I don’t know if it’s somehow my fault for reading so many of them or the damn writers for writing about it, but here are just so many books about death and dying and the various ways it can go down and bring people down. Stephen Gauer’s debut novel Hold Me Now is one of those books. A hate crime, a killing gets people down in this book. It’s tough. There are complicated emotions, and strained relationships, and loneliness and sex to pacify emotions and drink to further pacify emotions and desire for revenge, for peace, for something to hold onto, but there are no heroes here. Because that just makes sense in hard times. That we can have people that are important in our lives, but no one can save us from our hard feelings. That we have to muddle along. That we have to take responsibility for our feelings, for our actions. So fine, I’ll take partial blame on this whole death book situation, because sometimes the eyes and mind want to read what they want. Sometimes, it’s on me.