The Brothers Grime: Eddie: Grime Doesn’t Pay – Z.A. Maxfield
Loving oneself can be a dirty job…
Eddie and Andrew have dynamite chemistry, except Eddie is profoundly dyslexic, and Andrew lives to read. Andrew is pathologically disorganized, and Eddie likes things neat and clutter-free.
Andrew is desperately ashamed of his hoarder father–a secret that could pull them apart even as a friend’s tragedy brings them together.
When Andrew’s father’s condition deteriorates and he nearly dies because of his compulsion, Eddie and Andrew must learn compassion begins with loving one’s self in Eddie: Grime Doesn’t Pay.
Eddie hardly made on-page appearances on Jack: Grime and Punishment but the man turned out to be the best Grime Brother yet!
The Brothers Grime is the titular company co-owned by three friends, Jack, a retired firefighter, his cousin Gage, and their friend, Eddie. They specialized in industrial clean ups, mostly violent crime scenes and biohazards.
Eddie: Grime Doesn’t Pay shows the The Brothers Grime cleaning up other nasty spots aside from crime scenes. They tackled a problem rarely featured in books: hoarding.
This is also a book about teachers. Eddie’s childhood had been heavily impacted by teachers and even as an adult, they continue to change his life.
Eddie was forever pining for his niece’s teacher. Trying his damnedest to impress in his best threads whenever he drops his beloved niece to school, he was often reduced to an awkward mess whenever he tried to talk to Andrew. Andrew tends to drop some book references in an effort to engage his student’s attractive uncle. Eddie ends up running away, leaving the other man wondering what had he done wrong?
Unbeknownst to most, Eddie has dyslexia so reading is a struggle for him. This made him feel his crush was out of his league.
I really liked how the story handled Eddie’s issues. Eddie doesn’t go out of his way to let people know he had a learning disability and he did feel “orcish” as he puts it, when he was with Andrew’s erudite friends. However, it did a great job portraying how Eddie adapted and overcame the obstacles. He developed an effective system that helped him with his daily tasks. It was uplifting and really showed how far Eddie had gone, from having teachers give up on him to becoming a successful businessman.
There was a teacher who never gave up on Eddie though. Mrs. Henderson saw his true grit and helped him channel his energy. And so Eddie became Eddie ‘Cha Cha’ Vasquez, busting out dance moves no one can beat.
Mrs. Henderson was also the teacher who brought Eddie and Andrew together many years after. One day, Andrew found her very disoriented in their campus. He called for help. Later, they found out she has dementia and her husband was dead for a week. Dave, Eddie’s detective friend, called him knowing this was relevant to Eddie. He quickly took responsibility to make sure his former teacher was properly cared for.
I liked Andrew a lot at the start. He was funny, flirty and spontaneous. He jived fabulously with Eddie once they broke the ice. But he had his own dirty secret though. His father is a hoarder and Andrew was ashamed of the state his house was in. It was so bad police gave the older man an ultimatum to clean up or lose his house.
Andrew really had a tough time handling this. It brought out some of his unflattering characteristics that made me feel less keen about him.
But this is where Eddie shines the brightest. He was the nicest, most understanding, most patient teddy bear ever! He talked sense into his panicking boyfriend, offered unconditional support and he even volunteered to have his company clean the house pro bono. The best thing here was that he, profoundly dyslexic, completely understood what the hoarded books meant to Andrew’s father. I loved the connection he established with his father-in-law.
This had the cuteness and lightness that was mostly missing in Jack’s book. The serious themes were deftly balanced by the humor. The first half of the story showcased the delicious USTs between Eddie and Andrew in the best way possible. The couple remained strong throughout even with the meltdowns and blow ups.
The crew pitched in to help. They were as awesome as before and I loved reading about them. The group dynamics really worked so well. Jack and his boyfriend, Ryan, made a few appearances here and there. Gage had major page-time. I have yet to understand what he sees in Dave. The detective is still an asshole but their book is next so that might shed some light on his mysterious appeal.
The Brother Grime‘s most notorious employee, Skippy, is my favorite. I need his book! His wife, Kelly-Ann, sounds quite a character herself. We only hear about her from Skippy but she made an impression. How did a former mob enforcer turned industrial cleaner and a tarot card reading woman who believes cats steal breath from babies end up together? Inquiring minds are dying to know!
