When a Lamborghini Diablo car pulls into the quick oil change shop on Cleveland’s west side, Tom Russell immediately assumes this is his old lover, Wells, a beautiful, wealthy, east side snob, come back to torment him. But it’s worse. The driver is Wells’ arrogant, obscenely rich cousin Law Castille, who invites Tom on a little subtle revenge, accompanying Law as his guest to Wells’ wedding.
But dance with the devil, and there’s hell to pay. Tom thinks Law is toying with him, but Law’s visit to the poor side of a rustbelt town was never about revenge. It was never about cousin Wells at all. Law has come for Tom.
This is a book you will either love or hate. I don’t think there’s any middle ground and here’s why. Everything is extravagant in Force of Law – the prose, Law’s character, his 12 cylinder Diablo, his helicopter, many of the other characters, their homes etc. Did I like Force of Law? I did, but then sometimes I surprise myself. Here’s my review of this book.
Tom Russell works in a garage as a mechanic on the poor side of town and he can barely eke out a living. He lives in a run down apartment where the only things worth stealing are the double locks on his door to keep out prowlers, and his Harley Low Rider motorcycle. His tiny apartment had the bare necessities for living – no bed, just a mattress on the floor and a threadbare couch. A year ago his rich boyfriend Wells, who had been sharing Tom’s apartment for several months, decided that he was no longer gay and had walked out on him without saying goodbye. When Wells’ cousin Lawrence (or Law) showed up at the garage where Tom worked in his big expensive muscle car, it was clear he was not there for an oil change; he was there for Tom. His purpose? To invite him to be his guest at Wells’ nuptials to get back at Wells and his family whom he disliked. Wells’s mother Cynthia had asked Law to ensure that Tom did not do anything to spoil her son’s wedding day and Tom, who was still smarting over the way Wells had treated him, decided a bit of payback was in order and went along with Law’s idea of crashing the wedding.
Tom kept getting mixed signals from Law as he was being outfitted for the wedding at Law’s expense. Was Law attracted to him? Was he making fun of him because he was poor? Did Law have his own agenda? At the wedding it was more of the same as he was introduced to Law’s family members who were actually very nice (I know, I know, nice rich people don’t happen very often in books). 😀 On the other hand, Wells’ parents were stereotypical of most people’s ideas of the very wealthy – acquisitive, snobby, patronising, and delusional – they really were the couple from hell. When Tom saw Wells again for the first time since he was dumped, he realized how lucky he was that Wells had left him, because in the short time since they were apart Wells was beginning to lose his looks, and his attitude mirrored that of his parents. As the wedding wound down Tom had to rethink his opinion of Law who was looking more and more attractive and who was making it clear that he wanted Tom.
The rest of the book focused on Tom’s and Law’s romantic relationship which was the usual Cinderalla story but with a difference, because the protagonists were gay. On the one hand there was the obscenely rich Law who showed off his lifestyle in a very matter-of-fact way, whether it was his Lamborghini Diablo, or his Helicopter that he used once to pick Tom up for a date. In the other corner was Tom, poor as a church mouse, whose only possession of value was his Harley. The sex between Law and Tom was, of course, consistent with everything else in this book, lots of it, very hot, and on a grand scale. There are no condoms in this book so be warned.
In addition to the romance being played out between Tom and Law there were two sub plots, one of which was a clumsy blackmail attempt involving a sex tape that Wells had made of himself and Tom when they were dating. The other sub plot involved a violent exchange with Tom and Law and a couple of gay bashers who thought they would have a bit of fun with them, and were themselves taught a lesson in humility when they found out, to their chagrin, that Law was a bit of a street fighter. The other conflicts in the book were mainly family issues involving money, and the greed of Wells’ family to get a bit of Law’s money without working for it.
I enjoyed Force of Law and thought it was a pretty decent book, despite my initial reservations and even though the characterization of Law was over the top. He was massive – from his shoes, his body, lifestyle, toys and his home. The saving grace for the character was that he was kind and sincere and he loved his family and Tom, so it was hard not to like him. Tom was his foil but didn’t roll over for Law and I thought that he was well drawn. Law’s parents were completely different from Well’s family and I really liked his teenage sister Roxanne. This is one of those stories about which I was very conflicted for many reasons, including what I thought was uneven pacing in parts of the book and a few editorial and spelling errors.
I recommend Force of Law because I liked the protagonists, the humour, some of the other characters and the story.