So this is the final book in the "Home for the Holidays" collection from Riptide. It was the first published, if I'm not mistaken, but I didn't get around to it until now. I was disappointed. Yes, the blurb said that it was angst-filled, and I should have expected it, but my LORD it was depressing.
The story is about two men, Judah and Toby. Both men are homeless and live on the streets. Judah has been in prison for insider trading and when he is released, his sentence complete, he cannot find a job anywhere and soon ends up on the streets where he meets Toby. Now, quite understandably, Judah is negative, down, scared, depressed, angry... all those things. And Toby is the more positive of the two, hopeful from time to time, easier to smile, easier to love. Opposites attract and all.
Did the novella have anything to do with the holidays? Not so much. Sure, parts of it were set around Christmas, but it was barely even a plot point. I guess I was expecting a Christmas Miracle type of thing for these two men. I will admit that the characters were well done, although Gloomy Judah was really starting to grate on my nerves by the time the last third of the story began. And of course, I felt guilty for that because I should have more compassion and understanding for a homeless man and his plight.
One plus about the book was the setting. It's set in Asheville, North Carolina, a place I've visited and it was kind of nifty to re-visit places I'd been.
All in all, I found that while Long the Mile is a very well-written book, with full, rounded characters, I didn't enjoy it much. It brought me down and that was certainly not what I was looking for in a Christmas read.