"Where Nerves End" has all of the classic hallmarks of LA Witt's books: delightfully sarcastic humor, detailed characters, and an excellent plot. It's a wonderful book, one that I will read again, but it is not her best work. Where I expected her to delve into an issue - coming out, dating while being a parent, or unrequited lust that's growing into something more permanent - she eased off. That's not to say that she dismissed them entirely, not at all. It's like I went looking for a brilliant panoramic photograph of the Grand Canyon and got a picture that was slightly blurry. I could still make out Witt's masterful writing, but it hit me less powerfully than it usually does. And I fully believe that was something that Witt did intentionally. In this book, she edged further into humor, and it was done skillfully and not at all overblown. (Just go read Dylan's reaction to his father's revelation and you'll understand.) To other Witt fans, I would compare the tone of the book more to "Getting Off the Ground" and "Infinity Pools" than "For the Living."
Even with the emphasis on humor, there is a serious quality to the book. Witt's descriptions of chronic pain are agonizingly realistic. Jason and Michael have to walk a tightrope between their relationship as doctor-patient, roommates, and lovers. For Jason, he has to deal with keeping his club open and his house out of foreclosure all the while managing severe physical and emotional pain. Michael has to decide how to be a good father to his son, Dylan, while struggling with finances and his love life.
At every turn you're going to be torn about how Jason and Michael should prioritize their lives. You want them to be together, but you don't want them to self-destruct in order to have a relationship. If you're like me, you'll adore Jason and Michael and want them to be happy. The question is what will truly make them happy? The club Jason loves and feels obligated to maintain after what happened to his business partner, Rico? Protecting Dylan the best way Michael knows how? This is not a money vs. love story; it's so much more than that.
As a footnote: "Where Nerves End" is the first book in a multi-authored series about Tucker Springs, the town where Jason and Michael live. The second book is being written by Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan. Each book is supposed to be a stand-alone novel and can be read separately. "Where Nerves End" is certainly a complete story that you might want to have more of but you're not stuck staring at your screen wondering where the end of the book went.
Update: As of March 2013, there are four Tucker Springs novels in total. Since I have not read all of them, I can't say what order they should go in, but, according to publication dates it is as follows: 1. "Where Nerves End" by LA Witt; 2. "Second Hand" by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton; 3. "Dirty Laundry" by Heidi Cullinan; 4. "Covet Thy Neighbor" by LA Witt.
Based on what I already know of the series, each is a stand alone novel. However, "Covet Thy Neighbor" is about Seth Wheeler, a friend of Michael and Jason who is introduced in "Where Nerves End," both written by LA Witt. So I'd suggest at least reading the books written by the same author in the order they were published.