Title: The Eskimo Slugger by Brad Boney
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 230 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author
It’s the summer of 1983, and Trent Days is Major League Baseball’s rookie sensation. Born in Alaska to an Inupiat mother, the press have dubbed him the Eskimo Slugger, but a midseason collision at home plate temporarily halts his meteoric rise to the top.
Sent back to Austin to recuperate, Trent visits his favorite record store, Inner Sanctum, where he meets amiable law student Brendan Baxter. A skip in the vinyl of New Order’s “Blue Monday” drives Trent back to Brendan, and their romance takes them into uncharted territory.
As Trent’s feelings move from casual to serious, he’s faced with an impossible dilemma. Does he abandon any hope of a future with Brendan and return to the shadows and secrets of professional sports? Or does he embrace the possibility of real love and leave baseball behind him forever? As he struggles with his decision, Trent embarks on a journey of self-discovery—to figure out who he really is and what matters most.
The Eskimo Slugger is an utterly captivating love story between a major league ballplayer and a law student that takes place over a ten day period in 1983. This sweet and sexy romance features two characters briefly mentioned in Brad Boney’s previous novel, The Return, but it can be read as a standalone.
A serendipitous meeting in a record store sets the stage for the surprising romance between Trent Days (aka The Eskimo Slugger) and Brendan Baxter. Although both men are in the their mid-twenties, neither has much sexual experience but they are quick to acknowledge their mutual attraction for one another. While they fall for one another fairly quickly, the romance between is believable and their sexual explorations are incredibly hot as their tentative fumblings soon give way to full blown, explicit lovemaking.
Trent and Brendan are wonderful protagonists and it is an absolute joy watching them fall in love. Trent might be a well-known and popular baseball player, but he is surprisingly down to earth. He enjoys playing the game, but he is a little uncomfortable with his fame. Brendan recognizes Trent immediately and he is a bit star struck for a couple of their initial meetings. But as they get to know one another, Brendan begins to appreciate Trent for who he is, not what he does for a living.
There is very little conflict between Trent and Brendan for much of the novel. But the closer it gets to Trent’s return to playing, reality rears its ugly head as they contemplate what is next for their relationship. Keeping their love a secret is unappealing, but is either of the men ready to come out of the closet? Is Trent prepared for the impact their relationship could have on his career?
As previously mentioned, The Eskimo Slugger is a standalone story, but characters from Brad Boney’s previous novels do make a few guest appearances. It is so much fun getting to know Grace and Bill Walsh a little better and while Stanton and Hutch’s visit is delightful, it is also bittersweet. A plot twist late in the novel is shocking but the novel’s ending brings all of the interconnected stories full circle.