Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 20 books for adults (including The Thin Pink Line, which was published in 11 countries), teens and children. She lives in Danbury, CT, with her husband and daughter. Like Johnny Smith, Lauren shoots a hot game of pool. You can read more about her life and work at her website.
Women have been known to lament, "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride." For Johnny Smith, the problem is, "Always a Best Man, never a groom." At age 33, housepainter Johnny has been Best Man eight times. The ultimate man's man, Johnny loves the Mets, the Jets, his weekly poker game, and the hula girl lamp that hangs over his basement pool table. Johnny has the instant affection of nearly every man he meets, but one thing he doesn't have is a woman to share his life with, and he wants that desperately. When Johnny meets District Attorney Helen Troy, he decides to renounce his bro- magnet ways in order to impress her. With the aid and advice of his friends and family, soon he's transforming his wardrobe, buying throw pillows, ditching the hula girl lamp, getting a cat and even changing his name to the more mature-sounding John. And through it all, he's pretending to have no interest in sports, which Helen claims to abhor. As things heat up with Helen, the questions arise: Will Johnny finally get the girl? And, if he's successful in that pursuit, who will he be now that he's no longer really himself? THE BRO-MAGNET is a rollicking comedic novel about what one man is willing to give up for the sake of love.
I've been a fan of Lauren Baratz-Logsted since I read her first book, The Thin Pink Line in 2003. Even interviewed her twice here on CLG [1.8.2006 and 5.26.2010] and have helped to promote other works by her. One thing that endears me to Baratz-Logsted is her ability to develop strong characters who, despite their flaws and annoyances, you grow to care about and want to see how this particular part of their life ends. Other things include her use of comedy, dialogue that pops, and great movement from scene to scene.
In her latest story, The Bro-Magnet, I see all of these things developed--and in a male main character. It's not often, in fact, I have to say it's rare indeed, that I get to read a novel by a woman writer that features a male main character. One of the biggest complaints you hear from readers of authors who tend to write in a character that is not a part of them--white authors featuring black main characters, male authors featuring female main characters, etc.--is that the characterization is often stereotypical, flat. What, for me, Baratz-Logsted has added to her long list of tools in her writer's toolbox is the ability to create a male character that is well-developed, that feels real, that makes you want to smack him and love him all at once. Although plot is important, scene development is important, and I can go on and on here, what draws me to a story first is a real character, and The Bro-Magnet's Johnny Smith is that--in spades. Here, you get a smart, funny rom com featuring a complex male character whose thoughts and actions will endear you to him the further you go into the story. To all of you interested in an engaging, funny take on love from an intriguing, complex, quirky man, you definitely need to give The Bro-Magnet a read!