Title: The Taste of Ink
Author Name & Publisher: Francis Gideon (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 11, 2016 – 200 pgs
Trevor Dunn has never gone to the Calgary Stampede, in spite of living in the city all his life. He would much rather listen to music and draw comics in his basement than hang out with a bunch of cowboys. When his sister drags him to the Stampede’s opening parade anyway, Trevor is drawn to a cowboy sporting a green hat.
Charlie opens Trevor’s mind to the world of country music and country boys. But then an old flame appears in the middle of the festival and Trevor is torn. He adores Charlie, but Mathieu—a punk singer turned acoustic crooner—was Trevor’s first love, and Trevor lost him by being too afraid to chase the dreams they shared.
When the Stampede ends, Charlie will go back to Toronto, Mathieu will go back on tour, and Trevor will go back to his basement. Realizing that’s not what he wants, Trevor enters a mechanical bull-riding contest in hopes of winning the heart of his true love—or maybe both of them. This time, fear won’t stop him from going after what he wants.
It’s not often I read a book and don’t quite know how it will turn out, or even how I want it to turn out after I’ve reached the halfway point. I loved this for its originality almost as much as I loved the scorching combination or music, art, rodeo and sex.
I was in love with Trevor, wary of Charlie and unsure of Mathieu for most of the story. Trevor, the aspiring graphic novelist with pale skin and ink stained fingers still living in his parents’ basement is an absolutely brilliant character. His first love, Mathieu, has traded punk for country, but he is still singing songs about Trevor. And Charlie – rich city boy from back East playing cowboy for a fortnight – the man is smokin’ hot – if a little controlling and a little bit creepy old man.
As much as this is the story of an unlikely ten day hook-up, it is also Trevor’s belated coming of age story. He has let parental expectations and experiences of failure and rejection limit his life. His first Stampede experience is the catalyst that gets him thinking and then fully participating in his own life.
The author’s descriptions of the Stampede made this Canadian abroad very homesick. The writer makes Calgary come to life with vivid depictions of its clash of urban sophisticates and country cowboys in a very modern, mostly liberal city.
So Trevor has never gone to Stampede, his sister convinces him to go and he meets Charlie, who basically turns out to be a sugar daddy. I felt no connection with Trevor and Charlie, NONE. Then Trevor sees his first love at a bar while he is with Charlie, then he starts to think about Mathieu. This whole books spans only 10-13 days and it is basically the same thing over and over again. What I don’t understand is how Trevor and Mathieu haven’t spoken for five years, run into each other a few times during the week and then when Trevor is hurt and in the hospital Charlie convinces Mathieu to have a threesome with him and Trevor. Ummm, what??? That just seemed so unlikely and even during the threesome I couldn’t feel any chemistry. At least the epilogue was good.
Francis Gideon is an editor and writer. He has appeared in Microscenes, Gay Flash Fiction, and JMS Books. He lives in Canada.