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“Nothing can stay the same forever. We get in trouble in life when we think it can and will. Everything changes, or as King Solomon said in the Bible and The Byrds sang in the 60’s, to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. It’s not a particularly easy lesson to learn, or a fun one for that matter. I learned it the summer between high school and college, and my life would never be the same.”
Will's life is changing so quickly he can’t keep up. He's moving out of his parents' home for the first time, changing careers, making new friends, and falling in love with the person he least expected. In the process, he’s also learning a lot about himself. As if he doesn't have enough going on, his life-long best friend dies in what appears to be a drunken accident. But when Will receives a note hinting that it may not have been an accident after all, he finds that he can't rest until he knows the truth. With the help of Killian Kendall and his friends, Will begins an amateur investigation that will result in even more death. Will thought the biggest changes were behind him, but they had only just begun.
Reap the Whirlwind blends a coming-of-age story and gripping mystery with a powerful love story. It is the winner of two Gay Writers Guild awards.
I found my way out of the building and wandered into the back yard. The wooden bulkhead edging the river made a great seat. I had just about gotten myself under control when I felt someone come up behind me. I didn't have to look up to know it was Laura.
"Okay, that was appalling. What the hell was that all about?"
"I've had a bad day," I repeated softly.
"So you keep saying. Wanna tell me about it?"
"How 'bout you do it anyway." She sat down next to me and swung her long legs out over the water.
"Beth and I broke up today."
"So? You're always breaking up or getting back together. Call her tomorrow, and tell her you're sorry."
"It's not like that this time. She broke up with me."
"Oh... oh, my gosh."
"Yeah, I got the feeling it was pretty permanent this time."
"Will, I don't know how to say this tactfully..."
I snorted. "Since when have you been tactful?"
"Point made. Okay then, have it your way. Why are you so beat up about Beth dumping you for a change? You've dumped her enough times. You don't like being on the receiving end?"
"It's not that. Actually, I don't really care about Beth that much. She was comfortable, familiar... I mean we've been together for years... but..."
"A 'but' is never a good sign, sweetie, and there was always a 'but' with Beth."
"So what's really bothering you?"
"Something she said. She said that I always put you and her second."
"How did I get into this?"
"She said that I always put Joey first. Do you feel that way too?" I looked over at Laura for the first time. She was looking out over the river, the reflected light playing softly over her features. For a moment she didn't answer. When she began to talk, I had to lean in closer to catch what she was saying.
"You never knew this," she said. "I never told anyone really, but I've had a huge crush on you for the longest time."
I opened my mouth, but she shook her head before I could speak. "Let me finish. I used to get so hurt whenever I would call you to do something and the answer was always 'Joey and I are doing this' or 'Joey and I are doing that.' It was even worse when it was 'Joey and I might be doing this or that.' I wasn't even competition with a possibility. After awhile, I guess I just accepted the fact that Joey would always get top billing when it came to you, but I still wanted to be close to you, so I infiltrated your little club. We became the three musketeers, and we lived platonically ever after. All for one, right? As long as Joey was 'the one.' I got over you eventually. Now I wouldn't trade your friendship for anything. Gabe knows I exist. He treats me right, and I love him. But to answer your question, yeah, I do feel as if I always came second to Joey."
"Why...why didn't you ever say anything?"
"Like what? 'Hey, Will, I'm in love with you but you treat me like dirt?' 'Hey, Will, why is Joey so great? What's wrong with me?' 'Hey, Will, acknowledge that I exist, dammit?' What was I supposed to say?" She swiped angrily at the tears that were rolling down her cheeks. I had only seen Laura cry a few times as long as I had known her. It unnerved me worse than anything she had said.
"I'm sorry," I whispered, "I'm so sorry, Laura."
"It's ancient history," she said taking a deep breath. "I moved on. Like I said, Gabe is the greatest. I really do love him. Maybe I'm not as over you as I thought, but I am moving on."
We sat in silence for a few minutes.
"Did you know Joey and Shelley were dating?" I said at last.
Laura sighed. "He still comes first doesn't he?"
"I didn't... It's just..."
"It's okay. I should be used to it by now. Yeah, I knew."
"Why didn't he tell me?" I tried to keep the whine out of my voice, but I still came out sounding like a petulant five-year-old.
"Maybe because he knew this would happen."
"What do you mean?"
"Will, every time Joey has ever had a girlfriend, you've been jealous. You do nothing but pick them apart and criticize their every move. Maybe Joey wanted a little grace period with Shelley before you started in on her."
"I'm not jealous," I said defensively.
"Oh, please, then what was that whole scene up there?"
"I was just surprised. I mean, you saw the way she was all over him. 'Joe has told me all about you,'" I mocked.
"See, there you go."
I opened my mouth to argue, but Laura hurried on, "Look, Will, I have a very serious question I need to ask you. I want you to be honest with me. Please, I've never asked anything of you. And I don't want you to answer until you can give me a one hundred percent sure answer."
"Of course, Laura," I said indignantly, "You know I would never lie to you."
"Not on purpose, maybe."
"What's that mean?"
"Never mind. Here's my question." She took a deep breath. "Are you in love with Joey? I mean romantically - 'in love' in love. Because if you are, you need to face it and deal with it and figure out what it means. You can't just keep on hurting everyone around you. You know I'll always love you no matter what."
