Detour (Something in Common #1)

Title: Detour (Something in Common #1)
Author: Talia Carmichael
Cover artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner press
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Buy Link: Buy Link Detour
Length: Novella
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

A guest review by Sirius

Summary: This sweet story about a college professor and a policeman had great potential, but for me was somewhat ruined by tacked-on “conflicts” between the guys.

Blurb:

Robert Berkus’s steady academic life seemed to be an open road until the day he took a detour… right into Officer Miguel Rodriguez’s path. When Miguel helps the sexy professor change a flat tire, Robert is absolutely oblivious to Miguel’s interest. That suits Miguel just fine, though. He’s used to being the aggressor although it sure would be nice to get this sweet and staid college professor to make the first move.When Robert gets his act in gear, the results prove explosive. Miguel wants Robert in his bed and in his life permanently, and Robert enthusiastically agrees—but they’ve already learned that life makes detours. Sometimes it takes love a little courage to arrive at its chosen destination.

Review:

College professor Robert and police officer Miguel meet by accident when Robert is running a red light because he is late to meet his friend Alex for dinner and he also ends up with the flat tire. Miguel helps him with the flat tire and instead of giving him a ticket, gives him a warning about running the red light.  Robert is instantly attracted but decides that Miguel is straight (not sure for what reason) and nothing can happen between them. The same evening Robert sees Miguel again in the restaurant after he finishes the dinner with Alex. Robert offers to buy Miguel a drink as a thank you and Miguel agrees.  Our guys part ways after the drink, but in a week or so they run into each other again when Robert has to call the police about a suspicious smell on the college campus. Miguel invites Robert to his weekly poker game with his colleagues, friends and three brothers, and Robert accepts. Soon he becomes a regular at the poker games. Miguel is madly attracted to Robert but for some reason decides that he cannot tell Robert about it and Robert has to figure it out on its own.

This is where my problems with the story started, and I had several.

First, there are certainly scenarios where I can accept one guy wanting  to do what Miguel did, but I really need to have a reason for that and I did not notice any here. Was Miguel doing it for fun because he wanted to tease Robert, to flirt with him? I have no idea because besides Miguel wanting to do it “to convince Robert that he is gay and interested”, I did not find any explanation, and instead of making it look fun and playful to me, it made both Miguel and Robert look stupid.

Second was frustration for the characters and for me. Since their first poker game, Robert was spending more and more time with Miguel, and while Robert was enjoying being friends with him, the poor guy was getting more and more sexually frustrated because he tried to convince himself over and over again that Miguel was straight. I was getting more and more frustrated myself and wanted to suggest to Robert that maybe asking Miguel whether he is straight or not would be a good idea.  It takes another five weeks and four days, and approximately one third of this story, to move things along, because while one would think that Miguel is actually enjoying it, I thought he was getting more and more frustrated himself, finally asking Robert when he would make his move.  When this mini-version of the Big Misunderstanding is solved, both men engage in an enthusiastic love making session.

Third, I was not impressed by this first conflict that these guys had to overcome because it did not feel that the conflict grew organically out of who these guys were, it just felt added on. Miguel is out at work and to his family, and Robert is supposed to be a genius science professor (yet he cannot ask the man he is attracted to whether his advances will be returned?) so I had a hard time believing this part of the story. Two other small conflicts for our main couple felt even more added on for the sake of some conflict alone to me, even though I was glad that those events were not based on misunderstanding of any sort. However, something serious happens at the end of the story, a situation that in my opinion had great potential to be a source of real conflict, but I did not feel that the writer even scratched the surface of it.

I do not want to give an impression that I did not like anything in the story; I thought Miguel and his brothers were really sweet without necessarily being Macho Latinos walking stereotypes (Miguel,  for example, does not show volatile temper, thank goodness, though I will admit I could do without his skin colouring being called exotic when he and Robert first meet). The way they decided to help Robert’s assistant Bernie was to me just genuinely adorable, the way I would have expected real people to act if they decided to help fellow human being without injuring his pride. I also liked Robert and Miguel together—when they finally get together—but I just did not feel that the story successfully showed realistic conflicts between them.

