Voice for the Silent


Title: Voice for the Silent
Author: T. A. Chase
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary m/m
Length: Novel (154 pages)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

A Guest Review by Feliz

Summary Review: Although the love story was endearing, this story dealt with its serious topics in a way that ultimately made it more a manifesto against animal and child abuse than a romance novel.

The Blurb: Investigating and busting dog-fighting rings is what police officer Julio Herendez lives to do. Defending the innocent and vulnerable from monsters makes his day. So when he meets Paine “BB” Addison, Julio finds himself wanting to save the abused young man from the cruel world he’s also been forced to survive.
Paine exists in an environment where the weak and innocent are exploited for entertainment. The men who use him for their perverted pleasure and fight the dogs don’t care about the physical or emotional damage they inflict upon their victims, both animal and human. Paine lives from day to day, doing what he can to heal the wounds suffered by others, but unable to help or heal himself.
When Julio and Paine meet, it triggers a chain of events that rocks both their worlds to the foundations. But can they also bring justice for the silent victims?

The Review: Paine “BB” Addison had a hard life from the start. When he was only two days old, his drug-addicted mother disappeared, never to be seen again, and left him with his alcoholic, uncaring aunt. Paine’s uncle holds dogfights, cooks meth and prostitutes not only Paine, but also his underage daughters, Paine’s cousins, to every man who’s willing to pay for them. Paine’s only friends are the dogs which he suffers with through every fight and patches up afterwards, unable to save them when his uncle decides they’re beyond healing and have to be killed. Thus Paine vegetates from day to day, too busy surviving to have time for anything else.
Enter Julio Herendez, former cop and now an officer with the Humane Society. Undercover as drug dealer “Juke”, he attends the dogfights held byPaine’s uncle in order to collect evidence against the man.  He has seen Paine from afar but never taken much note of the young man.
Finally Julio has gathered enough evidence, and his department is ready to bust Uncle Cesar’s dogfighting ring. On that day, while the bust is already rolling, Julio happens across Paine who just tries to sneak away a badly wounded dog in order to save the animal from his uncle’s deadly claws. Without a second thought, Juli0 reaches out to help, which results in both the dog and Paine ending up in the shelter of Julio’s house. Not much later, Paine’s horribly abused cousins join them there.
Beautiful, troubled Paine, who not only bears up to the shadows of his past but also takes on the responsibility for his young cousins, trying to help them to the best of his ability, pushes all of Julio’s buttons. But Julio can’t give in to the growing attraction, which to his delight he has reason to believe is mutual.  Julio can’t know if Paine only turns to him out of gratitude, and he has to bear the case in mind, which he won’t let go to waste because he has slept with a witness. Paine, on the other hand, also feels himself drawn to Julio, but although he slowly comes to trust his savior, he is to scared to act out his feelings. After all, he has never experienced love, how can he know if he loves Julio? And he has his cousins to care for, who he is determined never to abandon again. How can he burden all that baggage on the only man who has ever been friendly to him?

Paine was supposed to be a twenty-one year old man, but most of the time he didn’t act his age. Yet, given his horrible childhood, I found him totally believable when he acted and thought child-like one moment and precociously mature the next. He was heartbreakingly brave and a fighter who only needed a tiny little bit of support in order to man up, very likeable and worth admiring. Paine’s cousins were well-drawn too: strong-willed survivor Katie, who deals with her past by bristling at everybody, and muted, shell-shocked Betsy, withdrawn into her own world of brokenness.

Julio, on the other hand – that man is simply too good to be true. He has dedicated his life to the noble cause  of defending  innocent victims, and since animals are the most innocent of all, he has dedicated his life to them. Working for the Humane Society, he has truely become a voice for the silent, and it fits his personality that he goes out of his way to help Paine and the girls, who are innocent, silenced victims too. Apparently, he’s made it his business to collect strays, the human and the non-human kind. I bought that, and also Julio’s taking a stand for the fighting dogs in order to have them examined by experts instead of having them put down on the prejudice that fighting dogs can’t be rehabilitated. But it went on and on along the same line, and his halo never slipped.  Julio showed almost superhuman understanding for the girl’s troubles, never once made a mistake with them, never once lost his patience, not even secretly, in his own thoughts.  Same with Paine,  whom he managed to assure of his loving support without ever disappointing him, always giving the younger man space  and genuine affection alike, letting Paine call the shots, letting Paine decide if and when they’d consume their affection. It speaks for the author’s writing skill that I was willing to buy into Julio’s goodness since it fit him and was exactly what Paine and the girls needed from him, but I lost my patience when, close to the end, Julio thought about leaving his own house and giving it to the Addison kids in order to make sure Paine could get custody of his cousins. No man is that good.