"Are you...are you asking if I'm gay?" I asked in amazement.
"Will?" We both turned toward the voice. It was Joey up by the parking lot. "Hey, Will? Laura? Are you guys out here?"
"We're down by the water," Laura called back. She turned back to me, reached out, and touched my cheek for just the briefest moment. I almost didn't feel it. "Think about what I said, and remember I love you."
She jumped up and ducked into the shadows as Joey approached.
"I, uh, didn't interrupt anything, did I?" he asked.
"No, we were finished," I said slowly.
"So, uh... What did you think of the apartment?"
"It was great - airy and light with a great sense of the original integrity of the building. Great color schemes and tastefully decorated. Everything a guy could want," I said sarcastically. "Why'd you come here, Joey? It wasn't to talk about the apartment. Or are you that eager to foist me off on Aidan?"
"Will, it's not like that, and you know it. Shelley thought I should go see..."
"And when were you going to tell me about her? Was I going to be invited to the wedding?"
"We've only been dating two weeks! I was going to tell you tonight. I told you there was someone I wanted you to meet. Do you think I'd be that stupid as to invite you to a party she was going to be at if I wasn't going to tell you about her? I would have told you sooner but…I guess I needed some time with her just to myself first."
I looked out across the river. "We're growing apart," I said softly. "Laura and Gabe, you and Shelley... me with nobody."
"We're not growing apart, we're growing up. You're my best friend, Will, and you'll always be my best friend. Nothing will ever change that. But we're not fourteen anymore. We can't spend all our lives together. We're all going to have families and careers. It can't be just the three of us forever."
"I don't want things to change."
"Everything changes. If you don't change, then you're dead. Make the most of it. Now that Beth is out of the picture, date new people. Try some new things. Get out there and live. You can start by moving in with Aidan. He's a great guy; you won't find a better roommate. I think it would be good for you to be more independent."
I sat for a few minutes thinking about everything that had happened today, especially what Joey had just said. Finally, I stood up, dusted the dirt off my bottom, and started for the building.
"Where're you going?" Joey asked, trotting to catch up.
"To see if that roommate position has been filled."
Thriller, suspense, murder and romance. From moments of comedic delight to times of absolute tragedy. Josh Aterovis has his reader experience it all.
There are plenty of dead bodies, plenty of suspects. It was fun to guess along the way who the killer would be. Josh throws in just the right number of red herrings to keep us guessing.
A romantic at heart, my favourite scenes were with Will (the narrator) and his unrequited love for his best friend, Joey. Then along comes Aidan and things really begin to happen, in more ways than one.
From Just About Write
With Reap the Whirlwind, Josh Aterovis continues his Killian Kendall series, and his award-collecting ways. His first novel, Bleeding Hearts, won the Whodunit Award from the Stonewall Society, and not to be outdone, Reap the Whirlwind has claimed two Gay Writers Guild awards.
The story follows Will Keegan, a young man caught in conflicting emotions as he realizes he’s in love with Joey Taylor, his best friend. Complicated by the fact that Joey is straight, the situation becomes even more traumatic when Joey drowns in a pool at a party.
Will believes the drowning is suspicious and an anonymous letter sent to him increases his certainty. With support from his new roommate, Aidan Scott, he determines to convince the police that Joey was murdered. Aidan enlists his cousin, Killian Kendall, in the quest, and "the chase is on."
Aterovis has produced another singularly strong portrayal of the particular difficulties facing gay people in their efforts to blend into society and, yes, even into their own families. Included within this engrossing depiction is the search for the killer, the solving of the murder, Will Keegan’s hunt for his own place in the world, and his stunning insistence on taking over a responsibility left by his friend Joey’s death. The ending is a shocker.
Will Keegan’s story is told with dignity and respect; Reap the Whirlwind warrants the special notice it has received.
From Midwest Book Review
This rollercoaster ride of a book branches out from author Aterovis’s 2002 debut novel, Bleeding Hearts. Like the main character in the earlier book, Reap The Whirlwind’s Will Keegan is a teenager whose life is turned upside down when he discovers he is gay. He is in no way prepared for the upheaval in store for him. He comes to understand that the person he’s been in love with is hatefully homophobic. His father turns from him. Someone dear to him dies in a mysterious drunken accident. Will nearly dies, too. If that’s not enough stress for one person, he meets someone special and is hardly able to discern that the young man is perfect for him.
Once Will gets his life into a precarious balance, he is able to see that the death of his friend is no accident even though the police have ruled it so. He and several friends (including Killian Kendall from the earlier novel) launch an amateur investigation which has dreadful results. There’s another murder, then another, and no way of determining why. Who will be next?
Aterovis does an admirable job of showing the wild confusion and frequently uncontrollable emotions of young people as they attempt to understand their lives and make their way into adulthood. This book, essentially a very serious story, has occasional flashes of humor. My favorite line: “Oh my God, Martha Stewart died and left us all her shit.” The interplay between the young men and women, both straight and gay, feels accurate and alive. Above all, the message is clear that love and acceptance of self and others is critical, especially for young adults. Highly recommended for readers from high school on up.
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Reader Reviews for "Reap the Whirlwind"
|Reviewed by Chrissy McVay
|Congratulations on your accomplishment. Great review from Midwest Book Review!|