Book Review – Calico by Dorien Grey

Genre: Historical Gay Romance / Western
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: Zumaya Publications, LLC (October 2, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193413533X
ISBN-13: 978-1934135334

About the book:

“It seemed like a simple job — guide Josh and Sarah to Bow Ridge to live with their aunt until they reached their 18th birthday. It was what their aunt Rebecca wanted, and with their uncle Dan murdered in cold blood for no reason anyone can fathom, the best choice Calico Ramsey thought he could make.

But someone wants them dead, which makes no sense to Calico. Neither do the feelings aroused by the nearness of the handsome young man from Chicago–feelings that seem to be returned, and nothing in his past has prepared him for either.”


Hey, how’s this for a novel idea? A gay book that actually focuses on the story AND there’s nary a sex scene in sight! Maybe this is geared for the Young Adult market? Whatever the reason for the PG rating, I appreciated it. This turned out to be a really sweet and romantic story that’s set in the wild wild west with a heroic cowboy at its heart.

First, did no one in Dorien Grey’s camp have eyes? Whoever thought that cover was great should be fired! If there ever was a turn-off cover, this gets top prize! Even just a photo of a rearing horse or something generic would be better.

Calico Ramsay is not the stereotypical macho cowboy guy who we grew up watching on teevee – he is gay for one, and his social awkwardness, quiet kindness, calmness in the face of danger and wonderful resourcefulness actually made me think of that old tv series McGyver that I see on reruns and my mom loves so much – lol.

Calico is a young orphan cowboy who was taken in by an old cowboy by the name of Dan Overholt. The novel starts with the unexpected news that Dan will be taking in his orphaned grand-nephew and grand-niece. However, events quickly progress, Dan is murdered for an unknown reason, and Calico takes on the job of escorting the seventeen-year-old twins Josh and Sarah to their only surviving family Aunt Rebecca’s home.

This job turns out to be more exciting than Calico had planned for, with the three of them embarking on different adventures (they get shot at, caught at a stampede, get caught in a fire etc…) since someone is actively trying to kill the twins for reasons unknown. Calico tries to figure out this mystery while handling bodyguard duties, and gets more attached to the twins than he’d planned for, with romantic feelings developing between Calico and his male charge Josh. I thought it was pretty funny how Calico had to keep being the responsible one and saying ‘hands off’ to Josh who definitely knew what or who he wanted. There was a creeper element of course since Josh is only seventeen, but nothing ever inappropriate ever happens between the two of them (even when Josh turns legal!) – I think it was a pretty good call for the author to keep the rest of the romance off camera.

I really liked the author’s portrayal of the wild west, and I thought the dialogue sounded pretty authentic and not trying hard. All in all, I was pretty pleased with Calico, and would recommend it for those who like a good old-fashioned and innocent western romance, and are open-minded to read one where the cowboy just happens to be gay.

Other reviews of Calico are found at The Gen Review and Speak Its Name.

Check out Calico and help support Dorien Grey.


~ by RandomizeME on January 4, 2010.

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