“The Blade Between” by Sam J. Miller— A Restless Gay Photographer

Miller, Sam J. “The Blade Between”, Ecco, 2020.

A Restless Gay Photographer

Amos Lassen

In Sam J. Miller’s “The Blade Between”, Ronan Szepessy returns where his father is ill. He swore that he would never return but and New York City has become a distraction and too much for him. Perhaps a quick visit will help him recharge. 

He reconnects with two friends from high school: Dom, his first love, and Dom’s wife, Attalah. The three are unhappy about what their town has become with gentrification and corporate interests. Friends and neighbors are being evicted and with a mayoral election coming up, Ronan and Attalah have a plan to upset the newcomers and expose their real motives. In doing so, they unleash mysterious and uncontainable feelings. 

The real estate developers aren’t the only forces threatening the well-being of Hudson. Ronan’s activities have overlapped with growing hate and violence among friends and neighbors. Everything is spiraling out of control and Ronan has to find the very best of himself to save the city that he once hated.

Ronan is selfish, damaged, and hateful. He doesn’t know why he is going home. This is a novel of ideas that don’t come together— “homophobia, open marriages, drug abuse, bullying, hidden history, suicide, health problems, police brutality, corruption, social change, online manipulation, race, poverty, anger, social services, and the complicated love/hate relationship of hometowns and family.” In other words issues of life as we know it. Then there is magic, horror, dreams, gods and ghosts.

What happens to Ronan is no surprise and there are other loose ends as well.  A lot of this story seems partially inspired by the author’s life  that I read in his biography on his website. 

Miller moves easily between fantasy and horror and the story is well written but…… I got lost several times and had to make myself keep reading.

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