The reviews of The Night We Met are starting to pour in now. Well... one review has poured in. But it's a goodie, and it carries the extra prestige of being from Publishers Weekly. Here's what they had to say:
After 30-something author/editorial assistant Andrew Westlake,
a self-proclaimed romantic, gets dumped by his boyfriend, Ted,
a well-deserved wild night on the town throws him headlong into
treacherous terrain in Byrnes's clever, compulsively readable
first novel. Dismissing a broken heart and the bleak sales of his
debut novel, Andrew attends a trendy gay nightclub opening on
Halloween night in drag (as "Belle Bacall") and accidentally
meets (and falls for) owner Frank DiBenedetto, a sexy, closeted
gay man who is not only engaged to be married, but is an "underboss"
in the Stendardi organized crime family.
Despite warnings from friends, Andrew can't seem to tear himself
away from Frank, even when Ted is mysteriously beaten up and
Andrew becomes the prime suspect. Bad turns to worse when fiance
Anna Franco catches her husband-to-be and Andrew in a hot
postcoital embrace. Paranoia clouds the relationship as mob henchmen
(and police detectives) stake out Andrew's apartment and keep watch
over Frank's nightclub. A few close calls force Andrew to flee New York
on a rather dramatic West Coast book tour, and upon his return he
reconsiders his relationship with Frank. A rousing conclusion powered
by mistaken identity, car chases, guns and narrow escapes sets the icing
on this confection.
The supporting cast - spicy best friend Denise; cocky, flamboyant co-worker
David; and a host of murky mafiosi - is strong and the breezy dialogue
exchanges are as authentic as they are hilarious. Byrnes adroitly combines
a twist-filled plot, solid characterization, humor and steamy sex to create
a nicely crafted, delightful debut that readers of any orientation will enjoy.
Ain't that cool?
For slightly older reviews, we must point you in the direction of Upper West Side Story, which was the title of the book when it was originally published as an e-book in 1999. Oh, the folks at Kensington Publishing tidied it up a bit and retitled it, but 96.79% of the original book remains. And here are some of the raves it received:
"I really enjoyed this. A hilarious romp, charming, satirical, sexy, and... well, I suppose "quirky" is one way to describe it."
-- Diana Gabaldon
New York Times Best-Selling Author
(The "Outlander" Series)
"Byrnes’s Upper West Side Story is a wonderful read, beginning to end! It’s consistently funny, self-aware, good-natured, snappily plotted, and best of all, entirely romantic... Completely enjoyable."
-- Julie Tetel Andresen
Award-winning romance novelist and
Associate Professor of Linguistics at Duke University
Reviewed on TipWorld.com, 12/7/00
"Upper West Side Story will have readers of all sexual orientations laughing and cheering our intrepid hero on... Byrnes's novel is peppered with the flavor of New York, showing the city in all its splendor and squalor. He has a deft touch with characterization--the secondary players practically leap off the page...
"Upper West Side Story is a laugh out loud romp that should appeal to all romance lovers... It's different, it's sassy, and it's fun."
--Eve Ackerman, CompuServe Romance Reviews
"First time author Rob Byrnes proves that he has what it takes to compete in the field of Romance. Bravely he dares to cross all the lines that have been drawn in the sand since the beginning of Romance... Byrnes thumbs his nose at all the taboos and has given us a real wake up call with his first novel Upper West Side Story.
"Upper West Side Story is... brilliantly told. Each character has been written as if Byrnes knows them intimately, (as) well-rounded and perfectly imperfect as your own best friend. Byrnes spares nothing; this book is full of dry wit, real life emotions and a love that transcends sexuality.
"Rob Byrnes has truly set the standard for the gay romances that are bound to follow... Upper West Side Story is an excellent story and a must for any reader with an open mind."
--Kemberlee Lugo, The Book Nook Romance Reviews
"Upper West Side Story (is) a very interesting romance. Byrnes does a good job of catching the attention of the reader and keeping it until (the) surprising ending."
--Writers Club Romance Group on AOL