Last week, I reviewed Frat House Troopers by Xavier Mayne and I couldn't wait to read Wrestling Demons, the second book in the Brandt and Donnelly Capers by Xavier Mayne. Last night, I finished Wrestling Demons, and though I expected a great and thought provoking read as I had with Frat House Troopers, I was surprised at how Wrestling Demons was even better. The wrestlers, Jonah and Casey, are more the stars of this book than Brandt and Donnelly, but it isn't long before you are as smitten with the 18 year old high school wrestlers as you are for Brandt and Donnelly
In Wrestling Demons, Jonah Fischer's high school wrestling career has been stellar, but now he's the unwilling star of a series of videos that have hit the web. The whole world may have seen the evidence that his best friend turns him on. Jonah's conservative family wants him cured, and his conventional town and school want him normal. The only person who still wants him just the way he is is Casey Melville, the same best friend who turned him on for all the world to see. Meanwhile, Casey begins to wonder if there's more to his feelings for Jonah than he thought.
Officers Brandt and Donnelly—lovers as well as partners on the job—have been assigned to find the culprit who posted the video. While investigating the case, they also help Jonah and Casey find their way through their feelings, and steer them toward refuge when Jonah's family turns against him. But the mystery remains: who wants to hurt Jonah badly enough to post those videos, and why? Thank goodness Jonah and Casey have found friends—they're going to need all the help and support they can get.
Xavier Mayne is well-versed in academic theories of sexual identity, and is passionate about writing stories in which men experience a love that pushes them beyond the boundaries they thought defined their sexuality. He believes that romance can be hot, funny, and sweet in equal measure. Once again, he proves this in Wrestling Demons. Mayne writes sex scenes they way they should be written in a book: organic so the sex play easily into the story and plays an integral part in the plot but not so overly done that the book becomes erotic fiction. To me, the sex scenes written by Mayne are more erotic and sexually charged than any book I've ever read, and they don't come across as silly hyperboles.
As my readers know, I am a religious person, and so in many ways this book hit home on so many levels because of the religious questions that are brought up. I don't want to give away too much of what happens in the book, but one of the characters attends a church that is very welcoming to everyone and is vastly different from the ultra-conservative church of his youth. Instead of the character turning his back on religion, he sees what religion can truly be, a welcoming and accepting journey. The struggles the character faces between the damning church of his youth and the welcoming church he finds, is a dichotomy that truly warmed my heart. Instead of a maybe doing as many gay authors do and wrote how the character rejected religion, it instead showed not only how wrong these hate filled churches are but also shows what is right when Christians show compassion and acceptance.
One of the reason I have so enjoyed reading Xavier Mayne's books is that not only is ere a great story, but also but their are deeper meaning and lessons contained within. Thank you Xavier Mayne for such a delightful read. I look forward to more capers from Brandt and Donnelly's case files.