Splinters - Thorny Sterling
I keep being caught off guard when an author or artist or musician shows that they possess talent in a different area of the arts. It shouldn’t surprise me anymore. Yet, it still does. I am often gobsmacked by the amount of talent a particular individual has. I have a friend who is an author, does amazing graphic stuff (I know that’s not the right word!) for his own book covers and blog banners. He writes songs: lyrics and music, then records those songs. So much talent packed into one soul! And it still surprises me when I come across it. I know a dozen talented authors right off the top of my head who are also incredible artists, or geniuses with yarn or amazing photographers.

That’s why this wonderful little book was such a pleasant surprise to me. I have been reading Thorny’s blog for years, so I know he knows how to tell a story well. But relating an incident in your life in a highly amusing or heartfelt way is different than creating characters from nothing and telling their story just as amusingly, heartfelt, warmly, sexily and as alive as a blog about your life.

I’ve known Thorny was writing a book. I have followed its progress with the rest of you. I have seen the photo that served as inspiration for Al and Duke’s story. I have watched Thorny’s creative process while he did the cover art for Splinters. I honestly didn’t expect much. I don’t mean to hurt anyone by that. There are a lot of people who think they can write a book and they really (!) can’t. That is so not the case with Thorny Sterling and Splinters.

The mystery part of the story, which plays second fiddle to the romance, is such an original concept. I felt completely torn by the person who was Allan’s tormentor. I could really understand why the person did what they did but was pissed that Al had been victimized.

If Al hadn’t been victimized, though, he never would have met Jazz (sorry, I mean Duke!). I don’t know Jazz, never seen him, but the way Thorny described Duke, the love I felt shimmering from the page, could only mean that Duke is a representation of Jazz. And we know Thorny has some unique wardrobe preferences which Al happens to share.
When I read how safe and warm and happy and loved Al felt when he was all wrapped up in his cowboy’s big hairy body, I could really feel those emotions with him. It made me a little envious in actuality. I wanted to be in those arms with that fur pressed against my back!! The way in which those feelings were made to feel so real indicates a level of talent that (again) surprised me. I think Thorny is an incredibly talented young man. I really want to read more of the things that go on in his brain.

As a reviewer, I have had mixed experiences with self-published books. Splinters is flawless. It is well written, mechanically perfect, terrifically edited. Most importantly, though, it is impassioned without being gushing. It is torrid without being sappy. It is red-hot without being graphic. It is eloquent but not overemotional. It is funny without being cartoonish. Mr. Sterling has hit all the right notes with this, his first book.

Yeah, there was almost insta-love, of which I’m not a huge fan. But I am a fan of Al and Duke. From the moment they laid eyes on each other, the air surrounding them was incandescent with passion and desire. I wanted insta-love for them. The author wrote their desire and need for each other so well that I couldn’t help but want to see it come to fruition. This is an outstanding start to what I hope will be a long and prolific career as an author. I heartily recommend Splinters to anyone who likes a good, old-fashioned love story.