Book Reviews

Jordi's Day: A Gay Tale of Intrigue, Fantasy & Love in Barcelona by Patrick Doyle

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 13-November-2020

Book Blurb

Bill moves to Barcelona to start over. Once there, he falls in love with the city and with one of its hunky citizens. But his past catches up with him. Then there's a murder and he's the prime suspect. What follows is a story of mystery, history, seduction, and a lot of manipulation and lies. Along the way Bill will be confronted with some hard truths about family, love, and about himself. But Barcelona has seen it all before and knows how to take care of those it loves.

 

Book Review

This is my second reviewer/reviewee “date” with author Patrick Doyle, and it still remains an open question whether we will ultimately find an intimate chemistry, or, perhaps, if the occasion merely will be a kind learning experience (accompanied, as Mr. Doyle noted to me after my last review) with a scalpel in hand! Coitus or criticism – let’s see!

 

First, ‘Jordi’s Day’, set in Barcelona, is essentially a mystery tale, with a heavy touch of Gothic. Many authors quickly establish an appropriate milieu - sometimes done with weather: “It was a dark and stormy night…”; sometimes with mood: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”; and, chutzpah and enormity ignored “In the beginning was the Word…”.  Mr. Doyle also knows how to set a scene: “The dark narrow stairs curved sharply at the right. Deep slits in the mottled rock admitted just enough light for them to see one step ahead.”

 

Next, we are introduced to place and people. First a plus – Barcelona works nicely as a distinctive location, with a language that is not quite our familiar Spanish, and its famous, idiosyncratic architecture, influenced by Gaudi’s  La Sagrada Familia, totally sui generis.* The negative is Mr. Doyle’s insistence on repeated references, in Catalan, to streets, plazas, and locations, as though they might aid the reader in appreciating the physicality of Barcelona. In fact, for most of us, very few will create only confusion.

 

As for characters, American expat Bill, now teaching in Spain, is an escapee from a failed relationship (and, probably, boredom).  His visiting mother, politely, may be characterized as annoying – stretching her three weeks visit into a lasting endurance contest, well accompanied by her arthritis, problem bowels, and occasional need for bed rest recovery. This maternal paradigm is quite familiar (in the sense a witch may have a familiar!) in the literary works of all cultures - and so many families. Bill’s family also includes an overly righteous older brother and an uncle, Clyde, for whom right-wing euphemistically covers anti-immigrant, -welfare, and -queers.  (This also is not a stranger to many of our families!) Yet, an odd subtextual theorem of ‘Jordi’s Day’ is how we grow because of and despite family.

 

As more secondary characters are developed and language is sharpened, a Gothic-like mystery grows around them, much as mold in a damp corner – becoming more noticeable with skilled authorial finesse.  The requisite foreshadowing will not be overlooked. “With a hush, the velvet drapes, as softy as flesh and as grey as metal, fell across the window, …” It’s a mystery, so further details are a reward only for the reader!

 

Now – here comes the review. Mr. Doyle is a young writer, and if you invest your time in his work, you will likely be (a) satisfied with that investment, and (b) eventually bragging you knew his oeuvre from the start. His plot is clever – almost too clever. He frequently turns phrases into much wonderful fun to digest. He also maintains a sense of humor? the preposterous? Your pick! While keeping the suspense of the plot under wraps, the author’s climactic manic presentation would just as well suit a Marx Brothers movie – which is high praise from me!   

 

An old Alka Seltzer TM ad used to proclaim – “Try it! You’ll like it.”  Same here, and you don’t even need to have indigestion!

              

 

* Note:  While this reviewer’s personal familiarity with Barcelona is tourist-limited, author Doyle so perfectly describes Gaudi’s church as a “fusion of hallucinogenic imagination and engineer prowess transcend(ing) idiosyncratic fetish by its mere scale”.  It’s presence, in person and in this novel, becomes an iconic reality to the place.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

 

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 137 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 25-May-2020
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/Jordis-Day-Intrigue-Fantasy-Barcelona-ebook/dp/B0874SGPZR