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Mike Monaghan is the bartender at the Engine Room, a meeting place for the small but thriving community of gay men in Cold Falls, New York. As Mike pours beer, wipes glasses and hears everything, he's also witness to the men who come here looking for what they need--sex, direction, friendship, spiritual fulfillment, and love. People like:
Stephen Darby--As an accountant, he knows many secrets. But Stephen has his own secret, one he's never been able to share with anyone close to him. Being the perfect son costs him dearly, and now it may take from him the one man he longs for.
Pete Thayer--Playing it straight, Pete takes out his frustrations on transmissions and engines during the day, then spends his nights trying to quench his needs through anonymous sex. But once the thrill of the forbidden begins to fade, what will he be left with?
John and Russell--The golden couple in town has the ideal relationship everyone wants. But behind the scenes, their storybook marriage is on the verge of facing some explosive trials that will shake both men completely.
Father Thomas Dunn--More and more the gentle priest is feeling a need to express the secret desires that conflict with his devotion to the church, sending his faith into a tailspin and making him question what he really wants from life.
Simon Bird--He's a fixture in town, an old queen everyone finds amusing and entertaining. Still mourning the loss of his longtime lover, Simon yearns to find love and a place in a culture that worships youth and beauty.
As Mike hands these men their drinks, he marvels at their determination, strength and foolishness. But most of all, he begins to question his own dissatisfaction, pondering what's missing from his own life, and what risks he may have to take to find fulfillment. Looking For It is an extraordinarily human tale of community, friendship, and the search for happiness. With unflinching honesty, keen insight, and his trademark humor, Michael Thomas Ford weaves together the unforgettable stories of these seven men, chronicling their dreams, hurts, heartbreaks, joys, and hopes, while taking readers on an emotional journey to find what it is we're all looking for.
In Cold Falls, N.Y., smalltown rules are changing as Ford's seven gay protagonists make lives for themselves far from big-city gay havens. This entertaining if overstuffed sophomore effort follows Russell and John, who decide to take a break from their sterile, suffocating seven-year relationship; Mike, a handsome bartender at the Engine Room, a cozy gay bar; Episcopal priest Thomas Dunn, who harbors a burgeoning crisis of faith; Stephen, a tax accountant who lives next door to his parents with only chat room fantasies for entertainment; and lonely, mid-60s Simon, whose longtime lover died a year ago. Affectionate Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner gatherings are an excuse for discussions about family ties, religion, gay marriage and the allure of country life. Meanwhile, the friends are pairing off: love blossoms between Mike and Father Thomas, and Russell and John try to fix Stephen up with their friend Greg. Wary Stephen, however, runs off to an adult cinema and gets violently pummeled by a self-loathing closeted mechanic named Pete, who later nearly kills Greg after a bad Internet hookup. Ford (Last Summer) handles his broad, diverse cast with aplomb, and his knowing sense of humor and emphasis on the positive make this novel as warm and inviting as a group hug.