Having finally woken up from a semi-comatose state 14 months after Jonty's psychopathic wannabe boyfriend pushed him off a ladder, Tay is anxious to get his life back, on his own terms. He decides to move to London, away from the memories of Northumberland which include the realization that Jonty was more to him than just a best mate. But Tay doesn't yet have enough mobility to be completely independent, so his parents insist he get a live-in helper. Ink has lived on the streets for a few years. He doesn't stay in one place for too long, for fear his past will catch up with him. When he sees Tay around the neighborhood he's been busking in, Ink sees a sad young man that could maybe help him with a problem he's picked up, namely a dog, that might cheer up Tay's life. He ends up giving, and getting, a lot more help than either man imagined.
This sequel to The Making of Jonty Bloom picks up just before where the previous book left off. Although we know of Tay from that book, he was never more than someone Jonty talked to without getting any response, except in Jonty's imagination. Even before we get to know him in this book, it's pretty obvious that he's the level-headed one in the relationship with Jonty. But Tay isn't without a sense of humor. He'd have to have a pretty good one to put up with Jonty.
Tay is clearly frustrated by the slow pace of his recovery. In many respects, his injuries and recovery put me in mind of the Missing Pieces series that I'm currently reading. The characters and their stories are very different, but at the center is still a young man struggling to come back from serious injuries. Tay is very likable, even when he's being a bit of an idiot.
Ink is a bit more complicated of a character. It takes a while for his full story to come out, but you'll probably guess the gist of it before he has to relate the complete sad history to Tay. Like many romance characters, in some ways Ink is a little too good to be true. Like Jonty, it's hard to believe that someone could go through what Ink has had to endure and still be a good person.
This book doesn't have the humor of the first book, but then Tay definitely isn't Jonty. There's still some funny exchanges between Tay and Ink, but it's fair to say this is a much more serious story, with some even more big dramatic turns that the previous volume. I have to say, though, that I didn't see the biggest twist coming. Without revealing too much, it's an almost over-the-top soap opera worthy turn of events, but it's handled quite well and is definitely believable once it completely unfolds.
“A Long Way Back” is available from Amazon.