SCRAP METAL by Harper Fox
Scrap Metal by Harper Fox
Reviewed by Cassie
Since the death of his mother and brother a year ago, Nichol Seacliff has been working himself to the bone trying to keep his grandfather’s small sheep farm afloat. Nichol had to give up his life in the city, and his dreams of pursuing his studies in linguistics, to help an old man who seems to barely tolerate him half the time. The work is exhausting, and they’re barely getting by. Nichol is ready to give up.
Then a strange young man breaks into the barn, and Nichol’s had enough. He starts off threatening the intruder with a gun, but allows the bedraggled young man, Cameron, to stay in the barn for the night. The next morning, Nichol learns that Cameron is on the run from a Glasgow gang. Lonely and exhausted, Nichol offers to let Cameron stay and hide at Seacliff farm for a while, under the guise of an agricultural student working for practical experience.
Cameron takes Nichol up on the offer. Having someone to help with the work is wonderful, as is Cameron’s unexpected skill with accounting. The attraction Nichol feels for Cameron isn’t so wonderful, especially when Cameron seems to believe he isn’t good enough for Nichol. Nichol’s heart doesn’t agree. With both the law and the gang looking for Cameron, will Nichol lose everything he cares about?
Scrap Metal is an unusual and emotional tale of love, loss, and redemption. Nichol is an easy narrator to sympathize with. He loses most of his family and his dreams all in one fell swoop. Despite that terrible loss, he throws himself into helping his domineering, irascible grandfather keep the family sheep farm running. He never gets a chance to grieve for his family, or for the end of his dreams. In many ways, Cameron’s arrival is a lifeline to Nichol. Cameron may be secretive, and on the run from something major, but he’s also a good worker, good company, very attractive, and gay.
As Nichol gets to know Cameron better, and they work together to save the farm, Nichol falls deeper and deeper for the mysterious young man. Cameron’s character isn’t well defined for much of the book. Through Nichol’s eyes, we see that he is a hard worker, and a good man, but he’s obviously carrying a heavy burden. Harper Fox does a great job of revealing Cameron’s past slowly, in a way that keeps both Nichol and the reader uncertain about the whole truth of his secrets.
The storyline of Scrap Metal is a similarly layered construction. Revelations about Nichol, Cameron, the farm, Nichol’s friends (and former lover), and the gang Cameron is hiding from come at unexpected points. It’s difficult to put the story into one little category box. Scrap Metal has action and suspense, romance, drama, and tragedy. Some readers might be unsure about reading Scrap Metal due to the unusual setting and mixed elements. They certainly shouldn’t be! Scrap Metal had me tearing up, smiling, biting my nails, and cheering by turns, and when I reached the last page I was sad to see it end. I can’t think of a much higher recommendation than that.