general fiction · lgbtqia content · mental health · substance abuse

REVIEW: Wounded Martyr by Courtney Maguire

The Official Description: Ice is an asshole, but he’s working on it. He’s two years sober, no small feat when you front a heavy metal band facing waning popularity and dismal ticket sales. But, the pieces of a life torn apart by alcoholism are finally coming back together. His band, Wounded Martyr, has written a great album with the potential to launch them back into relevancy. And Ricky, probably the biggest, most important piece, has finally forgiven him for the wreck he made of their relationship. There’s only one problem.

Ashton.

It was to be expected. As his best friend and band mate for almost twenty years, it’s only natural they should find each other in the loneliness of the road. Ricky knows about their one night together, but he doesn’t know that Ice can’t stop thinking about it, about his long body and whiskey-flavored lips, and the guilt of it has him on the brink of backslide. Now that Wounded Martyr is poised for a long tour, Ice must find a way to resist temptation or risk blowing their last chance and destroying his relationship with the two most important men in his life.

Just the facts: LGBTQIA+ characters, substances abuse, rock stars, friends/lovers

good sentence – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit: Ice is the lead vocalist for Wounded Martyr. He’s sober. But he makes one of those mistakes that you usually make when you’re drunk… he has sex with bandmate and best friend, Ash. From that point forward things in Ice’s life begin to come apart.

This is an interesting novella with a lot of substance in it! Ice’s issues with alcohol (and later cocaine) are the way that he deals with … everything. The one place that he seems comfortable, is buried in his music and working with the band. The problem is that one night of sex with bass player, Ash, changes the dynamics of everything. Ice finds himself jealous of other people who are receiving Ash’s attention and he’s struggling with thoughts of Ash invading when he’s with his partner Ricky.

Substance abuse and interpersonal relationships are the backbone of this novella. Maguire has written a great depiction of the backsliding that can happen when one is one the recovery road. Little things become an excuse for Ice to drink … big things are a justification.

The interesting twist to this plot of the way in which Ice is struggling to maintain a relationship with his best friend, Ash… and begin anew with his partner, Ricky. Ice relies on the two men differently but they both have a significant place in his life. He seems to need them both… sometimes that manifests itself physically other times it’s emotionally. As his struggle becomes more intense things cycle out of the control until Ice hits bottom.

I would have loved to have read more about the conversations with Ricky and Ash… ultimately they seem to come together and realize that they have to accept each others’ presence if they want to keep Ash alive. I felt as though I was really missing out by not being able to be a party to how they came to that understanding. While the premise was set up exquisitely, I really wanted to know more about what would happen between the three men and what the dynamic of their relationship would ultimately become.

The end of the story felt a little rushed. Once Ice’s health was affected, Ricky and Ash united quickly to support him and I felt I needed more of an understanding of how that happened.

Overall, this is well-written and a very accurate depiction of a person struggling with addictions.

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) alcoholism, binge drinking, physical violence, cocaine use, infidelity, lying.

Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel.

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I received an ARC of Wounded Martyr by Courtney Maguire from NineStar Press via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

ratings legend

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