The mood of all of them is different from a "normal" situation, there is not the adrenaline to be in danger. They are waiting to leave the quiet sea town where they were standing for the last 9 months and Grady and Ramirez are happy to go back to their lives. But for Riley is not the same; he has noticed that Nolan is strange, that living near the sea gave him a strange mood; leaving this place for Nolan is both a good thing and the worst event ever, near the sea he has let out something of himself. And Riley was there to catch that info and store it.
When the story start, there are three men, Grady, Ramirez and Riley, talking. Apparently between them and Nolan there is only a professional entanglement, and nothing else. Then they start to remember: the first event is a work related fact, and something that strengthens the idea that Nolan is somewhat aloof and estranged from his colleagues, as it is also proved by the fact that he is not there with them.
Then with the second walk on the memory lane, something changes, Nolan is somewhat more human, and Riley has suddenly a more personal interest in him. And so the worry that the present Riley is feeling towards the absence of his boss is more comprehensible; maybe also the reader is starting to wonder if maybe it is not happened something of tragic, if the reader and Riley himself have not to go searching for the man he loves... yes, since now it's clear that Riley loves Nolan, but it's not still clear if the feeling is mutual.
And finally, with the last memory, also Nolan comes out, his feelings and his mourning, and maybe also the reason why he is so upset to leave a place that only cause him pain. With the finally memory the circle is closed and the story is ready to start again, this time in present time and with a path no more shadowed by painful memories.
I like a lot the development of the plot, all was already decided, the characters already have set their mind, and the reader was letting inside them little step by little step. The mood and interactions between them clearly changed memory by memory, and in only 70 pages we read of all the spectrum of their feelings. What I liked maybe most of all, is that the novella was more intimate and warm of what I was expecting; the "secret agent" side of the story is in the background, and there are no firestorm to distract the reader from the main core, the two men and their love.
Amazon Kindle: Footprints
Cover Art by Dan Skinner