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A Hard Man is Good to FindA Hard Man is Good to Find
By: James W. Lewis
The Pantheon Collective
ISBN: 0982719345
June 2011

Reviewed By: 'Nathan Burgoine

I feel the need to preface my review here with the sad truth of just how white I am. I’m not just white – I’m British white. The Burgoine family tree is completely pale. I make snow look street. And in the direct light of a Canadian June sun, I can cause damage to unprotected corneas.

I was a wee bit nervous when I got A Hard Man is Good to Find. I feel stupid admitting that now, but in the interest of an honest review, if you’ve ever looked at a book and thought “I am so not the audience for this” then let my reading of A Hard Man is Good to Find be a lesson to you.

I loved it.

In Michelle, James W. Lewis brings a heroine with a brash conversational voice to visit, and you’ll enjoy her stay. She’s a joy – her stream of consciousness, with its many visits to her currently underfed sexual appetites – is a blast to read, and hilarious in its candid tone. Michelle takes you on a brief tour of some miserable exes – or one night stands – before launching you on her tale of what might just be the best thing that could happen to a sista in years.

(Okay, I tried. The moment I typed “sista” there, I winced. You can’t hear my voice, so you don’t know how horrible that was, but I promise never to do it again. Also, the sun is coming out, please don your sunglasses and do not stare directly into the white boy.)

Anyone and everyone can connect with Michelle’s fantastic romp through the horrible exes. The guy intent on attempting to try some anal without getting Michelle’s permission first; the guy with next to nothing below the belt and the stamina to match; the guy who seems allergic to bathing – these are experiences to which everyone can nod knowingly, raise one hand, and agree. Dating? Sucks.

But with her attitude and a desire to see herself get what she deserves – and Michelle deserves plenty, thankyouverymuch – Michelle decides to change her method. She focuses on herself for a while. Hits the gym, gets healthy, finishes her degree...

...and meets Daryl.

Daryl looks like sex on a stick – and Mr. Lewis here can be absolutely confident in his ability to make a man a mouth-wateringly enticing experience through Michelle’s voice. Her comparisons are solid, and rooted in contemporary culture, and make a visual image complete with a weak-in-the-knees effect. Daryl and Michelle definitely click, things get playful, then simmer, then...

Then Daryl suggests they slow down and Michelle should go home.

I beg your pardon?

This tease is the last half of the book and it is this omnipresent – and hopefully not impotent – struggle Michelle now faces: Daryl just doesn’t seem to want to get it on. Is she his woman on the side? Is he – oh please no – on the down-low? Is he in need of a little blue helper? Does all that scratching mean he’s waiting for something to clear up? As she gets wrapped up in potential rationale after potential rationale, you’ll laugh and smirk at her antics as she tries to figure out if Daryl is “the one” or if he’s just another one of the losers she’s managed to attract.

I won’t ruin the mystery, but I will say that I did see it coming and delighted in the reveal nonetheless. Michelle’s snark is a blast to read, and her ricochet from theory to theory makes you laugh and groan all at once. I also greatly appreciated her in-your-face desire. An internal dialogue with the reader, Michelle is not one to mince words. After weeks with a beautiful man, she wants some action, and she’s not shy about telling you so. And who could blame her? Daryl looms on the page like a dessert you want to gobble whole.

My only issues with the book are minor. Sometimes new characters pop in and out without a real introduction – Michelle has a sudden new friend that she has apparently met at class – a place we’ve never gone with her – and it jarred a bit. Something similar happens near the end, where suddenly new people are involved in her life, and the explanation of who they are comes after they’ve been around a bit too long. It left me wondering if I should already know who these people were, and made me think I had I missed something earlier. It’s a small criticism, and easily forgiven since Michelle’s narrative feels so natural. Also, as this is an erotica review site, I do feel I should mention that while Michelle’s exploits with her exes and losers at the start of the book are – amusingly – blunt and erotic (if poor lovers can be erotic), most of the book has the erotic content entirely in Michelle’s head as she tries to suss out what the hell is keeping Daryl from stepping up to the plate. If you want sweat soaked erotic content on every page, this isn’t the book for you. Personally, I really didn’t mind waiting for the big reveal.

The end result of A Hard Man is Good to Find is a satisfied reader.  I adored Michelle. I liked Daryl. The friction and frustration of Michelle’s desire being unfulfilled was absolute fun. Definitely give this a go.