Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Blogger Review: Everything I Know by Josh Lanyon

Connor loves teaching. He loves working with kids, he loves feeling like he's making a difference. And the kids -- and parents -- seem to love him. Until the afternoon he makes a small error in judgment, and an angry father's thoughtless comments start the kind of rumor that destroys careers. And lives.

Now everything Connor thought he knew about himself and his world is in doubt. But sometimes help comes from the most unexpected direction.

Connor makes a snap decision when one of the children in his care is injured and in doing so his life is turned upside down.  When Wes Callahan makes a comment in anger and fear, and even though the inferred rumor is only known to two or three people it has a lasting effect on Connor's life.  Will Wes be able to make it right?

I'm going to start by saying that Everything I Know has been on my Kindle since June 2014, that's right, for over four years this little gem has been sitting there in my hand and yet it went unread.  How you ask?  I have no answer for that because Josh Lanyon is one of my favorite authors and one of only a handful I call "1-clickers".  My only excuse is that it just kept getting pushed down, down, and down on my TBR list.  Well, I read it now and I loved it!

Connor is the kind of teacher we all want for our kids(even those of us who don't have kids), he's attentive, he's encouraging, he's friendly but not a pushover, and he dispenses wisdom all while still letting kids be kids.  Wes is a single dad with a wonderful relationship with his daughter's mother but unfortunately he lets his fears run his mouth in a single, emotional moment without realizing what he has set in motion.  As this is a novella, I won't say any more about the plot but I do want to say that even though what sets the story in motion is heartbreaking and can leave the reader almost angry I found the story as a whole to be uplifting and simply put entertaining and still can't believe it took me over four years to read.

I just want to say that the title says so much and is so true, Everything I Know, and then you turn the page to see the rules most of us learned in kindergarten that the title refers to:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life-Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

It's a shame we don't continue to follow the lessons we learned as we started school, life would be so much better for so many of us.  Having said that, don't think Everything I Know is about teaching the reader a lesson but at the same time if you walk away having realized something about yourself than all the better.  Truth is this is just a lovely, frustrating-at-times, entertaining read that made me smile and I can't ask for more.


Con was talking to Dr. Li when Wes Callahan arrived.

Con did not know Lizzy’s father well. Every morning and every afternoon they exchanged a few polite words as Callahan dropped off and picked up his daughter. It had been no different that morning. The exception had been on Back to School Night when they had spoken for nearly five minutes. Con had told Lizzy’s dad what a great kid Lizzy was–and he’d meant every word. She was funny, smart, a little precocious, and a total charmer. Lizzy’s dad had told Con how much Elizabeth adored Mr. Connor. Men like Callahan did not use the word “adore,” but that had been the gruff gist of it.

Basically that was Con’s entire experience and understanding of Wes Callahan. A courteous and concerned parent who looked better in his usual jeans and T-shirts than most of the dads did in their suits and ties. That, and Wes Callahan was the biggest VIP of all Sunshine Cottage’s VIPs. Callahan was Sunshine Cottage’s only millionaire dad. In other words, handle with care.

And it was very obvious from Con’s first glimpse of Callahan striding through the sliding glass door of Pediatrics, that kid gloves would be required. Lizzy was an only child, and both her parents doted on her–their natural protectiveness heightened by the fact that Lizzy had been a frail and sickly baby.

Through the glass of the reception area, Con watched Callahan pause at the front desk. Callahan’s face was white, his brown eyes seemed to blaze with emotion. Instead of his usual jeans and T-shirt, he wore a dark suit–a very nice dark suit–which probably explained why he had been unreachable by cell. Some kind of conference, maybe a power meeting with prospective clients.

“Here’s Dad,” Dr. Li said, smiling as Callahan barged through the communicating door that separated the waiting room from the examining rooms.

“Mr. Callahan.” Con took a step forward.

Callahan yelled, “Who the hell do you think you are, dragging my kid around town without my permission?”

Con stopped in his tracks. “I’m sorry?”

“You will be. I’ll make damn sure of that.”

“I was trying to get Lizzy medical attention as quickly as possible. I do have your written permission on fi–“

“If you wanted to help, you’d have done your job and made sure she wasn’t hurt in the first place.” He jabbed his finger at Con’s chest for emphasis. “I’m holding you personally responsible for this, Myers.”

Con was speechless.

“OH-kay.” Dr. Li opened the door to the examining room. “Mr. Callahan, if I could have you step inside here.”

“Daddy! Daddy!” Lizzy squeaked from inside, and relief flooded Callahan’s colorless face.

“Is she okay?” he got out.

“She’s going to be just fine,” Dr. Li said, throwing an apologetic look at Con.

Con couldn’t have responded to save his life. He had anticipated Callahan being upset, worried, alarmed. He hadn’t expected fury. Let alone fury directed at himself. It felt like he was watching this play out from a distance. Not far enough of a distance, unfortunately.

Everyone, from the girl at the front desk, to the toddler and his teenaged mother playing with blocks on the floor of the waiting room, were staring open-mouthed at him.

It wasn’t like that. That’s what he wanted to say. It wasn’t like he hadn’t been watching, hadn’t been paying attention, hadn’t been doing his job. Accidents happened. Sometimes they happened out of arm’s reach. But how did you explain that to someone who didn’t have firsthand experience of supervising over twenty active children on a small playground? Anything he said was going to sound like an excuse. But that was the excuse–or explanation, at least.

“Mr. Callahan,” he finally managed to croak, as Dr. Li ushered Callahan into the examining room.

Callahan rounded on him, his expression so contemptuous that Con broke off.

“I don’t want to hear it. What kind of normal grown man makes a career out of hanging around little kids?” Callahan’s voice was scathing. He turned his back on Con and went into the examining room.

Author Bio:
Bestselling author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance, JOSH LANYON has been called "the Agatha Christie of gay mystery."

Her work has been translated into eleven languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondadori, the largest romance publisher in Italy. Stranger on the Shore (Harper Collins Italia) was the first M/M title to be published in print. In 2016 Fatal Shadows placed #5 in Japan's annual Boy Love novel list (the first and only title by a foreign author to place on the list).

The Adrien English Series was awarded All Time Favorite Male Male Couple in the 2nd Annual contest held by the Goodreads M/M Group (which has over 22,000 members). Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist for Gay Mystery, and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads Favorite M/M Author Lifetime Achievement award.

Josh is married and they live in Southern California.

EMAIL: josh.lanyon@sbcglobal.net