Scratch the Matchmaker, by Austin Daniels
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: September 13, 2017
Rating: DNF @ 22%
After his boyfriend moves out of state without telling him, Jay wants only to indulge in a weekend of drunken self-pity. Before he can get started, though, he is rescued by a stray dog.
While obtaining the necessary food and supplies he needs to take care of the dog, named Scratch, he meets Richard, a veterinary student. Better still, Richard offers to meet up to talk to him about caring for a dog.
Lessons in taking care of a dog lead to lessons Jay never expected, but Jay isn’t the only one with a sour past, and all the two men hope to learn from and with each other may be cut all too short.
This book was…odd. I really didn’t know how to take it. Was it tongue in cheek or fantasy? Initially, when the book starts we find out that Jay’s “boyfriend” has basically ghosted him and moved out of state. I use quotes because the two basically had a scheduled weekend hook up with no contact during the week and only met at Jay’s house. This was something that only happened for a few months. I couldn’t take it seriously. Jay’s a trooper and bounces back within the first two chapters so it really wasn’t the traumatic event the blurb paints.
The book started veering into “WTF” territory fast though. Jay finds a dog and while walking to see if he can find the owner comes a crossed a friend, Marty who is the POV for Chapter 3. Chapter 3 is basically Marty going into detail about his sexual escapades related to when he found the dog earlier in the week. It felt completely unnecessary considering Jay’s the main MC and Marty is not his love interest.
Jay decides to take the dog to get checked out by a vet, Richard, who ends up being interested in Jay and volunteers to do a house call to assist Jay with getting Scratch (the dog) settled. At 10% I actually left myself a note saying “I should DNF here” when Richard instructs Jay (in a whisper no less) on how to properly collect dog waste telling him to “think of this (dog bag) as the condom for your hand”. I have two dogs and live in the city so I have the joy of collecting dog waste multiple times daily and no…do not think of it as a condom for your hand.
The book continued on in the exact absurd manner. At one point Richard and Jay discuss their relationship goals and decide to refrain from sex and try to spend quality time getting to know each other as “boyfriends” first. This is the first date…it seemed not only too soon but the whole tone of the book felt a little…condescending or unsophisticated. After reading a little further I decided to finally DNF at 22%
Austin Daniels grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, fell in love when he was sixteen with a boy who was moving out of state. While attending Arizona State University he met the object of his second love, but their situation of student poverty eventually drove them apart, breaking his heart for the first time. Austin moved from Arizona to Southern California in 1973, moving in with an old grade school friend who introduced him to the man he shares his life with. Scratch the Matchmaker is Austin’s fifth novel. It is his first novel centering only on gay romance.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.