The Book of Daniel (St. Nacho’s #4)

Title: The Book of Daniel
Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Maxfield Publishing
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Buy Link: N/A
Genre: M/M contemporary romance
Length: Novel Plus
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

Summary Review:
Book four in the St Nacho’s series follows Cam and Daniel as they find love. A good read but I didn’t warm a great deal to Daniel.

THE BLURB

Daniel Livingston is finally free. He’s come clean about his passionless marriage and moved to St. Nacho’s where he can spend time with his brother. Now he’s ready explore the endless sexual buffet being hot and rich and single has to offer.

The problem is a firefighter named Cameron Rooney who haunts his every waking thought and half his dreams. No doubt about it. Cam is going to require a level of honesty Dan has never before considered, and in order to achieve that, he will have to turn his life inside out. Coming clean to his ex-wife will cost him money, doing right by St. Nacho’s will anger his business partner, and exploring a painful family secret will hurt the one person Dan has sworn to protect.

Cam’s faith in Dan is tested and Dan’s belief in himself is nearly non-existent. In the end, forging a new path could cost him everything or net him the most important score of his life in The Book Of Daniel.

St. Nacho’s Series

THE REVIEW

I’m completely hooked on the St Nacho’s series by this author and was greatly anticipating this fourth book. It follows Jake’s (or Yasha’s) brother Daniel who at the end of the previous book had arrived in St Nacho’s and announced that he was gay and divorcing his wife. Then both he and Jake are involved in an accident where Daniel’s hand is crushed. As this book starts the story is a few months on from that accident. Daniel’s hand is recovering but he doesn’t have a lot of movement – something he finds a mix of annoying and slightly revolting; his divorce has nearly gone through with only the legal wrangling to take care of and Daniel is enjoying his life as an ‘out and proud’ gay man by picking up numerous men for one night stands. One person who doesn’t approve of this new lifestyle or Daniel’s selfish actions is fireman Cam, who treats Daniel with disdain. Underneath that there’s a simmering attraction between them and it takes the actions of St Nacho’s own ‘Witches of Eastwick’ to push the two together.

Like all the St Nacho’s books this one is written in the first person, in this case from Daniel’s point of view. What was interesting about this was that Daniel is completely honest with the reader. He’s one of these guys who is so self-assured that he knows himself inside and out, warts and all, and isn’t afraid to show the reader what an unpleasant guy he can be. In many ways that’s all in the past, as he tries to turn over a new leaf, put his scheming and deceitful ways behind him and try for a life of total honesty. The reader is privy to these thoughts and we see how Daniel tries really hard to take on the new mantle of ‘good guy’. Unfortunately for Daniel, no one else seems to want to believe him, so he spends a good deal of this book trying to convince everyone that he’s a new man. I found this a little frustrating when I knew Daniel was trying hard and everyone else was slapping him down. Unfortunately, there something about Daniel that didn’t gel for me. Despite the honesty, I didn’t like him much as a person and didn’t ‘get’ him as well as I did the other heroes from this series. This left me feeling a little distanced from Daniel as a character – but may not be the case with all readers.

I did like Cam, but really, what’s not to like? He’s incredibly sexy, fit and hunky. Plus he’s a fireman. He’s also kind, considerate, takes his job very much to heart, loves horses and a champion of environmental issues. He’s able to talk coherently about his feelings in a way that would make many men run to hide in the garden shed or garage – which is also the case for Daniel too. Let’s face it, Cam was pretty much perfect, except when it came to Daniel when he turns into this surly, distrusting and judgemental person. If I had a potential lover who was so brutal in pointing out my faults I don’t think I would have stuck around like Daniel does, but they seem to click as a couple and Daniel uses Cam’s harsh treatment as a way to measure himself, meaning that Daniel changes as the story progresses. In fact, it was that change which I liked most about the story, despite feeling a little disconnected to Daniel. His total honesty and refusal to break promises lead to hard consequences, but Daniel is a better character as a result.

One thing I did like about the story and which made me smile was the way that the author uses the town of St Nacho’s. In previous books the town has almost been a character to itself, but in this book that’s turned on its head. Daniel really hates St Nacho’s, finds it claustrophobic and insular. Instead of seeing the beauty of the place, it’s welcoming people and comforting atmosphere, Daniel can’t wait to get out, and most of the scenes where Daniel feels comfortable take place outside the town. It was interesting to see this view, which has been so opposite to other characters in the series, and indeed Cam. It’s a stumbling block in the romance, but I felt that the way it worked out was realistically done.

