3,5 starsLook at that cover. I expected riders in the Wild West, sunsets, outlaws, sheriffs, shiny stars and smoking guns, gruff cow-boys giving themselves over to the delights of rough man love near a camp fire… I got Gene and Forest.Eugene Grey’s got a gun, a horse and a shiny star, but he reminded me that a sheriff is actually a policeman who also deals with non exhilarating tasks such as paperwork and the local pageant of his small Colorado town. We’re in 1903 in America, but it’s not all about Jesse James and duels in a dusty main street!Gene is a smart-ass with a big book collection and a sharp mind. Trust me; nobody could move him out of his role of narrator because he would kill for a good line! Gruff he is not. Crazy about Forest at first sight neither. Quite a moron in the beginning, Marshall Forest O’Rourke is also a southern gentleman, rich when Gene is poor, charming when Gene is rough, barely literate when Gene went to college, insecure when Gene is proud if not out. There’s a little bit of loneliness, a little bit of attraction and a great deal of boldness and trust in his gaydar in Gene’s signal to Forest; and there is uncertainty, wonder, need and a heavy weight in Forest’s answer. “Then, slipping his left hand around my waist, he grasped the right one behind my back. After that, he just laid his cheek against my stomach.We stayed that way for a long time, him in the chair holding me around the waist and resting his head on my belly while I stood there with a bowl of stew cupped in my hands. [...] As if he could read my mind, he leaned forward and kissed me hard on the mouth. It wasn’t a romantic kiss or even a very well-executed one, but powerful, as if he was trying too hard.”I loved this moment, and I minded a little that their quite enthusiastic sex life wasn’t more explicit; it would have spiced their adventures. Besides, this long scene told a lot about their connection and most of all, it told a lot about Forest who is loved all along this story, but also outshined and under-developed, which means that I sometimes felt like I’d had half a story development when his parts happened off scene, and that I was in the dark about his feelings and motivations. Anyway, I got Gene and Forest falling in love and I got their story from Colorado to Philadelphia, through loneliness and companionship, separations and reunions, bliss and pain, bar fights, friendship and love. Their romance is well-written, sad and funny at the same time, telling the ageless story of fighting to be, and to be together with the trials of their time. I got Gene and Forest and was very pleased with them. I recommend “A Shiny Tin Star” to readers who love witty characters and sweet romances that manage not to be sappy.