Monday, October 3, 2011

The One That Counts by Chrissy Munder

TITLE: The One That Counts
AUTHOR: Chrissy Munder
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 8.7k)
GENRE: Gay contemporary erotic romance
COST: $2.99

After his father’s death, Rob returns to the town where he grew up with his partner to see the family business one last time. While there, he reminisces about his first time, an experience he’s never shared before…

I’ve heard good things about Chrissy Munder, but nothing has ever really jumped out at me to try except this short. I’ve had it for a while, but after reading a different Dreamspinner book that just left me too frustrated to properly review, I needed something short if I wanted to get anything at all posted today. So I finally got around to reading this, and while I’m not convinced she’s worth autobuying, it was definitely a pleasant read.

Rob’s father has recently died, leaving behind the family business, a Laundromat, to him and his sister. He goes to see it one last time, and when his partner David surprises him with a key to get in, they enter. He’s immediately assaulted with memories, so as the conversation shifts along, he decides to share the story of his first time. It took place the summer after his first year in college, after his mother had a heart attack but before she passed along. He was working at the Laundromat part-time and already feeling the pressure about being different than he was in high school. The current object of his fascination is a stranger who keeps coming in. Eventually, Rob gets his chance to learn more about him.

While uncomplicated, there’s a certain quaint charm about this short story that turns it from something sweet but forgettable into something a little bit more. The prose is a small step above the norm, albeit a bit romanticized, with descriptions that help bring the Laundromat to life. The men are painted well, too, and I especially appreciated that they seemed more like real physical types rather than romantic heroes. Since the story is told primarily from Rob’s POV, he benefits the most in terms of characterization. His nineteen-year-old self is refreshingly awkward and earnest without being grating, and honestly, more interesting than his current incarnation. David doesn’t stand out as much, but the last chapter told from his perspective helps to round him out a little bit, again with making character choices that veer more toward realistic than romanticized.

I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to go and read this author’s backlist, but having a pleasant experience this first time out of the gate certainly helps when I consider future releases.


8/10 – Rather charming in its descriptions, with easy, natural dialogue

Hero #1

7/10 – I loved his flashback self, so real and awkward

Hero #2

6/10 – Doesn’t jump out as much as Rob, but the last portion from his POV helps tremendously

Entertainment value

7/10 – A charming, easy story with a ring of authenticity

World building

7/10 – The Laundromat jumped out, but I wasn’t aware that it took place in Michigan until the end when the reference to the UP took me by surprise



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