Tucker’s self-depreciation, the rollercoaster continues to soar. Being in a relationship with a person who has a mental illness can be challenging. It is even more challenging to be in that relationship when you are unaware that the person has a mental illness. The inevitable crash is painful for everyone.

Tucker, Jessie and the female minor characters Allison and Miranda are all flawed and painfully realistic. Throughout the story Allison, Miranda and many of the other minor characters serve as catalysts for Tucker and Jesse’s relationship and mental states.

Boehme does a great job dragging the reader into the emotional turmoil of the characters. Boehme has an engaging writing style, although at times, the writing is a bit choppy. This style adds more realism to the story. If you are looking for a heart wrenching, contemporary m/m romance with lots of drama and angst, you need to read this book You may need to keep a box of tissues handy while reading.


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