I came across Honkytonk Hero by investigating the favourites posted by 'Tedbiker'; I'm so glad I did.
Technically the story's pretty good, just dogged by the odd typo, grammatically it's fine. The plot is fairly unique, the characters are well drawn, and believable, drawing the reader into the world of 'Joe J'.
The 'Country & Western' basis for the story just passed me by, there aren't many cowboys in North Nottinghamshire! Honkytonk Hero however, transcends that, and becomes a good read without having to have any particular cultural roots to have it make sense. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with Country & Western music, I've even been known to listen to it, but it isn't part of my culture.
When all's said and done though, this isn't a good story, it's a great story! Worthy to be placed in the top ten percent of the stories on SoL.
Read, and most definitely, enjoy!
It is a daunting task to prepare a review of a story by "Joe J". Let's face it: the man is a legend. He has written so many excellent stories (and series) that the author name alone should be enough to get any reader on this site to immediately focus on any new chapter that appears with his name.
"Honkytonk Hero" fits the mold entirely. It starts with enough action to grab the reader's attention. The details are accurate for the time and place, no reader will have quibbles with his scene setting. The young captain surgeon learning just how politely but scathingly the colonel nurse can deal with him is superb. Anyone who has had any exposure to the military or small town style country life will know many of the people and events in this story.
The story is one of almost unremitting "goodness": how "simple country folk" can respond to a newly introduced "good" person and how even the outsider city folks will be brought into the fold. If you don't like this kind of story, no problem - go elsewhere. But if you like a lovingly crafted feel-good story (with lots of jolts and bumps to keep up the tension) this is a great one to read.
Every chapter leaves the reader wanting more, and NOW! It's hard to wait for the next chapter, and when it is posted every other task is put aside until the curiosity is sated. Of course reading the chapter leads to wanting the next and so on forward. Sometimes I think I should wait until the story is concluded, then read it all. I have never managed to put off reading a chapter when it is posted, billable time be damned.
There are a few nits to be picked. Life is that way. A very few spelling errors still lurk. I believe that in at least one place a name has been changed between draft and final, and not followed through all the instances. "Zeke"? Who is "Zeke"?
Grammar is impeccable, other than when dialect is intended. Joe is a person who listened to his teachers when he went to school (possibly because in those days corporal punishment still was approved for those of us who failed once too often) and is still able to put lessons into practice.
But the characters make the story, and even the minor characters are well shaped and we almost instantly have an interest in every one. The sex that does show up is good, sweaty and fun. Not totally gynecological in description, and thank you for that! So no, not a stroke story. But some of the hints do leave us lusting for more.
Joe says this story is coming to an end soon in his blog. I can only hope that when the main story ends he will pick up various of the characters and take them along the various dangling threads that he has conveniently left behind as placeholders to be picked up later. There are lots of them: the sheriff's story, the various students' future activities, the sexy Louisiana "cousins", the outcomes of the budding romances, hell: even the past histories of some of the VFW members.
We'd like to hear these stories Joe. But since we know you are continuing to work on other stories that we like equally well, just keep coming as time permits. We'll be here, waiting.