Book Reviews

Pacific Pursuit by Leigh Jarrett at Steambath Press

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Age Gap / Romance
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 31-August-2023

Book Blurb

Peter has a secret. One he has kept under wraps since he was a teenager. One he kept from his wife for 37 years. It's only after his wife passes away that Peter decides to explore the secret of his sexuality. After a misunderstanding, a young man who is a friend of his son and he knows through his real estate business ends up on his doorstep while at a conference in Vegas.

Danny has no intention of ever being in a long-term relationship again. He was burned badly by his last one. He has his work as a high-end real estate agent to keep him occupied. The money pours in and he always thought that would be enough to fulfill him. Then he knocks on the door of someone who was supposed to be a one-night fling.

With a 27-year age difference, the chance meeting leads them both down a path they never would have expected.


Book Review

How may we evaluate fiction? First, we can try delving into the mind and purpose of the author – assuming some degree of clarity is actually provided to us. Or we look into ourselves, as readers, seeking relationships to facts or some elucidation based on our personal experiences. In between, as an aid, we may find guidance from a reviewer (i.e., a person who writes critical appraisals of books, plays, movies, etc., for publication) or a critic (more i.e., a person who judges the merits of literary, artistic, or musical works, especially one who does so professionally). May the difference between them to be endlessly parsed!


‘Pacific Pursuit’ is a light (that is, thin) exercise in change and sexual discovery of certain men. Being a reviewer-critic-kvetch, I was struck by Peter’s acknowledgement of his own life journey. As a man in his early sixties, Peter is discussing his recent coming out, never having been attracted to women, but having lusted over a lot of men. “I landed on gay.” Being questioned about his feelings for his late wife, he summarily states: “We were high school sweethearts. I did what I thought I was supposed to. Meet a girl. Go to university. Start a career. Marry her. Start a family.” And, wow, my criticism/review be damned – there I was, seeing myself. I lived a closeted life into my twenties (secretly enjoying occasional covert gay sex long before even surrendering my heterosexual virginity). To find a “normal” niche in the world as I perceived it, I married a sweet and safe girl, lived an apparently usual suburban life, quickly had children, and strove to be happy and ordinary. Until my life reached a boiling point… and I came out to her in my forties, several years later falling into instant rapture. Consider it as Limerence: “a cognitive and emotional state of being emotionally attached to or even obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one's feelings—a near-obsessive form of romantic love.” [] Into rapture with a man I met and with whom I’m still sharing phase two of my life. Author Mandy Hale has said it so well: “Change is painful, but nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you don’t belong.”


Now you know something about this reviewer’s bent. Peter had also lived an artificial life, and now is a widower, with an adult son – a former drug dicta, who has married and has his own children. Over time, Peter’s apathy and general ennui has cost him most of his close friends. An exception would be Danny Miller, a young, ultra-successful realtor, who is a business/social acquaintance of Peter’s son. Danny is twenty-seven years Peter’s junior. And while Peter secretly cruises for dates, Danny, with more bravery, is publicly out.


Here we may note how much of Leigh Jarrett’s writing style seems excessively declamatory, delivered almost shot after shot. Example: Danny – “It felt like a pancake morning. … He pulled the fridge open. And bacon. … Then he’d hit the gym. … Coffee and food filling his gut, he headed downstairs to the gym. His trainer would be arriving in five minutes. He hoped he hadn’t eaten too much.” Yuk!


At a realtors’ convention in Las Vegas, Peter is irresistibly drawn to Danny, eventually going to Danny’s hotel room and there expressing his sense of their connection. Of course, Danny acknowledges a shared interest, but says he, Danny, is really only out for sex. Avoiding reaction to their draw of physical engagement, they talk for hours, establishing Danny as a “kind, caring, and generous person. He was perfect.” The next day, sitting together during a convention speech, their mutual flirting is almost an open conflagration, and they leave early for Danny’s room! Starting with a massage, to see what they find comfortable, Danny eventually strips, glorious in his nudity. Peter is struck with the beauty of Danny’s body, particularly his well-described and admired privates. Physical communion follows with a semi-hard cock.


A semi? Who knows about that? Author Leigh Jarrett, of the non-determinate biological pronouns, remains an authorial cipher – perhaps somewhere between an experienced sensualist or perhaps just a well-read student of passion. When an author refers to a character’s semi-hard cock when nearly at coital conjugation, is it one who is starting to tire out, or perhaps it’s from a distaff writer whose masculine sexual experiences are mostly intellectual and second-hand (ha ha). Now, forgive me Lewis Carroll, but -


‘You are old, Father William, the young man smartly said.

‘But still you grow a hard one, just by planning to give head!’


As always, Leigh Jarrett is not shy in showing talent with plot and personae. Quirky, but interesting aspects of the writing justify a quirky but interesting review. ‘Pacific Pursuit’ is a worthwhile story for those who like to engage in reading fun.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novella, 143 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 25-July-2023
Price $3.99 ebook, $18.95 paperback
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