Review – Work in Progress by John Inman

Book Title - Work in Progress
Author - John Inman
Publisher - Dreamspinner Press
A Belladonna Arms Novel
Dumped by his lover, Harlie Rose ducks for cover in the Belladonna Arms, a seedy apartment building perched high on a hill in downtown San Diego. What he doesn't know is that the Belladonna Arms has a reputation for romance—and Harlie is about to become its next victim.
Finding a job at a deli up the street, Harlie meets Milan, a gorgeous but cranky baker. Unaware that Milan is suffering the effects of a broken heart just as Harlie is, the two men circle around each other, manning the barricades, both unwilling to open themselves up to love yet again.
But even the most stubborn heart can be conquered.
With his new friends to back him up—Sylvia, on the verge of her final surgery to become a woman, Arthur, the aging drag queen who is about to discover a romance of his own, and Stanley and Roger, the handsome young couple in 5C who lead by example, Harlie soon learns that at the Belladonna Arms, love is always just around the corner waiting to pounce. Whether you want it to or not.
But tragedy also drops in now and then.

John has been writing fiction for as long as he can remember. Born on a small farm in Indiana, he now resides in San Diego, California where he spends his time gardening, pampering his pets, hiking and biking the trails and canyons of San Diego, and of course, writing. He and his partner share a passion for theater, books, film, and the continuing fight for marriage equality. If you would like to know more about John, check out his website at---- or follow him on Facebook at

I LOVED this book! This is book 2 in the Belladonna Arms series, but it can be read as a stand alone. I am sure a few of the references would have stronger meaning having read the first book, but as I had not, I still adored this book. John Inman is without a doubt one of the most gifted story tellers out there. Everything from his characters to the word choices just blows me away!. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the parts, his descriptions are so spot on you feel as if you are there, staring like a loon at the goings on at the Belladonna Arms. I have truly fallen in love with his writing style, clamoring to read anything he writes.
Harlie Rose has spent the last four months being a bit of a nomad, traveling through 32 states while mending a broken heart and finding inspiration for his next great american novel. After being dumped by his boyfriend Dan for no apparent reason, he had to get away. But now he is back in San Diego, ready to settle back into a life as a single guy. After two and a half years, that journey is neither smooth nor easy.
Arthur is the owner of the Arms, a 50ish, 300 lb. drag queen who accepts who he is and does not believe anyone will want him, so he is gonna be happy being who he is.
Milan Burger is a huge, beautiful, built guy who works in his father's deli as a baker. He is coming off a break up and is quite shy.
Tom Burger is the owner of the deli. He is a lean guy in his 50's. He lost his partner a short while back and hasn't smiled since. He has a heart of gold and everyone loves him.
This story begins in a downpour. Pretty much apropos for how Harlie Rose feels. Harlie is looking to find an apartment since he has decided to set down roots again after his 4 month journey. He finds himself taken with a 1940's style, kinda run down apartment building after watching the biggest drag queen he has ever seen taking out the trash in the downpour. Arthur spots him daydreaming and yells for him to get out of the rain. Their friendship is almost instant. Harlie loves the tenants. Stanley and Roger are examples to live for, Ramon and ChiChi are forward, Sylvia and Pete are going through Sylvia's gender reassignment surgery, Charlie and PJ are kleptomaniacs if they have not taken their meds. There is even a resident cat, who goes by many names depending on who is feeding him. Sylvia is getting ready for the last surgery and needs to find someone to replace her at the deli. When she hears that Harlie is looking for something to supplement his royalties checks from his writing, she gets him the interview. He is hired right away, but thinks Milan, his boss, hates him. After a strained beginning, a dinner party where Tom and Milan both show up to, things start taking a whole different turn. Things are never easy or gentle, until one is true to themselves. After swearing that neither Milan or Harlie are looking for anything serious, the magic of the apartment building gets to work. Harlie had tried to help Arthur find love by changing who he really is, and that might be one of the biggest mistakes he makes. Love isn't always a sure thing at the Arms, and sometimes things can go so far wrong there is no coming back. But life demands it moves forward, and these residents get a big dose of that!
If you love incredible stories, unique characters, beautiful examples of love, tragedy and comedy, you will be blown away by this book. I think these characters will stick with me for some time. Their journeys are so inspiring, so heart wrenching, you can't help but love them. John Inman's amazing gift for stories never ceases to amaze me. I find myself laughing while tears run down my cheeks, his characters just take you on such an adventure, you never want it to end. If you love his books, check out all of them over at You can't go wrong with anything written by him!

Heidi gives Work in Progress

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