REVIEW: Wasted Letters – Skot Harris

Wasted Letters - Skot Harris

Genre: Mystery / Romance / Vietnam

LGBTQ+ Category: Bi, Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

In 1970, before deploying to Vietnam, quiet Conrad Burke meets freewheeling Travis Reid in a Detroit record store. Their deep but complicated friendship spans the next three decades. Through music . . . letters . . . war . . . marriage . . . and murder. 

(A unique prequel/sequel companion to The Neon Darkness Trilogy, Book 4)

The Review


Travis Reid has worked at the “Jorge’s Vortex” music store since he was sixteen. He loves music and can just about name all the musicians and songs ever made. His dream is to one day own a music store just like the Vortex.

Conrad Burke enters the store and there’s an instant connection between him and Travis.  Their friendship runs deep, and they enjoy life as much as possible. Conrad doesn’t have much time though, as he’s a draftee and headed to Vietnam.  

Travis’s a best friend Ruthie gets them into some fun parties. Conrad is doing new things with them, but seems to adapt with no issues.  After the short time passes too quickly, Conrad leaves his car for Travis to take care of. They write to each other as much as possible, but one day the letters stop coming. Travis is beside himself and has a difficult time finding out about what happened to Conrad. He can only assume the worst.

More time passes, and Travis makes some great strides. His dream to become a music store owner becomes a reality, and he now owns Squares Record Store – formerly the Vortex.  Little does Travis know that his life is about to get turned upside down when the past comes back to disturb him.

Harris is just magnificent in this dark themed, psychological, shocking and suspenseful murder mystery. The author takes you right back to 1970, and the book is filled with references to the music, movies and TV shows of the era. He brings back many of the greatest musicians and songs of all times. This novel will not only bring back the 1970’s but it also has historical mentions of Stonewall and the protests of the Vietnam War.

Harris makes you feel the wide range of emotions that Travis goes through during the many stages of his life.

I loved his best friend Ruthie too she has such a dynamic personality. I also have to pay homage to one of the most interesting detectives, Frank Oliver. Harris also fascinated me with this deeper look into Conrad and what his home life was like as a child, as well as the experience of war that changes a man, and the PTSD that can haunt a soldier forever. 

I highly recommend reading “The Neon Darkness Omnibus” (review here) as it includes  “Wasted Letters” which is also available as a single book and “supposedly” the final novel. All of the other three stories – “Snapshots at the Fontaine Motel”, “The Neon Darkness” and “Suddenly Alive” – have significant connections to “Wasted Letters”.  They are all mesmerizing and mind boggling!

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 


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