This is almost a wrap up book; it's the sequel of St. Nacho's and following the loose strand that was Jordan, Cooper's ex. When St. Nacho's ended, there was hope for Jordan, obviously not to be again with Cooper, but at least to build again a life. And Cooper suggested to the man to come to St. Nacho's, a place that seems to heal your soul more than your body. And to St. Nacho's Jordan comes, but he is not ready to be healed; Jordan is still eating alive by the guilt and he doesn't want to be discharged. I have the idea that more punishment you bring upon Jordan, and more he would ask. This is something that was quite clear in the previous book, where Jordan insisted to live in a town where almost everyone wants for him to go away. It was quite clear in his choosing to be the "project" of a young priest, full of good will, but maybe a bit too devoted to his task. And it was quite clear in the places Jordan chose to frequent, places where the BDSM was pushed a bit too much beyond the safe boundaries of a naughty play (but in this second book this last aspect is barely hinted and it's not an important part of the story).
In Physical Therapy this destructive behavior of Jordan is brought up front from the first moment, when Jordan applies for a job as masseur in a gym, and instead of exalting his credentials, he tries to shadow them with his con past. Lucky him Izzie, the gym's owner, is not easily mislead, and Jordan finds a work and a friend in the same day... and maybe even a boyfriend. Ken is a guy who was involved in a car accident, he was seriously injured and his girlfriend died on the place. The accident was caused by a drunk driver and so Jordan thinks that, if Ken knew the truth about him, he wouldn't have anything to do with Jordan, and obviously Jordan, self-destructive as he is, tells Ken the truth... and Ken doesn't react as expected.
Many people, his family and friends, think that the accident deprived Ken of his future as a baseball professional star: he was leading toward success, with a nice girlfriend beside him; he was the first son and obviously the perfect son, of a perfect family; all was lied in front of him and not real obstacles where on the horizons. Then the accident, and all crushed down... but it were Ken's hopes that died in that accident with his girlfriend or those of his friends and family? What is that Ken really wants? It's strange, but I have the feeling that the accident freed Ken of all those constraints, letting him finally free to do what and be who he really wants. And one of the thing he wants is to be with Jordan, even if Jordan does everything to discourage him.
Jordan believes to be the one who is helping Ken to heal, and instead I have the idea that the one who is healing is Jordan, and Ken is only finally reaching for the life he wants: having no more to bear the weight of being the perfect son, the hope of the town, allows him to be a simple guy in love with another guy.
It's hard to be disappointed by a Z.A. Maxfield's book, she has a faithful and growing readership, and I believe that this one is nicely up to the previous one, St. Nacho's, maybe not so angst like that one, but still a book that will move the sentimental reader. And again a nice setting in the fictional town of St. Nacho's, a place I wouldn't have believed possible to exist till last year, when I went in California, and actually visited those small beach village, developed around their pier and where it seems that the time has another pace than the rest of the world.