Galley Proof – Eric Arvin (Dreamspinner Press)

Buy it direct from Dreamspinner Press

The reason I don’t usually like romantic comedies is that
they’re rarely a) romantic or b) funny. Either ingredient is lacking and—like a
souffle missing eggs—they fall flat. When they work, however, they’re damn
delicious, and Eric Arvin proves very able in the kitchen (and other rooms) in Galley
Proof
.

Writer Logan Brandish has been given a new editor, Brock
Kimble, by his publishing house in order to boost his flagging sales. Of
course, Brandish is attracted to Kimble, but there are obstacles in the way:
Brandish’s boyfriend (of sorts), Curtis, Kimble’s dissection of Brandish’s
manuscript, and the manuscript itself—a horrendous piece of slave galley
nonsense called The Gods Have Jealous Eyes. Brandish flounders,
necessitating a breakup, a trip to Italy and a very satistying ending.

We know how these books always end—the very nature of the
genre demands the boys get together in the last fifteen or twenty pages (thirty
if the book is pretentious enough to have an epilogue). The proof of these
novels is in the journey. Is it sufficiently interesting? Are there enough
roadblocks thrown in their way? Are the side-trips really fun or just scenic
photo ops? Are the characters people you’d want to take a road trip with?

Happily, Arvin gives us affirmative answers to all these
questions. His characters are quirky without being over-the-top, he puts up
some intriguing obstacles, and the detours are delightful. Take, for example,
his roommate Janey, who declares herself the prize between the Mormons and the
Jehovah’s Witnesses combing the neighborhood for souls. This bit is divinely
inspired, and Arvin works it for all its worth.

Brandish’s book, The Gods Have Jealous Eyes, is also
a great invention. The book morphs from historical romance to slapstick comedy
to simply bizarre, Brandish throwing genres against the wall hoping one will
stick. In fact, the manuscript functions as another character. My only quibble
with Galley Proof  is that Arvin
missed a layer he could have easily added by providing the reader with excerpts
from this marvelous crapfest.

That minor point aside, there’s much to enjoy in Galley
Proof
. Bite into this savory bit of toothsomeness , and I’ll warrant you
won’t be disappointed in the flavor. We can hardly wait for the next recipe.

Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler

 

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