Title: The Godfather’s Lover
Author: Ann T. Ryan
Cover Artist/Designer: Anne Cain/Mara McKennen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link Amazon Buy Page
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novella (94 PDF pages)
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn
One Sentence Review: A barely mediocre read that disappointed after a great cover and interesting blurb.
Jarod Greene doesn’t know anything about love, but that didn’t stop him from taking an IT intern from the FBI up against the wall in a moment of confusion and passion. It certainly didn’t keep him from asking the wide-eyed intern to be his kept lover. And it’s not like Chris Wilkinson’s job or life was going anywhere. Why wouldn’t he want to be the kept man of the most powerful mob boss in Los Angeles? But Chris Wilkinson is more than he appears, and so is Jarod Greene.
In the City of Angels, where every foundation is cemented in lies, two men whose first words to each other were false are about to find out how far they’ll go to discover the truth—because nothing true comes without a price to be paid in blood, and that’s especially true if you’re the Godfather’s lover.
This is the first book by this author that I’ve read and I think I’ll shelve it under lost potential. I picked it up because of the very nice, understated cover and an interesting blurb, so I was really looking forward to reading about the “Godfather of LA” and an FBI guy who was probably sent in to take him down, but it wasn’t to be. In the end it was a bland, quick, rushed read that lacked depth or character development for me and needed better editing.
I thought it started out okay, with glimpses into each man’s childhood and situations that shaped them — Chris, living in an orphanage praying for someone to take him home and altering himself to make himself more attractive to a family, and Jarod, whose mother killed herself after years of abuse from her cold mobster husband, hardening himself against the world he lived in after her death. The writing felt a little unsophisticated, but it looks like this author has only a few books under her belt (none of which is highly rated, unfortunately) so I was willing to overlook that for right then.
But as I continued reading, I found both the characters and the plot to lack depth. Perhaps this is a result of the short format of the novella, but maybe not. The protags and the secondary cast were barely two-dimensional and none of the aspects of their personalities was developed well enough to stand out or make me care about them. Granted, he’s not the monster his father was, but Jared didn’t come across as the bad-ass he was supposed to be nor did I buy that he was a mafia boss. Plus I had trouble believing that a mob boss of any standing would decide to suddenly change course from seriously chewing out an employee who pissed him off (probably would have killed the dude?) to having hawt alley smexxin. The same with Chris; I never felt that he was this super FBI agent, nor did I even really sense his supposed conflict with what he was doing and the fact that he was developing feelings for his target.
I think most of all that the story needed a much stronger editing hand, and I have to wonder if editors now are afraid of saying to an author “you need to develop X scene more,” “Y scene makes no sense, go re-write it,” or “grab a thesaurus and find more words for Z.” From the pacing, which felt off (weeks or many months go by, or maybe a few hours or days) and overall rushed, to not fully-explored pieces of the plot and other information that was introduced (such as the strange reveal about the death of Chris’ father-figure) to the words used, it all felt like it was barely given the attention it deserved.
A minor, but very noticeable example of this need for better editing is the repeated use of “the man” — or a variation, such as “that man” — before Jarod knows Chris’ name (which I counted to be fifty-nine times in ten pages, and this does not count the many other repetitions through the rest of the book referring to other men):
The man reached for the sachet of lube in Jarod’s hand even as his own hand moved to unzip his pants. Jarod watched as the man’s exposed cock bobbed in the air. The man’s pants and briefs were now around his knees as he inserted his lubed fingers into his hole. Jarod’s throat went dry at the sight of the man arching his neck in pleasure as his penis continued to grow harder, straining toward his stomach.
From undeveloped characters to poor editing, The Godfather’s Lover did nothing for me but feed the pile of mediocre books being pumped out right now.