The Odd Throuple, Jess Whitecroft
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Tags: RomCom, Gay Romance, Genre Fiction, Disability Rep, Throuple, Middle-Aged MCs
Length: 324 Pages
Purchase At: amazon
When writer Jack loses his husband he knows he can always rely on his best friend Alex, even if Alex is on his third twentysomething girlfriend in as many months because he can’t cope with the gruesome prospect of turning forty.
It’s been a hard road, but a year later things are looking up – widowed Jack is just starting to think about moving on, and even Alex’s midlife crisis appears to be simmering down when he triumphantly announces that he’s finally dating a grown-up.
And then along comes David.
Sexy, adventurous, funny David makes Jack wonder if it might even be time to think about romance again, but David has some secrets of his own, not least that he’s already dating a newly out bisexual named Alex. Add a prosthetic leg, a doorstep moment of awkwardness, and a basement power cut, and soon the three are tangled up in enough coincidences and misunderstandings to give even the most hardened conspiracy theorist a headache.
Death, divorce, disability – life comes hard for the men in this unconventional romantic comedy of errors, absurdities, and things you should never ever do with an uncooked chicken.
When I received a review copy from the author, I had no idea of the blurb. I guessed there would be three guys in it. Throuple in the title gave that away. Go, me. However, I tend to love Jess Whitecroft’s books and her writing style so I jumped on it.
This is such a quirky book. Like, seriously. The Last Single Man in Texas is quirky, also one of Whitecroft’s best books, but this is next level quirky.
Jack, my favourite character of the book, is a straight shooter who likes to observe. He also knows how to help calm his best friend Alex down. Alex can pick some interesting partners and is prone to possessiveness. Alex understands Jack and his loss as well, his husband of twenty years died. Jack has feelings for Alex that have been kept on the downlow because Alex is ‘straight’. Yeah. Sure, Jan. Jack’s also a writer who has some severe procrastination after the big success of his last book, which everyone he knows, including himself, thinks is on the whiffy side. He wants to write sci-fi, something he used to enjoy with moderate success until Other Forms of Life came along, was a best seller, and secured an advance for the next book. But writer’s block trips up Strawberry Mountain to his Colorado cabin means more procrastination, and weed, just in a different location.
Alex is a crazy-magnet when it comes to romance. He likes younger, passionate women, yeah, we’ll go with passionate. He’s not straight, even if Jack believes he is because he’s always seen Alex with y o u n g e r women.
(…) but he’s a kindred catastrophe, and as such I’m always going to be carrying a tiny, futile flickering torch for him. He doesn’t date men. He doesn’t date grown-ups, and there’s no getting away from it – I’m well over forty and definitely a grown-up.
Alex is also an Egyptologist, one who can relate historical events and figures back to a star Jack will point out at night – which I thought was pretty cool. However, he also has a problem with giving the correct name of his current boyfriend to Jack, so when Alex turns up with a new guy on his arm and the wrong name attached to the new guy, because Jack already knows him, he doesn’t say anything about it as a) it feels too weird because he’s been talking to this guy for a little while, how do you mention that without strangeness? And, b) he would like to know WTF, Alex?
David is a pilot, flew in the USAF, who runs a glider school. He’s from money, and is avoidant in that ‘my family has money and we don’t speak about anything of substance’ kind of way. I have to say that waving your prosthetic limb at someone who bingles your car in a carpark when the cops turn up and pepper spray the place, mainly the other guy, it isn’t really the poster child for ‘together’. I also chuckled because he seems to have a prosthetic limb for all occasions, running, shorts, more upmarket events… waving it at people. Because I’m not weird at all, no, I kept thinking Mr Potato Head with all the different eyes you can get for him.
The disability rep in this book is nicely written. David battled injury and leg pain for sometime because he’d been an adrenaline junkie with no fucks to give and he eventually had to have his leg amputated. There is no maudlin stuff around this. It just is. He is fit, a runner, a pilot, a business owner. He definitely gets on with and into life. He has sex with no hang-ups. Jack also has significant problems with a leg, one full of hardware and pain, because of the car accident where his husband died. He’s still grieving that when he and David first cross paths at the local dog park where Jack takes his dog Heimlich and David runs, then at other places. They click but Jack is still processing Paul’s death. David doesn’t feel like he should encroach on that even though he likes Jack. So they kind of miss each other at the start. David doesn’t miss Alex though. Which sets the story up for the title to make sense of The Odd Throuple.
The three guys start spending more and more time together. Alex and David are passionate together, it’s all or nothing, par for the course, and Jack and David have some good conversations… and a few cray-cray incidents. I apologise for using cray-cray but it really is the best way to describe the moments. Like a hand up a raw chicken’s bum that is then used to hit someone else with. There’s talk about the JFK assassination and conspiracies, which, of course, leads to talk of the Cold War. There had been a collective of three before Paul died but David is moving into their middle-age, odd collective now. Jack and Alex hope that David’s dad, who was an intelligence operative for the CIA, would have mentioned goss about the assassination. Clearly he didn’t, although that doesn’t stop David from his two cents worth. Jack and Alex don’t give you much space to avoid their often live stream of consciousness discussion and ideas – including pretending or trying to forget that the Godfather Pt III was ever made. I personally feel that’s harsh, but I’m not in this particular odd throuple.
Pop culture is weaved throughout the story with references to past and current situations, including Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, MKUltra, the CIA’s level of operation shitfuckery, and Alex’s second wife Chloe’s not incorrect comparison to Australia’s own heinous scammer, Belle Gibson. Hey, we may have a small population but we can, sadly, contribute to SM chaos like larger population countries.
Yet again, Whitecroft writes a humorous, sometimes tender, sometimes crazy, always clever gay romancey book. However, this is more comedy genre fiction with a gay and kind of not stock standard poly relationship. There were three guys in the relationship, sure, but in a different way, until the end when it was a move toward a more conventional poly relationship. I mention this because it isn’t the mm genre’s idea of contemporary gay ménage. I wasn’t sure what outcome I wanted for these three, but I was here for whatever journey Whitecroft and these guys took me on. It was a damn fine one. I laughed. I laughed some more. I felt sadness, having lost people close to me. I understood the madness. I was happy. 5 Stars!