Book Review of The Dusty Hat Bar by LJ Hamlin

    Dusty Hat Bar (Book Cover)

    Publisher: Torquere Press LLC
    Image courtesy of Torquere Press LLC
    Genre: GLBT, Contemporary, M/M Romance
    Length: 96 pages



    Noah Kimberly walks into his usual bar, same as he does most Friday nights. It’s surprisingly busy for this time of night, even for a Friday.

    Tonight things are different. Tonight Noah will meet Lennie Boyce, the son of Earl Boyce the biggest ranch owner in the area and Noah’s ex boss. His friend and bar owner Dusty might warn him away from the other man, but Noah’s just not sure he can resist this cowboy.

    Book Review

    The Dusty Hat Bar by LJ Hamlin is a brief and sweet novel about Noah Kimberly and Lennie Boyce, two men who meet in a local bar and embark on a possible one-night hookup that may turn into something more if they can overcome some obstacles.

    Hamlin writes The Dusty Hat Bar in first person, which can be awkward at times. Despite a rocky start, the novel tells a sweet story of family and support even when you don’t expect it. There are some spicy love scenes between Noah, the older cowboy and Lennie, the youngest son of a local ranch owner. Nothing smokes, though. The Dusty Hat Bar has a first love tentativeness to it. The world that Noah and Lennie reside in moves at a slower pace, things take time to develop, even the hookup does not occur immediately.

    The novel is an easy read once you get past the first person voice and the drama primarily centers around Lennie and his family’s acceptance of his being gay, particularly, his father, Earl Boyce. The new couple also needs to deal with Noah’s animosity towards Earl, who fired him from the Boyce ranch. Hamlin’s secondary characters– Lennie’s sisters and Dusty, the owner of the bar are well developed. Some of the interactions between Lennie and his sisters Annabelle and Heather are fun to watch, especially after Annabelle has her baby.

    I’m giving The Dusty Hat Bar 3 stars for its character development and pacing. The two main characters, Noah and Lennie are definitely well-matched. I might have liked the book more if it was longer and not written in first person voice. I felt like I was starting to get to know them when the book ended.