A Promise Given (Promise #2)

Promise series
Title: A Promise Given (Promise #2)
Author: Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M contemporary romantic suspense
Length: 177 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

THE BLURB

Detective Cooper Thomas was kidnapped and tortured by a psychotic serial killer bent on revenge. If that wasn’t bad enough, Alec Whitley, the only man Cooper ever really loved, the man who left him ten years ago without a word, came back just in time to rescue him. Cooper never thought he’d see Alec again, let alone owe the man his life, so while Cooper might still have feelings for Alec, he’s not sure he wants to open himself up to that kind of hurt.

Now, six months later, Alec wants to discuss their past and plan their future. But before Cooper can come to terms with Alec being back in his life he has to discover who’s killing young gay men before he and Alec become the next victims. Between undercover assignments and startling revelations, Cooper and Alec don’t know if their fragile relationship can survive. Can they solve the case and find a way to be together? A Promise Given is the sequel to the popular novel A Promise Kept.

Promise Series

THE REVIEW

Having read and enjoyed A Promise Kept last week, I was looking forward to reading this sequel which picks up from the end of the previous story. Unfortunately, all the things that hadn’t bothered me too much about A Promise Kept because I’d liked the character of Mason so much, did bother me in this book because Cooper and Alec didn’t have the same dynamic characterisation.

Cooper is at home recovering from the trauma of being kidnapped by a madman stalker in the previous book. He’s also coping with the shock of having the one man he thought was out of his life forever, suddenly back in his life. Cooper and Alec were lovers ten years ago when suddenly Alec upped and left him without notice, leaving Cooper heartbroken. Ever since then he’s not found someone to live up to the image of Alec and so his sex life has been limited to a stream of meaningless one night stands. Now Alec is back and wants to pick up where he left off all those years ago, but Cooper is afraid that he’s going to have his heart broken all over again. To make matters worse, the stalker killer who is now behind bars seems to have an accomplice who has picked up where his partner left off. As the bodies begin to appear, Cooper and Alec have to work together to find out who is behind the killings.

If you are the sort of reader who loves stories where the heroes quickly fall in love then spend a lot of the book either mooning over each other or having sex, then you are going to like this book. If you like your heroes cast in the mould of ‘manly protector’ and ‘damsel in distress’ then this book will appeal to you. To be honest, I like a bit more nuance of character to my books and so I found both Cooper and Alec a bit dull. They meet at the end of the previous book and at the start of this one they are already starting to talk about the events of 10 years ago. Within the first few chapters all is forgiven and they fall into bed with each other. Then for the rest of the book they are obsessed with sex. There were a number of occasions where I found myself rolling my eyes at the inappropriateness of what they were doing. Both Alec and Cooper are supposed to be professionals working on a case together but they behave like sex-starved teenagers: jumping into bed instead of following up leads; kissing and groping each other in front of others; and getting each other all hot and bothered through sex-talk just before they are about to question suspects. It’s a wonder they managed to solve the case at all with the amount of time they spend having or thinking about sex.

Another part that didn’t work so well for me was the big reveal of the mystery plot. It’s difficult for me to be specific without giving away spoilers, but whilst I liked the idea that the man behind bars wasn’t the only one involved in the disappearances and murders of the young gay men, and I also liked the originality of why the men are being taken and what happens to them; I found the big reveal as to who the main villain was slightly preposterous. In theory, yes, this person could have done what he did, but I had so many questions after I found out the main villain’s identity about how it could have worked, that I felt it was just too far fetched.

There were some highlights in the book. Mason makes a few appearances and it was nice to see the continuation of his and Jack’s relationship. I also liked the pairing of the older closeted police chief, John and the young, nervy Ben, and I have a feeling they may be the next couple in the series.

Those of you who like Stormy Glenn’s stories are going to like this one as well. There were too many things in the story which annoyed me or tested my disbelief for me to highly recommend this A Promise Given, but I’m sure there are many readers who will enjoy this story of two men who are reunited after a gap of ten years.

18 comments

  • This is a very appealing cover for me! I got really fed up with all those torso’s on almost all covers! Once in a while a naked man is great on a cover but all the time??? You can do so much in the M/M realm for covers why don’t they do it???

    • Hi Mirko
      I agree, this cover is very striking and a bit different from the headless torso covers which dominate m/m books.

  • Very good review. This one is a best seller over at TQ, and is in my TBR pile, but will be my first Stormy Glenn novel.

    However, I’m making notes for future use:

    1) No quick love and mindless mooning
    2) No damsels in distress

    • Hi Winn

      Ah, but many readers love the insta-love and the damsel in distress, as the fact that this book is selling well would show, so don’t completely write off those things in your writing :).

  • I’ve not read any in this series but I have read Stormy Glenn, more of the shifter stuff. It is pretty formulaic but when I am in the mood for a mindless read they fit the bill. You know exactly what you are getting, no surprises. Doesn’t sound like something I would rush out and buy but if it crossed my path I’d read it.

  • Definitely characteristics of SG’s books. But, weirdly, even though those things frequently drive me batty, sooner or later I’ll probably pick this one up (if just to be prepared for the next one, which could be more promising).

    I am really sick of stalker books…

    • There have been a lot of stalker books about recently haven’t there? Mind you, this book was more about solving a murder and the disappearance of young men than it was about a stalker.

      I’m going to give the next book a go, but based on what we see of John and Ben in this book, I think they will be conforming to the familiar rescuer and damsel characterisation.

  • I liked Cooper’s character in the first “Promise” but he and Alec both lost a lot of spinal fluid in this sequel….and they seemed to take turns wearing the “damsel in distress” cloak.

    I’ve read numerous stories by this author and they’re getting more and more formulaic (as I’ve said before, if you’ve read one you’ve pretty much read them all). But it may be that I see the pat formula since I have read so many by this author.

    Oh well……..great review!

    • Thanks, Sherry 🙂

      I think I liked Cooper better in the previous book too. He worked well as friend and ‘shoulder to cry on’ for Mason, but I don’t think he really had enough about him to carry a whole book.

  • Hi, Jen! This “heroes quickly fall in love then spend a lot of the book either mooning over each other or having sex … heroes cast in the mould of ‘manly protector’ and ‘damsel in distress’ “ describes what may be habitual aspects in most or all books by this author (e.g., My Lupine Lover). I find these things a complete turn-off, but other readers might not mind, or might like it. I’d better skip this one. Thanks for the good, informative review.

    • Hi Val

      I’ve got the impression from what others have said to me that the author has a formula which works well for her fans. That’s great for them, but I’m not sure it’s so great for me :).

  • Yeah I can see why you didn’t like this book. I had issues with it too. Stormy Glenn is an author I have mixed feelings over. Either a book is really good or it is really not.

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous one! Great review though!

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