Review: Dinner At The Happy Skeleton by Chris Chalmers


Published by J. Mendel Books

5 stars


Dan is the kind of gay man for whom the Noughties might have been named. Warm, witty and serially promiscuous, his heart melts at the sight of a chocolate brown Labrador — but with men, it’s a different matter. He’s thirty-nine and as single as ever, not counting the couple he just met online. An arrangement that looks oddly like it’s going somewhere, until Dan gets fired from his job in advertising. With time out and a payoff in his pocket, summer presents a world of possibilities; just as the memories surface of the ex he blames for the thinly-veiled chaos of his life.

From London to Ljubljana, a yen for closure sets Dan on the trail of the man who fed his ego into a shredder. Through an eerie encounter at the home of the Olympiad and a sleepover at the Dutch Embassy, run-ins with a fading porn star and the celestial manifestation of Margaret Thatcher, he ultimately confronts his past. Until, with his Big Four-O rapidly approaching, destiny beckons from where he least expects it.

This book was an unknown quantity when I started it (I forgot to read the synopsis and just dove in headfirst) and I’m glad I went in blind!
It’s the most unromantic rom-com that ever there was, and I mean that in a good way – it’s not full of hearts, flowers and tears. It’s about a privileged almost-40 man taking stock of his life and why he hasn’t found the right man for him yet. He looks back over his past relationships, his current unconventional relationships and why threesomes rarely work out in the long term and all the while he’s starting to get addicted to a hook-up website that offers a quick fix for the fear of being alone that’s starting to creep up on him.

Despite this book being about relationships and sex, it’s not sentimental but it is very funny and there’s something immensely satisfying about a book that doesn’t waste time being coy. Dan, the main character, is a paid up member (heh) of the click4dicks website and he’s not shy about getting what he wants. What’s more – THERE ARE PUNS EVERYWHERE. BAD ONES. If I didn’t already love the book, this would have sealed the deal.
The ending of this book is brilliant and doesn’t suddenly undo everything we’ve come to know about the protagonist, which is one of my pet hates about romance novels.
The writing is witty and moves the story on at the perfect pace, it was the most lightheartedly enjoyable book I’ve read in a while!


**Thank you to the author for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

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