This story dealt with animal abuse, child abuse, neglect, rape, violence, drug trade. A book which makes such serious issues its subject matter is entitled considerable drama. Here, though, the black and white was overdone, as far as I’m concerned.  Personally, I couldn’t agree more that there’s hardly anything worse than child-abuse, and that people can’t go any lower than tormenting defenseless animals, but I got the message around the third mentioning, and grew impatient to the point of annoyance after the tenth or so time.   Serious matters deserve serious consideration, even in a romance novel, but the story could have made its point without hammering it in the way it did.  But, this is only my personal opinion, others may feel differently. Fans of the author may consider this story nevertheless, since it is, after all, smoothly written and a sweet love story.

Author

Aside from owls, I love all kinds of birds, particularly the odd ones. Also dogs, Queen (the band), motorbikes and books.

23 comments

  • Feliz

    You have done an incredible job on the review but this is probably the only book of T.A’s that I’ll pass on.

    First, too many topics crammed into one book. It sounds more like a documentary than a romance.

    Second, I am a huge dog lover and I love big dogs – I had a Doberman for almost 12 years. However, I don’t want to read about dogs being mistreated.

    Child prostitution and rape? Another ‘no.’

    Fourth, I have always been afraid of Pitbulls and they are now banned in the Province where I live – too many kids horribly mutilated or killed. I realize that a lot of this is because of irresponsible owners who can’t handle them, but we have had too many accidents involving the breed.

    Overall this story sounds too dark and depressing for me, so I’ll pass.

    Reply
  • Generally, I’m not too keen on reading about animal and child abuse in general (much less in a romance novel). For the record, I prefer M/M novels with some angst and a HEA. So, I thought I’d go ahead and get this book.

    However, when I read this part of your review:

    No man is that good.

    I knew I wouldn’t be buying “Voice for the Silent.” There’s a difference between a noble protag and a OTT goody-good one. The first one tends to have one or two flaws that keep things interesting. The latter is plain boring to me.

    Anyway, thank you for this review, Feliz. I’m sure my wallet is much happier. 🙂

    Reply
  • I had been so excited to read this as T.A. Chase is one of the very few authors who not only avoid the horrendously false and damaging stereotyping cliches about pit bulls (mainly when an author says somebody is acting like a pit bull, I think being goofy and licking someone not the super tough, dangerous image they are going for, but I digress) but has actually had a positive pit bull that helped a child in another work. Having worked with a few dogs recovered from fight busts, I was very interested in the topic. Plus I have enjoyed the other works I have read.

    However, the book felt too forced and I found I didn’t believe any of the characters or the relationships. The legal proceedings involving the dogs and children didn’t play out as they would in the real world (which I can forgive to a point). I think that with a little less going on (maybe without the girls though I enjoyed them) and making the book a bit longer, it could’ve been really good. There were so many backstories that weren’t explained that I looked for a prequel somewhere. I also that Julio was too good to be true and could’ve used some flaws. I also think I hyped it up in my head which isn’t fair to an author, but overall I was left with the impression that it had potential and it was enjoyable.

    I think your review was pretty spot on to my reading of it.

    Reply
    • I have to say, this book made me look at Pitbulls differently. In Germany, they are labelled dangerous, an have a very bad reputation in general. But the author calling them “Nanny Dogs” made me read a little through the ‘net. My opinion of Pitbulls in general is a little better now (although I won’t exchange my cockers for one)

      Reply
      • They have a very bad reputation for many different reasons but they really are some of the best dogs out there. They score higher on temperament tests and are lower on bite incidences than most other breeds (including cockers). They are very strong and high energy but their greatest attribute is their biggest weakness: they are very human-focused so they are easy to train to fight.

        For more info if anyone is interested: http://www.badrap.org/rescue/myths.html

        I wish you could meet one, that tends to be the only thing that truly changes opinions but I’m glad that the book opened your eyes to other opinions about the breed.

        *steps off soapbox*

        Reply
        • Nolagal, I agree with you on the pit bulls. I think their powerful-looking jaws make them look intimidating, but the four that I’ve known (owned by friends) were very intelligent and had the sweetest temperaments. Wonderful companion dogs.

          Reply

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