Eddie: Grime Doesn’t Pay took the series up a notch. It’s a great mix of levity and angst. It had gritty details and a whole lot of heart. It is a story about family, self-acceptance, coping with a loved one’s mental illness and appreciating triumphs no matter how small. Eddie really went above and beyond with his kindness and compassion. So it’s no surprise that he became the teacher’s pet.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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Garnet Run: Better Than People – Roan Parrish
It’s not long before their pet-centric arrangement sparks a person-centric desire…
Simon Burke has always preferred animals to people. When the countdown to adopting his own dog is unexpectedly put on hold, Simon turns to the PetShare app to find the fluffy TLC he’s been missing. Meeting a grumpy children’s book illustrator who needs a dog walker isn’t easy for the man whose persistent anxiety has colored his whole life, but Jack Matheson’s menagerie is just what Simon needs.
Four dogs, three cats and counting. Jack’s pack of rescue pets is the only company he needs. But when a bad fall leaves him with a broken leg, Jack is forced to admit he needs help. That the help comes in the form of the most beautiful man he’s ever seen is a complicated, glorious surprise.
Being with Jack—talking, waking, making out—is a game changer for Simon. And Simon’s company certainly…eases the pain of recovery for Jack. But making a real relationship work once Jack’s cast comes off will mean compromise, understanding and lots of love.
Peopling is something Jack Matheson has no patience for. Social gatherings and small talks were things he particularly avoided. Betrayed by a friend and recently injured by a bad fall, he spent his days moping while his brother, Charlie tried to coax him out of it.
One day, Jack got on Petshare, an app that matches a pet owner to a person interested in helping out with pets. It matched him with one very intriguing person named Simon Burke.
Peopling comes hard to Simon Burke. Having crippling anxiety where words stuck in his throat whenever he tries to talk to new people pretty much guarantees a solitary life with his grandmother as his only friend in the world. It took all his courage to knock on Jack’s door so that he could walk the dogs. Little did he know, their grumpy human would change his life.
As somebody who’s as socially awkward as they come, Jack and Simon are my people so I was immediately drawn to them. Having preference for furry, four-legged creatures over walking, talking two-legged ones is another point in their favor.
Simon’s condition was difficult. The author really did a good job making you feel his struggle to say something as simple as thank you. While I was reading it, I wondered, how does one even handle that level of anxiety? The amount of courage to push through the fear is extraordinary. Simon Burke is one of the strongest book person I know. I also loved that this shy man who struggles with words has a delightful streak of snark.
Jack might have anger and trust issues but he is kind. He noticed right away that Simon has words roiling inside that he couldn’t get out. He found ways for them to communicate. He was patient and gentle. He knew how to listen to the unspoken.
The story has the right amount of slow burn to allow the attraction to blossom into a sweet romance amidst challenging circumstances. They were both fiercely independent individuals who’s trying to make it through life alone. I loved the way they gradually became part of each other’s lives.
Drawing is a key element in the story. Jack is a children’s book illustrator and Simon is a graphic artist. His friend’s betrayal affected Jack so much he has not drawn for 8 months. It was Simon who helped him get his mojo back.
One of the heroes of this book is Charlie. He and Jack were orphaned when he was 17. He sacrificed so much to provide for his younger brother. Even as adults, he still selflessly cares for Jack despite Jack’s surly attitude. He was patient with Simon. He understood what it’s like to wake up fearing the day ahead. He is a sweetheart and he deserves his own happy ending.
I am thrilled that my soft, magical boy, Corbin Wale gets a much deserved homage. Jack is a huge fan of him. The way Jack described his drawings takes me back to his amazing book.
Better Than People is set in the same world as The Remaking of Corbin Wale. It charms you with the same whimsical writing though less dreamlike. While The Remaking of Corbin Wale has a surreal, magical realism vibe, this book is more realistic and angsty. It is also did not have quite the same intensity. I love this book but I wasn’t as swept away as I was with its predecessor.
Nonetheless, I highly recommend reading this after reading Corbin Wale’s story. The two can be read as standalones but Roan Parrish creates wonderful stories of soft boys made of sighs, spice, and steel, it’s always a pleasure to meet them all.
Read my love for Corbin here.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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