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
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.
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
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.