Those readers who have loved this series so far are going to like this book too. Many of the characters from the previous books appear again, especially Yasha, JT and the ladies from the bakery. If you haven’t read the previous books then this could be read as a standalone but I would recommend you read book 3, Jacob’s Ladder, to really get a feel for how Daniel arrived in St Nacho’s. Overall, I liked this book even if I didn’t connect too well with Daniel. The same great writing, characters, description, and above all real heart that I’ve come to expect from Z.A. Maxfield’s writing is in this book too and I would recommend it as a darned good read.

41 comments

  • *SPOILERS* I think this one didn’t work because of how much I love the others in the series, the expectations were too high. I didn’t connect very well with Dan or Cam but I genuinely cared about them. At times their relationship seems to progress too fast and then it stalls. I didn’t like the disappearance act; it didn’t jive with Dan’s constant pronouncements of his brother being number 1 in his life.
    Overall, I really did enjoy the book but it is definitely my least favorite in the series.

    Reply
    • Yeah, Just about everything that happened as soon as Dan disappeared seemed rather disjointed. I thought it odd that his brother was supposed to be so important then he just leaves for an extended period of time. Maybe he though all was well since Jacob was married, but still, it made me wonder.

      Reply
    • Hi Nolagal & Issa
      Yes, I can see what you mean about Daniel leaving Jake towards the end. I saw it that Daniel knew that he could never live or be happy in St Nacho’s so it didn’t matter if he disappeared, especially since Jake had JT. However, I can see that it was also slightly out of character.

      Reply
  • Thanks for a great review, Jen. I am very eager to read it and figure out where I belong in the whole Edward/Jac…er, I mean Daniel/Cam debate. 🙂 I love this series and re-read it recently not even realizing a new book was due out.

    Reply
  • I liked Daniel’s character. I didn’t really feel the emotional attraction between the two MC’s though. I also read this book soon after Nilcoles post on– too much narration not enough action. This book fit that niche for me. I think I’m going to read it again sometime just to be sure it wasn’t just my mood at the time.

    One of my favorites from this author is “The Long way Home”. It is a cop story and I’m parial to those tropes.

    Thanks Jenre for the review!

    ZAM is a good writer and I always look over her books!

    Reply
    • Hi Reggie

      Yes, this book was more about emotion than action. Daniel has a lot to figure out in his life and his relationship with Cam takes work and thought. This meant that there was a lot of dialogue, and quite a number of scenes in Daniel’s head.

      I’ve not read The Long Way Home. I’ve got it on my TBR pile though and must get to it soon!

      Reply
  • **might be spoilery** i love daniel. i think that cam was a bit of a prig. frankly, i feel like he needed to apologize toward the end for his lack of faith and his not acknowledging daniel’s efforts to grow and be honest.
    –kkm
    and seriously – viva la asshole!
    :0)

    Reply
    • SPOILER

      Not just Cam, but practically the whole darn town! Including Jacob. It really bugged me that we didn’t see anyone apologize, or any resolution at all, it’s just suddenly all better.

      Reply
  • I think this one had to be my least favorite. I was really excited for it as I loved Daniel in Jacob’s Ladder, but that personality didn’t seem to carry over to this one. I never really did see why he and Cam were into each other. Cam seemed alive in Jacob’s Ladder but awfully flat here. Not saying it was bad, I mean “bad” for ZAM is still light years above other authors, but I don’t know, it just didn’t pull me in the way the others did, especially Physical Therapy is (my favorite).

    Reply
    • Hi Issa

      My favourite is the first book, St Nacho’s because I loved Cooper as a character. I could see the attraction between the pair in this book – Cam is soooo good and decent and nice, and Daniel is called to that – but yeah, I can see why some readers would be disappointed.

      Reply
      • The second book is my favorite because of the first book. I loved St Nachos, and really despised Jordan. I was so happy when Cooper left and went back to California. I thought there was no way ZAM could make me like Jordan, and I was wrong. So while Physical Therapy is my fav, it’s only by a hair. : )

        Reply

Please comment! We'd love to hear from you.

%d bloggers like this: