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Desert Run

Desert Run - Marshall Thornton Thanks to a Facebook "share" from Kayla Jameth of a blog he wrote on the difference between m/m romance and gay fiction: http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/1549344-m-m-romance-vs-gay-fiction, I discovered Marshall Thornton's books. Impressed by things he said, I bought and read "Desert Run" and am glad I did. The book hit all the right notes of the action, suspense genre. It also includes a "gay for you" scenario (or rather an "out for you", taking into account the POV character's reluctant recognition of his attraction to guys in the past). There is also gay sex in it, love and a HEA.However, it doesn't fit the "Harlequinized" m/m romance agenda. For starters, there is explicit m/f sex at the beginning. This is necessary, because it fits the plot.The presence of this scene has provoked at least one reaction which exemplifies the problem Marshall discusses in his blog. To quote a reviewer on Amazon:"Heavy on the action, but it also has a pretty sweet romantic element:The writing is a little wooden at times because it focuses so much on relating the things that happen rather than the character's emotional reactions to them, but the plot is quite good. I'm afraid that the book might have a limited audience, though: those looking for gay fiction might be put off by the straight sex, and others might be put off by the gay scenes."Once again the expectations of the reader as to what they will find in the genre are seen as being a negative.From a quick scroll through Goodreads booklists of males who I know are gay, many are not averse to reading books with heterosexual characters, so it's not the guys who might be put off by the straight sex scene. Which only leaves the females. In real life, many men have had sex with women before becoming "out for you" or being happy to be gay, so why shouldn't that be included in books if it fits the plot?Marshall's writing is fluid with good cadence and flow. All kudos to Torquere for publishing the book as is and not demanding that the sex scene be cut to pander to females who want their m/m girl cootie free. I'll even replace the star I took off for the typos. But, hey, get a copy editor folks...So how to classify its genre? M/m romance or gay fiction?In the blog Marshall states: M/M at its core is about the formation of a committed relationshipA committed relationshp develops but this happens rather than being sought after, a by-product of the plot rather than the plot. So this might tend to swing it away from m/m romance. Furthermore, if m/m romance readers demand emotional reaction to plot developments and insist on no m/f sex being depicted then again it's not an m/m romance.Are these factors enough to preclude it from being m/m then? Perhaps the problem is that so many readers automatically tag the word "romance" after the initials, whether they are appropriate or not. Are the Adrien English mysteries m/m romance? In fact, the story is reminiscent of Josh Lanyon at times without the emotional angst (although there is some). There is a raw grittiness which I think fits the story and suits the characters. They're certainly not chicks with dicks. Perhaps it's best to describe Desert Run as action/suspense with gay protagonists who develop a committed relationship and admit they're in love. That's enough of a romantic element for me.If this makes Desert Run gay fiction rather than m/m romance, then fine, give me more.