Title: A Chip in His Shoulder (Falling Skies #1)
Author: L.A. Witt
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Paranormal M/M, Sci-fi
Length: 84 pages/24,600 words
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5
A guest review by Lasha
Summary Review: LA Witt takes the vampire genre into the future with an unique twist that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout!
“Contract killer” is a fitting job for a vampire, and it suits Liam just fine. Cast down from the wealth and status of the Sky for taking a human lover, Liam lurks in the poor and pollution-choked Gutter, killing to survive. Between his natural strengths and his Cybernetix mods, no mark has ever escaped him.
Liam’s ex-lover Daniel is the heir to Cybernetix—and its greatest threat. Horrified by people less man than machine and the exploitation of Gutter factory workers, he’d rather destroy Cybernetix than inherit it…if his father doesn’t destroy him first.
Years of anger and a heap of mods have kept Daniel and Liam apart. When Liam is hired to slaughter a man in his glass Sky tower, he walks right into a Daniel-shaped trap. Daniel’s father has betrayed them both, and only by working together can Daniel and Liam survive the coming day. They have no reason to trust each other, but as the dawn looms, a bargain that began with the simple urge to live soon reminds them of the love they once shared. Can they find each other again, or will the Cybernetix assassins find them first?
I read a lot of books and not all of them are 5 stars. That is not a bad thing, as I have easily enjoyed lower rated books just for fun’s sake. However, LA Witt’s A Chip in His Shoulder has the distinction of being the first book I have ever rated 5 stars on Gay Book Reviews. So, I guess you could say I liked it.
The premise of the book is that Liam, vampire assassin has been contracted to kill his ex-lover Daniel. However, in the middle of the job, he realizes he’s been betrayed by the man who hired him — Daniel’s father — and so Daniel and Liam must work together to survive. Can Liam put aside his grudge against Daniel for getting him tossed out of his wealthy lifestyle five years earlier in order to save them both?
The novella has a definite futuristic and paranormal vibe, in fact the sci-fi angle to me was more prevalent than the romance angle; but don’t worry romance lovers, there is enough sexual tension and heat between Liam and Daniel to satisfy that craving. Set in a world in which there is a huge disparity between the Haves (Sky people) and the Have Nots (Gutter people), L.A. Witt has created a universe that is filled with angst, horror, and despair for certain segments of society and for others, great wealth and power that is being abused to keep the Gutter people down and under their control.
Now what I liked about this book was the thrill per minute the reader felt as they experienced Daniel and Liam’s dilemma to get out of his penthouse alive. The action drove the plot and propelled you into this strange world of nano-technology and body modification. Then, when you combine that with superb writing (and editing), I was pushed out of my usual dislike for anything in the sci-fi genre to cheering for Liam and Daniel to beat the status quo (and the Sky elite). I was especially intrigued with the world building in the book, the difference between the classes, Sky and Gutter and the technology L.A. Witt invented to showcase those differences. And although some of the world building felt a little incomplete at times, I think another installment in this universe would clear that up.
My only niggle was the romance in the story, which is not at the forefront of the story. Now as a romance junkie, I wanted a little more lovin’ between our two protagonists, but the scenes I did get were enough to wet my appetite and keep me reading. So, while us romance lovers may want more of Daniel and Liam between the sheets, the sci-fi/paranormal/action crowd will eat up A Chip in His Shoulder as it has all the elements those readers adore. Overall, this book is (hopefully) a great start to a new series, but if it does turn out to be a stand-alone, then an engrossing read none-the-less. Recommended.