Lastly, if you are looking for the story with a lot of sex, this one may be for you; there is plenty of sex in the last two thirds of the story, and for me it was more than enough.

10 comments

  • Thanks for the review,Sirius; it’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one bothered by some of those things. I tried to read this book yesterday, and it ended up being a DNF for me.

    I got pulled out of the story right at the beginning, when descriptions of Robert, his TA/RA, the dept, and the mentor made me go 😕 While I realize different departments and different schools do things very differently, there were so many oddities within the first few pages, I sat there for a few minutes trying to make sense of it all. :sceptic: When I couldn’t, I shrugged and decided I’d just have to work that much harder to suspend my disbelief.

    But then I got annoyed by exactly what you describe about Miguel’s little game to let Robert figure it out. And then Robert’s repeated “He’s straight!” got to me. Like you said, couldn’t he ask? Also, they spent that much time together and there was nothing that made him pause and reconsider? :doh: Dude’s supposed to be a scientist. Even if he’s a socially-clueless genius, as a scientist it should be second-nature for him to evaluate evidence and reconsider his hypotheses as he gets more data. :wallbash:

    That’s when I stopped reading. I never even made it to the sex scene. I just got too annoyed by Robert’s obtuseness, even with Miguel freakin’ telling him he’s gay. How the frack did he manage to get a PhD in science with that extreme inability to see/accept the facts even when they’re stated plainly? Had it been a paper book, I probably would have thrown it across the room at that point. Grrrr. :curse:

    Reply
    • Yeah, usually when I can resolve the conflict between the characters by making them have one minute conversation in my head, I do not think of it as much of a conflict :(. Sorry you could not finish the story Jessica.

      Reply
  • I enjoyed the story. I noticed all the points you pointed out, but I just shrugged and read on. I had finished up an excellent intense story and this story was what I needed to read at the time. I will read the next in the series. Thanks for the review.

    Reply
    • Thanks for commenting Linda. I am glad you enjoyed this story. Believe me, in four years I had been reading mm genre, I encountered only a handful amount of books, which I would actualy argue against reading by other readers. Not that I have the power to make people not to read those books lol, I am just saying that I can count on the fingers of my two hands the books in this genre that made me angry for one reason or another and I would still probably have couple of fingers left. Usually even if I give the book low grade, I am delighted that others enjoyed it, after all review is just a description of what did not work for me and same things may work for others.

      Reply
  • I didn’t mind it, although I did find Robert a bit dense. Half the freaking poker club was gay/bi and he was “no no, they were all straight”. LOL I also found everyone a bit too perfect. But it was an easy enjoyable enough read. Good for a weekend when you don’t want much stress. I did find the storyline with Miguel’s colleague touching.

    It appears to be the start of a series as many other gay characters were introduced including Roberts’ ex/best friend, and his assistant and some of Miguel’s brothers, so I will probably follow-up to see their stories. I was particularly interested in the hints thrown out about his best friend and his story.

    Reply
    • I am glad you enjoyed the story Tam, I thought story with Miguel’s colleague was touching, but I expected something more to come up out of it – some conflict for Robert and Miguel. You could be right and it is the start of the series for the reasons you described. I may follow up or not, not sure yet.

      Reply
  • Very insightful review, Sirius! Conflict can be so hard to do. It sounds as if this one might have worked better if Miguel, as a cop, had felt he needed to keep his sexual orientation a secret. I’m still curious about this story, and may give it a try. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks Val, there were parts of the story I really liked, let me know what you think if you decide to give it a try. I think you are right, it may have worked better for me if Miguel had that or any other reason to keep his orientation a secret.

      Reply
  • Thanks Sirius, I had been considering this one but I think the things that bugged you would bug me too so I’ll give this one a miss. Thanks for helping me decide!

    Reply

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