Author: Louise Lyons
Title: Finding Beck
Cover artist: Simon Searle
Release date: October 20, 2015
Length: 33,400 words
Genre: Contemporary, 1990s, Gay Romance, Coming Out
Martin Lynch has spent the past few years following his best friend Graham’s example, dressing up to go out to their favorite rock club on Friday nights and going through the motions with girls, always missing that spark everyone talks about.
One night in Jezebels nightclub on Martin’s twentieth birthday he meets Beck, an androgynous person he initially tries to tell himself is “Becky”. But eventually when Martin feels that excitement he’s never experienced before and the evidence becomes too much to ignore, he’s forced to admit to himself that Beck is a man and accept that he could be gay.
Martin fears the reactions of his best friend and his parents, but in his heart he knows that finding Beck has given him the one thing that’s always been missing, and he prepares to deal with the reactions of family and friends when their secret is discovered.
I left the flat at half past one and caught a bus to the adjoining town of Grimsby. When it pulled into the bus station at ten to two, and I looked out the window at the Barge which was right next to the station, panic filled me. I felt like a real shit for having asked Beck to meet me, and now I was going to ditch her… him. What if I’m wrong? What if she really is Becky?
I stumbled off the bus and dragged a hand through my hair. I’d never been so confused in my life. I’d known—I had to have known when we were kissing, and I’d been rock hard, desperate to touch and be touched. No one had ever made me feel like that. The way Beck’s lips felt on mine, firm and eager; the way his body felt in my arms until he pulled away.
I sat down on a bench and rested my elbows on my knees, my head hanging. Was this why I’d felt so little with all those girls? I really wanted someone like Beck? What would my parents say? And Graham?
“Fuck,” I muttered. Five minutes. I couldn’t be seen sitting outside the pub looking like I wanted to run away. I got to my feet, strode across the paved area toward the Barge, and stepped onboard. In two minutes I had a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale in my hand and had taken a seat in a corner, relieved that no one I knew was in the pub. In fact other than me there were only four other people huddled in a group. I wiped my hands on the edges of the seat, took a gulp of my beer, and checked my watch. Two minutes. My heart slammed against my ribs and I grabbed for the beer again, desperate to relieve my dry mouth.
Minutes passed and I repeatedly glanced at the steps leading up to the entrance, but no one else entered the pub. I finished my beer as slowly as I could manage, and eventually two men came in, but neither one was Beck. One of them had a pet rat sitting on his shoulder and I stared in fascination as he collected drinks and crisps from the bar, and sat down with his friend. He fed the rat bits of the crisps while he sipped his drink. Weird.
Two thirty came and went, and the time crawled onward to three o’clock. I returned to the bar for another beer and hovered there, unsure whether to stay or go. I’d never been stood up before. Maybe Beck had got held up. Or maybe he’d changed his mind the same way I had.
I stayed just in case. I made my second drink last until almost four o’clock, holding my breath every time someone new entered the pub, and my spirits sinking a little more each time it wasn’t Beck. Eventually, I left my empty bottle on the nearby table and made my way up the steps and out into the humid air. The word pathetic came to mind when I thought about how I’d sat there alone for two hours when I’d clearly been stood up. I’d have laughed at anyone else doing that and called them a loser.
By the time I reached home I was fed up and angry with myself. It was probably for the best that Beck hadn’t shown up. I’d only been going to tell him it wasn’t going to happen, so he’d saved me the trouble. Except I’d still sat there for two hours, waiting and hoping.
I have yet to dislike anything from Louise Lyons, and Finding Back did not disappoint. It’s yet another novel set in the 1990s, where in Britain and Canada (which is my experience) , homosexuality wasn’t really accepted, but some people were starting to be tolerant.
As with Beautiful Thunder, we visit the world of Glam Rock, but this time as fans only. Martin, a seemingly “straight acting”, or at least straight pretending” young man meets Beck, an androgynous young gay man. The story explores the issue of realizing one’s sexuality after meeting the right person, and acting on those feelings, being true to oneself. It also explores the pitfalls of coming out, and the reactions of friends and family in the context of the time.
These are still, to this day, universal themes and common experiences among young gay men. The story is relevant, poignant, with some angst, but mostly full of lusty, romantic, scenes of personal , sexual exploration as individuals and as couples.
There is an interesting juxtaposition between Martin’s relationship with Beck and Martin’s roommate Graham’s relationship with his girlfriend.
As always, one of my major rating criteria is whether I want to or have already reread the story. I reread this one three times already. I highly recommend this wonderful story, for its sexy bits, as well as its snapshot in the lives of two young men in love in the 1990s.
About the Author
Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy. Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of 8, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties.
Posting stories based on some of her favorite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.
Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad Dobermann, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races into the house afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.
Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and joy, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.