Release Day Review — Only Say the Word — by Scott D. Pomfret
TITLE: ONLY SAY THE WORD
AUTHOR: SCOTT D POMFRET
PUBLISHER: NINE STAR PRESS
RELEASE DATE: MAY 16, 2016
ISBN: : 978-1-91153-49-8 | PAGES: 330 (Novel) | TAGS: MM Fiction
BUY LINKS: Nine Star Press, Ltd.
Can a man be Catholic and gay and still true to himself and his lover? Colm Flaherty sets out to do it. Rejoining the Church, Colm discovers a gift for speaking at Mass that puts wounded people at peace. Miracles and visions abound. Colm is hailed as a “gay saint.”
But the more Colm brings peace to the parish, the more gritty Boston grows ugly around him: The Commonwealth is rocked by violent political division over gay marriage, his relationship with his older atheist boyfriend is undermined by devotion to a Church that devalues their love, the Archbishop wants to sell the Franciscan chapel to the highest bidder, and there’s an abused former altar boy out there who has determined that he can win redemption by assassinating Colm in the midst of Mass.
When Colm is shot, all Boston’s tension comes to a boil, and extremists of every kind clash. His would-be assassin escapes, the Archbishop and Mayor only contribute to the culture wars, and Colm’s ex-boyfriend is torn between his grieving and his commitment to gay liberation. The would-be assassin makes a second attempt on Colm’s life, and only a single disgraced priest stands between them and has a chance to preserve Colm for another day.
— Jeffery's Review —
Only Say the Word is a gripping novel set in Boston during the early years of the 21st Century, and tells the story of Colm Flaherty, a gay man who is struggling with his faith against a backdrop painted with the fight for marriage equality, a Church trying to recover from sexual scandal, the fight against AIDS and the greed of Boston’s political machine. Colm has a gift: the words he reads from the scripture while serving as a lector at St. Anthony’s Shrine transform the lives of all who hear them. When word of this spreads, the congregation grows and the sleepy neighborhood Franciscan chapel is transformed into an epicenter of expectation where the voice of God might be heard.
Told from the viewpoint of multiple characters, the gift of this story is unwrapped layer by layer, as we are offered provocative, laser sharp glimpses into the lives of parishioners, each with their own history, desires, struggles, triumphs and shortcomings.
I have read many of the author’s other books, especially those written with his partner (aka Scott & Scott). This book was very different. Sometimes gritty, sometimes breathtakingly moving, this is not a sweet, easy read. This is not a guilty pleasure book. Instead, this smart novel invites and compels us to think and reflect on the paths taken through life and the impact those paths have on our personal faith and our interaction with others.
This is not a book filled with steamy, smoking hot sex. However, themes of sexual desire, tension, and the struggle between longing and guilt thread their way through the story and the weave is made stronger by their presence. The period between the years 2000 and 2004 is perfectly captured. The relationship between Colm and his lover Sandy Plunkett was well drawn, and the rest of the characters came alive for me as the story unfolded and I got to know each of them.
Did I like the book? Yes, I did. I liked it a lot and will read it again. I will likely read it multiple times. Parts of it stayed in my mind for hours after I finished it.
Did I love the book? I asked myself that question after I finished the last page, and again a day later. My answer is that it perfectly captured that quiet moment between the completion of a prayer, and waiting for a miracle. Intellectually, I know that miracle may never arrive, but my heart and my faith ensure me that the prayer was heard and we’re not alone. Sometimes that’s just as important as love.
If that’s the kind of read you’re looking for, I highly recommend Only Say the Word. You won’t be disappointed.
**MM Book Escape thanks the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review**
— About the Author —
Scott D. Pomfret is the author of Since My Last Confession: A Gay Catholic Memoir, The Second Half: A Gay American Football Novel, and dozens of short stories in literary and not-so-literary journals. With his longtime partner Scott Whittier, he is coauthor of the Romentics series of gay romance novels and the Q Guide to Wine and Cocktails. Scott and Scott reside in Boston and Provincetown, Massachusetts.