Book Reviews

Tigers and Devils (Tigers and Devils 1) by Sean Kennedy at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Athletes/Coaches / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 20-January-2018

Book Blurb

The most important things in Simon Murray’s life are football, friends, and film—in that order. His friends despair of him ever meeting someone, but despite his loneliness, Simon is cautious about looking for more. Then his best friends drag him to a party, where he barges into a football conversation and ends up defending the honour of star forward Declan Tyler—unaware that the athlete is present. In that first awkward meeting, neither man has any idea they will change each other's lives forever.

Like his entire family, Simon revels in living in Melbourne, the home of Australian Rules football and mecca for serious fans. There, players are treated like gods—until they do something to fall out of public favour. This year, the public is taking Declan to task for suffering injuries outside his control, so Simon's support is a bright spot.

But as Simon and Declan fumble toward a relationship, keeping Declan's homosexuality a secret from well-meaning friends and an increasingly suspicious media becomes difficult. Nothing can stay hidden forever. Soon Declan will have to choose between the career he loves and the man he wants, and Simon has never been known to make things easy—for himself or for others.

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press (March 2009)


Book Review

Set in Australia, this is the very realistic story of two men who fall for each other (without wanting to), make numerous mistakes (which they have no idea how to fix), and learn how to be in a relationship that neither of them has any idea how to deal with. Declan, as a football player, is deeply in the closet, but he is not one to stay there if he has a good reason to come out. Simon, who works for a film festival, has been out for years, but he can understand having to be careful in public. As they both find out, understanding what they should do and actually dealing with the fallout are two very different things. Between the pressure of being in the public eye and not really knowing how to make a relationship work, these guys face an emotional roller coaster of epic proportions. And while sports-related themes are not normally my thing, this one sucked me in from the first page and did not let me go. Very well done on several levels!

Simon loves football, is a great friend to those few he has let into his heart, and can stand up for himself to the point that he is lonely because he cannot open up to a romantic interest. That all changes when he meets Declan – except it is not as easy as Simon might wish it is. He is stubborn, proud, and unable to ask for help. It is extremely tough to deal with being a gay athlete (especially in 2009 when this book was written), but as Simon’s story shows, it is no picnic to be the partner of one either.

Declan is an excellent player, even if he does seem to magically attract injuries, especially to his knee. He is tough, proud, and has so far only had clandestine affairs. Meeting Simon changes that, and even though their relationship is not easy (or maybe because of it), Declan knows there is more to it and refuses to deny his feelings. No, he isn’t ready to come out and declare his undying love, but he is willing to come out to his close friends and family and when – eventually -  the proverbial sh*t hits the fan, there is not really a choice other than standing by Simon.

What this novel demonstrates successfully is not just the journey both men take until they reach the point of coming out publicly. It goes on to show what each of them has to deal with once they are out – Declan from team mates and others on the field and off, and Simon from the footballers’ wives and some parts of the media. The writing had me turning the pages to find out how in the world Declan and Simon were ever going to solve their differences, and while it is by no means an easy road, I think it is well worth the effort.

If you like realistic stories about what it is like to deal with being gay and in the public eye, if you want to find out more about two guys who more or less stumble into a relationship, and if you’re looking for a read about flawed characters dealing with their feelings as well as pressure from the media and everyone else who thinks they are entitled to an opinion about how they should live their lives, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. It’s not always easy to read and emotionally drained me, but its honesty and raw truth are gripping.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 376 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 31-August-2012
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle, $19.99 audiobook, $28.99 hardback
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