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.

OVERALL

41 comments

  • Jen
    Great review. I love books like this where readers are so divided about the characters. lol I haven’t read it as yet so I can’t offer an opinion but as I mentioned to Lady M, already I’m loving Daniel and hating Cam. 😮

    Reply
    • Me too, Wave. It’s nice to see so many different opinions because it shows how much one book can affect readers differently.

      I’ll be interested to see which camp you do eventually fall into :).

      Reply
  • I’m in Team Dan, lol! I loved this character – the fact that he deeply flawed, aware of it and unapologetic, especially in his new man-buffet life and his disbelief in happy endings, and STILL basically decent man. We rarely see characters like this one in M/M. And the fact that he hated St. Nacho’s – perfect! Cam was too judgmental for my taste, especially since he wasn’t very active in that relationship. But, he did come to Dan, so I cut him some slack. XD

    If I have a complaint about the book, that’s the epilogue. It wasn’t necessary. That page space could have been used to give us a glimpse in those four months. Still, I liked this one as much as the first book.

    Reply
    • Lady M
      I haven’t read the book as yet but already I’m loving Daniel and hating Cam because I hate perfect people. Daniel sounds conflicted and confused, just like the rest of us, and I take my hat off to ZAM for giving readers a three dimensional character that we can love or hate.

      I agree with you generally about epilogues. I think they are a lazy way to end a book. I read a book once where the author killed off one of the protagonists in the epilogue and since then I have never read any of her books.

      Reply
      • Wave – I don’t think Cam is perfect… he seems perfect through another’s eyes, but he has his own demons. I believe Cam’s demons are sleeping since his arrival at St Nachos, but several times in TBOD, Cam’s family is mentioned and how he was made to leave his home. He doesn’t go into any detail, but it haunts him.

        There’s a line in there when Nachos is threatened, something about Cam not being able to pick up and start over again.

        Reply
    • I’m glad you liked the book, Lady M. I’m not a huge fan of epilogues either and whilst this one made the book end on a warm fuzzy note, it wasn’t really needed.

      Reply
  • I too was less happy with Daniel in this one, and it probably is my least favourite of the series. I felt the ending with all the land deals was irritating, I like my heros to retain some commonsense along with the whole integrity thing!

    Big tell…I haven’t reread this one, but all the others are regular comfort reads. Hope next one is back on track.

    Thanks Jenre.

    Reply
    • Hi Raine

      I think the idea is that Daniel becomes a bit of a ‘fool for love’ at the end of the book :). I think this book is going to divide readers into those who liked Daniel and those who didn’t.

      Reply
  • I would have given this story 5 stars, I’m in the camp that liked Daniel, & altho I liked Cam also I felt he was a little too saintly (esp after Jacobs Ladder).
    Dan was a fun and different character from the norm and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of he and Cam in another story.

    Reply
    • Hi rdafan7

      I’m glad you liked the story! I agree that Daniel was a very different type of character than some that we see in m/m romance.

      Reply
  • I’ve just read all the St Nacho books through in this past week, but was overall disappointed in TBOD. I didn’t think the story hung together as well as the other books, nor did I think some of the characters were sustained. Where was Cam’s flirtatiousness? The fact that Daniel was lovely in StN 3, but not so nice in TBOD – was probably realistic as he was seen with the love of his brother in 3 but through his own eyes in 4. I seem quite critical, but I had really enjoyed the earlier books and was sorry not to meet people like Sean and Jordan again. I do hope ZAM is going to write some more in this series.

    Reply
    • It’s a shame this one didn’t work as well for you, Rachel. Book 1 is still my overall favourite in the series because I loved Cooper and Shawn so much. I’m hoping there’s another book in the series too.

      Reply
  • Sounds like one where I’m going to have to read it and find out for myself which camp I’m in over Daniel. I wasn’t all that taken with him at the end of Jacob’s Ladder, but I’m willing to have another try 🙂

    Thanks for the review, Jen!

    Reply
  • I actually liked Daniel and found his feelings for St Nachos both refreshing and believable. This book is a great follow up to the series 😀 (More, more!! :great:)
    I had a small niggle: As you say Daniel is enjoying his life as an ‘out and proud’ gay man by picking up numerous men for one night stands… and more 😉 It didn´t click with me how he goes from that to his I´m-all-safe 😯 Maybe I just skipped it (Did I? 😕 I sometimes miss bits and pieces :blush: ). It´s not that I´m obssesed with the issue (and I don´t really need much, sometimes it is so cliché and tiring to read about it anyway 🙄 ) but I couldn´t help feeling one thing didn´t follow the other 😮
    Thank you for your review 😎

    Reply
    • Hi Helena

      I think, for the type of readership that ZAM is reaching with this book we need to know that Daniel is being ultra safe, even when he sleeps around. This is a bit of a theme with ZAM books anyway. Her heroes always use condoms for everything. To be honest, I thought it was a bit too oversafe in this book, but at least Daniel has a good explanation as to why :).

      Reply
      • I get that, but what made me wonder is *SPOILER, SPOILER* the parts when he can´t remember: How can anyone be so sure if he has no idea what´s been going on? :sceptic:

        Reply
        • Ah yes, I see what you mean. Perhaps then we have to hope that he remained true to his basic nature! Although getting a dodgy tattoo seems far more dangerous than a blow-job without a condom.

          Reply
  • Very interesting review, and yet again I can’t help but wonder how differently different people react to certain characters. I’m saying that because I loved Daniel, and I couldn’t connect with Cam that much. Like you said, he’s described as almost perfect, unless the man he supposedly is attracted to is concerned, and that rubbed me the wrong way, while Daniel felt like a real person, with his faults and good character traits and all. In fact, had Cam not have been the one to go and look for Daniel at the end of the story, I would’ve considered their romance a failed one. It was quite tiring to watch how Daniel fought to keep the relationship afloat while Cam stood passively there and did nothing except criticise him (at times quite undeservedly, like Cam admitted at least once in the book).

    Personally, I wish more authors would write characters like Daniel.

    Reply
    • Hi Cat

      It was quite tiring to watch how Daniel fought to keep the relationship afloat while Cam stood passively there and did nothing except criticise him

      I have to agree with you there. I wanted Cam to fight more for their relationship and it was right that he made the effort at the end of the story.

      Reply
  • Daniel was a really hard character to warm up to. He wasn’t apologetic about the ways of his past, just admitted he would do better in the future.

    You were distant from him, but then, so was everyone but the two men he loved the most. I think if there’s a fifth book, and we see a glimpse of Daniel in it? We’ll see a more redeemed man. He was getting there by the end, and people began to understand him more.

    I liked that he didn’t care for St Nachos, but he understood, or at least accepted how those he cared about loved the place, and he wanted to preserve it for them, if nothing else.

    Reply
    • Hi Merith

      I liked that he didn’t care for St Nachos, but he understood, or at least accepted how those he cared about loved the place

      Yes, me too. It was the fact that he saw that and refused to break his promises which made him a good man.

      Reply

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