Novelist Brett Edward Stout has burst into the literary world with a unique story about one man’s journey from being a Marine to finding himself in the world outside the structured military environment he has grown to love. Brad Spicer is a young man who has woven himself a comfortable cocoon within the confines of his life. He’s gay, a former Marine, and he doesn’t really know what to do with the rest of his life now that his tour of duty is over. Then he takes off on a road trip with an older man who assists him in completing his inner soul journey and the end of the story is quite satisfying indeed. There are a few autobiographical aspects between writer Stout and his protagonist, but the story is anything but. Sugar-baby Bridge is a great way to spend a quiet weekend. It’s a nice first novel from an impeccable storyteller and one wants the story to go on after the last page is turned.
Grade: A+
Carrie Parrish, Web Digest Weekly
Brett Edward Stout's well-written debut novel, Sugar-baby Bridge, is an often disturbing examination of one young man's unabashed self-involvement. His self-serving adventures remind one of Bret Easton Ellis' heartless murderers and manipulators - and he might be just as dangerous.
Eric Arvin, The Rest is Illusion
Brett Edward Stout’s Sugar-Baby Bridge is an intriguing story that grabs you from the moment you start to read.  You will not want to put this book down until you know the final outcome.  And when you do finish the book, Stout hooks you in with a preview of his next volume, The Lives Between, which features the main character from Bridge.  
The traits of his characters can be recognized by most – in others at least, if not in ourselves.  You will find yourself thinking “me, too!”  Sugar-Baby Bridge’s main character, Brad Spicer, is a charming, if somewhat deceptive, individual.  Brad is finding his way through life after a four-year hitch in the Marines.  His pretext is fundamentally harmless as he tries to fit into every social situation with which he comes into contact.  We follow Brad on his adventure from his vacation in San Francisco to the posh world of the decadently rich of Lake Tahoe.  Along the way we get to meet some pretty interesting folks and watch as Brad conforms to what he thinks they expect of him.  
Stout’s tale of a young man finding his way without the comforting structure and discipline imposed upon him by the Marines is a fascinating coming-of-age story that should not be missed.
Terence Jackson, Thirty Days and Counting
In Sugar-baby Bridge, Brett Edward Stout reaches into the psyche of the characters with the descriptive finesse of a seasoned writer. We are led through the tangled web of relationships, sex or its allusion, and negotiating the past of both the main character Brad and his conquest (or conquistador – depending on how you look at it) with deft storytelling and a fresh voice unlike any other. Coming to terms with the self, deciding how choices one makes can make or break the spirit, and ultimately becoming more honest with personal reality are just some of the themes Stout confronts in this debut novel. All of this amidst the striking landscapes of steep California streets, upper class communities, rugged mountain retreats and the ferries in between amount to a page turner that compels the reader to know where this bridge is going. I am hooked.
Shell Feijo, Without a Net: The Female Experience: Growing Up Working Class
Worth the Wait
I first heard about Brett Edward Stout and his book. “Sugar-Baby Bridge” about 8 months ago and have been waiting to read it for about that long. My copy came today and the timing was perfect—we are having an ice storm in Arkansas and classes were cancelled so I had a chance to spend the day reading it and it was every bit worth the wait.
This is Stout’s first book and he has entered the world of gay literature with quite an auspicious start. He has every reason to be proud. I started reading this morning and did not stop until I closed the covers. The book caught me and pulled me in—Stout knows how to create characters and they are just like people we know. Brad Spicer, our hero, has just finished his four year tour with the Marines and is muddling his way through life. He is full of charm and deceit but is harmless. In his search for himself, he adapts (or tries to) every social situation where he finds himself and tries to conform to be what he thinks is expected of him. Brad finds that coming-of-age after the discipline and regimentation that he had while in the Marines is not easy. He is vulnerable and it is that vulnerability that gives him his humanity and his insecurities give him his wit and humor.
What is also interesting is that the reader finds himself in the book and he recognizes not only himself but his friends as well. Brad, at 22, is still a kid. Leaving the Marines and Hawaii, he heads for San Francisco because as a gay man he has questions that need to be answered. Primarily he wants to know who he is and where he is going with his life.
Arriving in the city, he is on a tight budget and although he does not “depend upon the kindness of strangers”, he does like to be taken out to dinner (don’t we all?). He meets Ron, some 32 years older than him. Ron is not a big talker but he has a gentle nature and Brad and Ron spend the night together. We learn that Ron is quite wealthy and lives the high life and he takes Brad along with him on a short jaunt but the farther the two are from San Francisco the more aloof and colder Ron becomes and the more Brad is sorry that he went along.
What Brad wants is the stability of a relationship with another man but Ron has trouble knowing who he really is and therefore is unable to provide Brad with what he needs. Brad looks at life realistically while Ron with all of his wealth has never had to face reality and has trouble accepting his own sexuality and Brad is unable to play the role of best friend. Brad needs and wants to be needed and he wants to be open and at home with his sexuality. We don’t know if they are able to work things out because there is a sequel coming and we are not sure whether to hope that things will work out. We identify with Brad but I also identified a bit with Ron (as an older man but without the money). They both need love but are they capable of giving it to each other?
It is not only the story that keeps you reading but it is Brett Edward Stout’s way with words and the fact that the end is open and we do not know yet if Brad will cross the “sugar-daddy bridge” or if the bridge will allow for two way traffic. I love this book and I cannot give a higher recommendation than that.
Amos Lassen: Eureka Pride