This last book starts as a funny romp to go through a thriller story and end as a big Hollywood comedy; the middle part reminds me a bit that movie with Cary Grant, North by Northwest, with a simple man that finds himself in a story bigger than him and forced to play the role of an unwilling knight in shining armor. Well to be exact, Rory, our unwilling hero, at first is not so unaware that he is embarking in something big and unknown. From a small town of less than 1000 people, he falls in love with the work of a Japanese artist, Ran Yamane. People who knows him are not surprised: Rory has a big heart and is a very good boy, but he seems to not have the reputation of a very clever man. But he has dreams, and when Katrina upturns down his life and leaves him with nothing, Rory clings to that dreams: he will find Ran Yamane, the artist who draws a comic that is become Rory's only bond to reality, and he will sweep her away in a crazy dance under the moon and she will love him. And they will be happy.
And so when Ran Yamane comes to California for an anime convention, Rory takes all his worldly possession, spends his last money to buy flowers, and stays in line for dazzling the girl with his smile. Only that the girl is not a girl, but a man, a man older than Rory, and way more experienced and not so easily impressed. Yamane is beautiful, no doubt, but Rory is not ready to forget the little details that he is not gay, not even for an handsome man like Yamane.
I like that Rory, without being grossed out or disappointed about Yamane, doesn't either immediately falls at his feet. Rory has dreams, dreams about a girl, and he can't change them without notice when he discover that Yamane is a man; he needs time to assimilate the news and to reprogram his mind on this new turn. But even if he needs time to decide if he wants to go on with his romantic plans on Yamane, he has no doubt on the artist and the man: Yamane needs help, he needs a knight in shining armor, and Rory will be that knight, even if he will not immediately profit of the grace of the damsel in distress. Rory faces this new adventure as if he is playing with a new videogame; he plans his move, he hides his traces, and he for real sweeps Yamane away but not for dancing under the moon, but in a run through the country. As a good player, Rory has aces in the sleeves, means that he has friends scattered all around the country, everyone the face of the state in which they live, from the party girl in Las Vegas, to the mormon in Utah, to the cook in Louisiana, every single supporting character is like a piece in a country puzzle. And when he has not a friend in the place, Rory is ready to tighten new bond of friendship: no one seems able to resist to his southern charm. Neither Yamane.
Yamane is a strange character; at first he probably doesn't believe in Rory, he thinks he is an overgrown puppy, an adoring fan like all the others. And since he doesn't believe in him, he also doesn't believe in their story, and he doesn't fight enough for it. And when their relationship becomes intimate, he approaches it like a carpe diem thing, takes as much as you can since maybe tomorrow it will be over. Again Yamane doesn't trust Rory to be serious. I don't know if Yamane is worried since Rory is too young, too straight, a bit of both... Probably it's also a cultural clash, even if used to live in USA (he is also half American), Yamane is also Japanese, and Japanese man always follows a strict etiquette, in everything they do, and instead Rory is an outburst of energy, always in motion. And then Rory tends to do thing without informing Yamane, and this is not good since, even if he is not aware of it, doing so he is dismissing Yamane as a man and a partner. I really think that Rory is not aware of it, he is only young, and obviously used to having relationship with girls, and above all with southern girls. From what I know, southern girls are really good in making their men doing what the women want believing that it's what the men want to do; they don't talk but they are really good in directing behind the scene. And so Rory is not used to give explanations, but Yamane, on the other hand, is not good in reading between the lines. Even if small and apparently fragile, Yamane doesn't like to be treated as a woman, even if, truth be told, he likes to be the center of of attention.
All right, at this point you have understood that I can go on for thousand of words, always finding something new, some new side, some new perspective for the story. Not only the two main characters are complex and interesting, the book is also full of funny and various supporting characters, don't get me start with Rory's grandparents, or the various police officers, even the evil men have their "positive" side.
Amazon: Drawn Together
Amazon Kindle: Drawn Together
Cover Art by P.L. Nunn