Book Reviews

Half a Cowboy by Andrew Grey at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Cowboys / Romance
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 15-February-2021

Book Blurb

Ever since his discharge from the military, injured veteran Ashton Covert has been running his family ranch—and running himself into the ground to prove he still can.


Ben Malton knows about running too. When he takes refuge in Ashton’s barn after an accident in a Wyoming blizzard, he’s thinking only of survival and escaping his abusive criminal ex, Dallas.


Ashton has never met a responsibility he wouldn’t try to shoulder. When he finds Ben half-frozen, he takes it upon himself to help. But deadly trouble follows Ben wherever he goes. He needs to continue on, except it may already be too late.


Working together brings Ben and Ashton close, kindling fires not even the Wyoming winter can douse. Something about Ben makes Ashton feel whole again. But before they can ride into the sunset together, they need to put an end to Dallas’s threats. Ben can make a stand, with Ashton’s help—only it turns out the real danger could be much closer to home.


Book Review

Vanilla is one of America’s favorite flavors - still an excellent choice to satisfy a late-night need for simple comfort and satisfaction. Much the same might be said for ‘Half a Cowboy’, a pleasant and quiet literary comestible from prolific author Andrew Grey. He has produced an easy and engaging story which, by its conclusion, has justified the reader’s engagement. Mr. Grey skillfully couples “grab you by the balls” atmospherics [such as opening with: “Ben was cold – actually, way past cold. His feet and legs had once been like ice, but now felt nothing except fear . . . both ahead and behind him.”], and so we are locked in! The main characters, Ashton and Ben, are each patently damaged in their respective ways. The plot’s dual challenges and attendant tensions are well-constructed and brightly cross each other. And when the sexual relations are eventually put to page, they are artfully vanilla as to not shock any maiden aunt (except, perhaps, for those squeaky sounds she makes when she crosses her legs?).


The dramatic opening – somewhat offset by the blurb, launches us into adventure. Ben is on the run from a psychotic criminal, for whom he has been a plaything. Ashton, physically injured, struggles with a series of ranch “accidents” which are likely attributable to his aggressive neighbor – yet he still has almost instant insight and empathy for Ben. Mr. Grey has such talent in using language, rather than simplistic action, to establish their feelings for each other. Returning to the vanilla allusion, the style of ‘Half a Cowboy’ is much like a serialized anime, swinging between the plot’s exciting conflicts and employing characters easily defined by their appearances and speech.


Should you wonder where it will all go? Really?


Example 1 - Ashton to Ben, early on: “There is something about you that I think is going to stay with me forever.”] But, as a courtesy to our maiden aunt, Mr. Grey delays detailed eroticism toward the book’s end – in fact, an earlier stab (sic) at insertive physicality by Ashton and Ben becomes a sort of dramatic coitus interruptus. But, as always, eventually Mr. Grey does not disappoint.


Example 2 - “Heat poured off both of them, and Ashton’s jeans grew so tight, he was afraid the damned things were going to cut off circulation to his balls.”


And, we have an ultimate salute to mythical American character: Example 3 - “It’s not the horse or the hat that makes you a cowboy; it’s your heart.”





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, 189 pages/69272 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 12-January-2021
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
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