Review: SUTPHIN BOULEVARD by Santino Hassell

Sutphin BoulevardSutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell

Dreamspinner Press GLBT

Very much an adult story – not just due to the sex, but because of the situations and themes. This is no sweet romance – Michael and Nunzio have been best buddies for most of their lives, , but an unexpected sexual encounter changes the dynamic of their friendship just as Michael’s family is falling apart under the burden of his alcoholic father who has come home after abandoning the family years before. The pressure creates problems for Michael at work – he teaches in an inner-city high school — and exacerbates his own issues. When his father dies of the illness created by the alcoholism, Michael goes into a death spiral that lands him in a rehab center, where he finally confronts his own alcoholism, and his own emotions.

I am not a big-city person, but this novel would have to be set in a big city and Hassell wears New York like it was tailored for him. Even the minor characters are unique individuals, and besides heaving a sigh of relief when Michael finally gets his act together, I found myself with a strong admiration for anybody teaching in the NYC school system.

Not a light read, but one I couldn’t put down.

Got to give this one an A … that is, 5 paws up.

Review provided by Ace Katzenbooks for the October 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.