Book Reviews

Slow Pitch by Amy Lane at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 19-May-2020

Book Blurb

Tenner Gibson has a job he enjoys, a prickly ex-wife, and an adorable daughter he wouldn’t trade for the world. With no romance, no sex life, and no other hobbies, a rec league softball team is as close as he gets to hedonism.


But life throws him a curveball when cocky Ross McTierney sets his sights on getting under Tenner’s skin.


One explosion of lust later, Tenner wonders what possessed him to have a quickie with Ross, and Ross wonders how to do it again.


Tenner has eight weeks to convince his tiny modern family that Ross is what’s best for him.  Ross has eight weeks to get used to the idea that complicated doesn’t always mean bad. Their sex life is moving at the speed of light, and everything in their relationship is coming at them too fast….


But together, they might make a connection and knock it out of the park.


Book Review

First, a necessary confession: I have read almost three dozen books by Amy Lane, all of which I began with a preternatural prejudice in expectation of pleasure. Having finished ‘Slow Pitch’, once again I can say that I am not disappointed! This is a story for and about adults. Without forsaking reality, it gloriously depicts grownups’ sex, but sex is not their raison d’être: love is!


The blurb, above, nicely outlines to novel’s structure. But you need to read it to appreciate its flow. It starts with a lust-filled, convenient and dirty tryst. Midway through, the heroes graduate to more familiar, detailed sexual couplings. And by the end – well, if you are addicted as am I to sentiment, you had better learn to read through happy tears.


All the characters of ‘Slow Pitch’ are real – people you might know in your own lives. Tenner has taken some wrong steps, but lives so as not to disappoint those he loves. (Tenner’s main source for relieving his physical loneliness seems to be the private use of “a fine assortment of medically safe novelty items with the appropriate washable lubricant.”) Ross is a genuine 21st century hero, devoted to important good works and purifying the environment. He’s a rarity: an apparently selfless good guy.


Tenner and Ross meet while participating in a neighborhood adult softball league. They seem to live by one of Gay Life’s golden rules: first, have sex almost immediately after becoming acquaintances – then, get to know each other, to see if perhaps you actually like each other. Despite presenting adult characters and a somewhat fresh approach to gay fiction, even Ms. Lane, not to disappoint her sordid readers, is drawn to employing some standard tropes of gay lit. (“Oh wow this guy was prime.  Erect, dripping, thick… He had to use two hands to wrap around it… ‘F**king monster,’ he breathed. ‘Gorgeous c**k.’) Who dares to write of a gay romantic hero is has a wee willie? Another trope – too silly to be acceptable, is the vapid acceptance by one character of the other’s casual assertion of his viral “innocence.” Sure!


How clever to promptly start ‘Slow Pitch’ with delicious coitus, but to follow immediately with problematic steps towards a genuine relationship. (“A disaster, [Tenner] repeated to himself. Hard-fucking, tender kissing, sweet-touching considerate and amazing disaster.”


The secondary characters are fully drawn and engaging – the ex-wife, the young daughter, the friends who sometimes substitute for a bright Greek chorus. Even Tenner’s ultra conservative parents, who are used as touchstone villains – but maybe not beyond the possibility of some redemption. In the 1950s, in South Pacific, Oscar Hammerstein said it well: “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.” So, using these throwback parents, Ms. Lane explicates that “…this was how prejudice in all its forms would eventually be conquered by people working really hard to forget everything they’d been programmed to believe. It didn’t come easy. Children had to learn to hate – adults had to learn to let go of it.”

Ms. Lane, well-practiced, keeps the plot interesting and moving apace. She also can turn a fabulous phrase (and I use that adjective with all its gay baggage: “Dildos were not great kissers.  Lubricant was hard on the lips.” Another example: “Your safe words are stop, no, ouch, and I don’t like that, okay?”)


Thank you, Ms. Lane, for a wonderful read.




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


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 194 pages/64817 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 19-May-2020
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
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