Etienne. “Trial: A Buckhead Tale”, Dreamspinner Press, 2012.
Hiding in Plain Sight
I am a great fan of Etienne and am so glad that he is starting a new trilogy. This is Book One in his “Appearances Trilogy” and take it from me; we are in for “some good reading”.
Here we meet Charles Barnett, an attorney who has reached the conclusion that the changes of finding love are over for him. His partner died some three years ago and Barnett has not been attracted to another man during that time. However, he gets a surprise when he receives a new assignment and a new client. Philip d’ Autremont (gay writers always choose such interesting names for their characters unlike what is said in “Steel Magnolias”), a recent widower and the two men have been in the same social circles but have never noticed each other. And what could happen better than that they fall for each other? Up to now everything seems too good to be true and indeed it is.
There are problems—Philip is on trial for murder and the district attorney is virulently homophobic as well as politically ambitious. He had made his mind up to convict Phillip while Charles must labor to defend him. I love the way the story shifts from client/attorney to two men who are totally attracted to each other.
Here is a novel that fits into several genres—it is a love story, a mystery and a romance and while this is not the best thing that Etienne has written, I particularly like being able to see what the characters were thinking. I also enjoyed that he chose to write about the “older” men and show that they too are capable of love and romance.
I read some of the reviews and was surprised how many people were quick to say they could not follow the plot and the characters were cardboard. To them, I say read it again, this time with an open mind. Sometimes (Sometimes?) I feel there is ageism in the LGBT community and those responsible forget that one day… Perhaps they did not like it because there was no hot sex but I say the story does not need sex. Here we are looking at love and doing so with style and elegance.
If you are familiar with Etienne’s Avondale Series, you will recognize Phillip and Charles and I love the way that Etienne tells us just enough about them so that we know who they are but by and large we do not get to now a great deal about them. Knowing too much about someone colors the way we react to them so I am grateful that we know just what we are given. Set in Atlanta, Etienne gives wonderful description of the city and if you have ever been there, you will recognize a lot.
Even though the men fell in love at first sight, their romance is treated as a love story which makes the story all the more creditable and I am anxiously awaiting the next two books.