Title: A Marked Man (Assassin/Shifter #1)
Author: Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Cover Artist: Unknown
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (Self-Published)
Length: 214 pages
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
A guest review by Lasha
Summary Review: Enjoyable read about an assassin who falls in love with his target, that is marred by a lack of consistent editing and some head-hopping.
Mateo Esposito loves his job. Hired assassin for the U.S. government, he takes lives and he kicks ass with no mercy. When a job lands in his lap that’s just not quite right, Mateo finds himself questioning for the first time in his career. Who would have known he’d be undone by a purple hippo.
Riley Flynn is CEO of Flynn Electronics. Deep in his closet, Riley wonders what it would feel like to be with a man. When his path crosses with Mateo’s, their lives will never be the same.
Because Riley is Mateo’s next target…
This book starts a series about a band of hired assassins, who might/might not be shifters. Not sure because there were no shifters in this installment (you’ll have to wait for book two for that!) When I originally saw the sub-title, I was overjoyed, as shifters who kill people for a living? I thought the drama quotient could be high. And shifters who have another job besides being an Alpha and pack leader could have been interesting and buck the traditional trope in these type of books.
But, this is just your typical closeted gay guy refuses to acknowledge his sexuality until one special hot guy comes along and changes that. The twist? Hot guy is a hired assassin who kills bad people (rapists, murderers, drug dealers). Think Dexter with a gun.
I liked the fact Mateo is not some mindless killing machine/drone for the government. When he’s given the assignment to murder Riley, he begins to question his orders when he realizes that Riley is not the usual type of bad guy he normally deals with. The chemistry between the two men is scorching despite their initial strangers hooking up in a gay club trope and as Mateo decides not to kill Riley, but protect him from the men who want him dead, they actually have a very sweet romantic relationship. I enjoyed that aspect of the novel.
Now to what did not work for me. The head hopping. Sometimes with new authors it seems they want to get every characters’ point of view in their book, but for me more than two POVs just doesn’t work. If we only had Riley and Mateo’s POVs, I would have been happy, but add in some secondary characters, who seemed to be repeating the same things, but in different words (i.e. Riley and Mateo belong together), then the POV shifting did not work in this instance.
Lastly, there were editing issues. Some huge issues that needed immediate corrections. For example, Elm Street is a proper noun and is capitalized, but in this book, sometimes it was capitalized, sometimes it wasn’t: Elm street. Along with a lot of other punctuation and grammar problems, it sometimes threw me out of my head-space when I was reading the novel. On the up-side, before you decide not to buy it because of the lack of editing, from a post on the author’s Facebook, she is heavily re-editing and re-publishing this book, so these issues should be corrected with the second edition.
Overall, I am conflicted. I cannot recommend this book because of the things I’ve described, but there are elements of the story I did like, so make the choice for yourselves, readers. If editing problems don’t bother you, then this coming out story with assassins might be your thing!