Christmas is a time for giving - what do you do when no one gives a damn? For Zachary Weston Christmas means sleeping on a churchyard bench in the freezing snow with nothing better in his future. Thrown out of his home for being gay, he is left without money or, it seems, anywhere to go. Until a stranger shows him that some people do give a lot more than a damn. Ben Hamilton is a rookie cop in his small home town. He finds a young throwaway, fresh from the city, sleeping on a bench in the churchyard on a snowy Christmas Eve. Can he be the one to give Zachary his own Christmas miracle?
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- A. N.
I wish I could throw away this one
Another RJ Scott, narrated by Sean Crisden that I tried again and disliked probably more than the first time around.
Sean Crisden simply has no knack for voicing more than one character in addition to his narrator voice, and, what's worse, he rushes through sex scenes and makes me lose all interest in them. I don't know if it's because they're badly written and he wants to be done with it, or because he simply doesn't enjoy it. The end result is that I don't enjoy listening to them either and considering that RJ Scott made a point of adding a whole unnecessary sex marathon to the end of the book, that's a disappointment.
Which brings me to RJ Scott's writing. The author paints a simplified, overly romantic version of what it's like to be poor and live on the street. The The young main character is bullied into a "new and better life" by the older main character, to the point where he's being blackmailed into staying with the man's family, and occasionally physical force is being used against him "for his own good" despite the runaway having a history of physical abuse at the hands of his father, which if not admitted out loud in the beginning, is at least obvious in the way he behaves and shies away from physical touch and/or strong/large men - especially when they get angry.
Despite all of that (or maybe because of it?), the character - who starts out as a minor but conveniently turns 18 a few chapters into the story - fixates on his "saviour" within days of meeting him, and is clearly attracted to him. The reverse is true for the saviour who, at least, keeps his hands to himself until the boy is well over 18. Still, I can't help but think Stockholm Syndrome or Hero Worship and it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
I'd advise anyone who isn't a die-hard RJ Scott or Sean Crisden fan to steer well clear of this audiobook/story. It romanticises and simplifies ways out of poverty and homelessness and depicts a less than healthy relationship with an unequal power balance.