[Review] The Devil and Cowboy Will by Parhelion

This is another guest review by my friend and collaborator, DawnClick here for more guest posts :)  -Ramona

The Devil and Cowboy Will by Lucius Parhelion (self-published, available online here for free)

FROM THE BLURB

Will never imagined what could happen when he side-kicked a Creep like Cole.

COMMENTARY

The Devil and Cowboy Will begins in 1932 as Will Herdon leaves Taos, New Mexico for Hollywood and the promise of work. While employed as a stuntman on Everest’s backlot he strikes up a friendship with Nigel Cole, the second best Creep (stereotyped movie villain) in Hollywood. Together they weather early paparazzi, eccentric directors, prima dona drama queens of both genders and studio sharks as they grow closer and develop a mutual admiration that has the potential to become something more. But the fledgling days of the film industry is a time when homosexuality carries a potential jail sentence, and the mere appearance of those leanings in the business is enough to kill careers. Meanwhile, the studio’s Publicity Departments are virtually omnipotent over actors’ images and lives. Will and Mr Cole have to decide whether they care enough to fight and overcome these odds to get their own Hollywood ending.

Parhelion keeps all of his stories rooted firmly in their time and place, and this tale is no exception. The setting, dialogue and characters all feel real and like natural products of The Great Depression. The story itself has elements of a classic screwball comedy in its lighthearted moments, but there is always underlying tension in the characters’ dangerous, burgeoning relationship. The behind-the-scenes world of old Hollywood is a living, breathing entity — well researched and vividly rendered. It was easy to become immersed in this universe and get caught up with its characters and their struggles.

Will and Mr Cole are not typical romantic leads. When Will meets Cole for the first time he isn’t blinded by his beauty; he describes him as “kind of homely” and “If he hadn’t have been blond, you’d have called him a weasel.” Will himself is typecast as a cowboy thug extra because of his looks, and his intelligence is constantly underestimated. This lends strength to their romance because it’s clearly based on more than pure physical attraction, which doesn’t even really begin to appear until after they get to know and respect each other.

RECOMMENDED?

This is an expertly-crafted historical romance with an authentic setting and irresistibly charming characters. If you like historicals then I definitely recommend you check this one out!

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