Interborough is the fourth in Santino Hassell’s Five Boroughs series and is definitely not a standalone. It re-visits an established pair, Raymond and David, eighteen months on from previous novels in the series.
Raymond Rodriguez is now working two jobs and going to college. He still lives with David Butler, who is now at the point of submitting his application for tenure at the school where he teaches. Despite having been a couple for eighteen months, Raymond’s new regime and his hesitance to be completely ‘out’ about the gender of his partner, is causing strain in their lives and relationship.
David has been left a little paranoid after his break up with long term partner Caleb before he met Raymond. He still feels his concerns are never taken seriously; and this, in turn, is leading him to be ultra-sensitive to the attention the very handsome Raymond attracts and jealousy is rearing its ugly head regarding one of his co-workers at the docks.
The couple is not in a good place when they go on a cruise organised by their friends’ new gay dating site Qfindr. This is a break accompanied by close friends, family and exes. Happy events on the cruise and a truce between the couple find David and Raymond in a better place emotionally than when the holiday started. Sadly, the truce doesn’t last long and things go from bad to worse.
I said that I did not consider this book to be a standalone because in order to enjoy it, you have to really feel for the characters of David and Raymond. This kind of empathy for a fictitious couple usually develops over more than one novel. Interborough is very much a character driven piece and it is fairly brave of the author to write about the mainly everyday concerns couples have.
Concerns like – Am I good enough for them? – Will they like me if I’m too tired for sex? – Will they get bored if I work all the time? – Are they looking at other people when they are at work?
A couple of less common issues arise in the novel, but otherwise, most of the conflict and tension is created by Raymond and David’s own insecurities and worries. I recently pleaded for more relationship issues in books where the MC is Hispanic – rather than poverty and criminal behaviour. Well, my plea has been answered with this story. The novel has interplay between characters of varied backgrounds, cultures and financial status, and this form of well written, realistic diversity is just one of the facets I enjoy so much about Santino Hassell’s Five Boroughs series.
Interborough is not the strongest in this series, but still an enjoyable, entertaining, sexy read.