The Lost Boy, the Doodlebug and the Mysterious Number 80

Just finished reading my first romance novel, recommended by a friend. Before anyone thinks I've gone totally soft in the head and started reading Mills & Boon, rest assured that this was somewhat different from the usual tepid bodice-ripper. The Lost Boy is a gay romance that combines elements of Doctor Who with Tales of the City. The city in question is London and, much like Maupin's rolling saga, this endeavours to incorporate a fair swathe of gay history since the War ~ from furtive repression to drug-fuelled clubbing to the inevitable spectre of AIDS. Like so much gay fiction, tragedy looms large and very few of the characters actually have happy lives. The Who element comes in part from time travel, as one half of the romance gets thrown forwards and backwards in time, and partly from the fact that said character is a stunningly handsome RAF officer (Captain Jack, where art thou?).
Romance develops between two contrasting characters, one a stiff-upper lipped, virginally repressed gentleman and the other the original good time had by all. The latter, Charlie, develops from an irritatingly self-obsessed drama queen into a more rounded and likeable character by the end. Whilst neither of the central characters is pagan, they do skirt round such issues as psychic powers, prophecy, spiritual evil and life after death. There is even a brief pagan ritual and a visit to Glastonbury.
Woven throughout this tale of passion and chronological displacement is also a murder mystery, which seemingly resolves only to lead to another interesting twist later. The story ends on an unusual note, and thankfully not the one that I had been expecting.
I don't know as I wish to rush out and read a dozen more romances (I'd much sooner have one than read about someone else's), however I rather enjoyed this time- and bed-hopping adventure, with its plethora of characters who appear and reappear in different decades, all playing their part in the jigsaw. If I had to make a negative criticism, then it would be that some of the dialogue is rather didactic, and I don't recall ever having heard anyone actually speak in that sort of way... though perhaps the author has, and that's why he places the speeches in his characters' mouths? Anyway, I shall be keeping an eye open for future novels by Stevie Henden ~ he is a pagan himself, so maybe the next one will be full-on mythical?


  1. Hi Robin thanks again for posting your very thoughtful review....In response to you comment about some of the dialogue , I sincerely hope that I dont personally talk like that ! ( I would be horrified) Perhaps though its for my partner and friends to judge. :-D :-D This was a specific style that I chose to adopt and its up to you of course and my other readers to judge if that works or not !. However your comment and feedback is valued, its only by getting good and bad comments that anybody creative can refine their stuff I think...I like you're view about Charlie, he's quite a complex character and as many of my readers have said they are not sure how much they actually like him !
    ( neither do I BTW) ...However as you say he does get rather more rounded at the end of the book and for me this is one of the points of the storey. firstly, one of the reasons revealed towards the end as to why he was a rather damaged soul, and secondly how the spiritual journey of a damaged soul may be transformed by remarkable events and love......
    I hope its OK with you if I post the books Facebook Link here ? so anyone who may be interested can check it out a bit more. thanks again

  2. It's always a challenge in fiction, getting enough of the plot (or philosophy) across without the dialogue becoming too unnatural. My own stories tend to be quite dialogue-heavy, which can be problematic at times.
    I look forward to reading your next novel.


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