Title: Author: R.J. Scott
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Cover Art: Reese Dante
Genre: Action/Adventure, contemporary gay romance
Length: 187 pdf pages, 38 k words
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: A pleasant conclusion to an action-filled, imaginative, and entertaining series.
Manny Sullivan is the backbone of Sanctuary and involved in every mission. After rescuing Josh Headley, his skill helps Sanctuary to solve the Bullen case. When Manny risks his life could it be time for Josh to risk his heart?
Manny Sullivan is the backbone of Sanctuary. He has his fingers in every pie and when he spots Josh Headley where he shouldn’t be, it is Manny who goes in and rescues him.
Josh is in Sanctuary witness protection after his dad turns on the Bullens. Not only is his dad a murderer but his ex is a liar who was using him for information. With his skill in information retrieval, he hopes to make a contribution to the solution.
What started with the death of Elisabeth Costain is drawing to a close and Josh and Manny are in the middle of it all.
When Manny risks his life could it finally be time for Josh to risk his heart?
First of all, this book can’t be read as a standalone. The overall story around the criminal case at the core consists of so many interwoven threads, they’d be hardly possible to follow without the knowledge of the four previous books. Having read the other books is also vital to sort out the vast cast of culprits, colleagues and couples surrounding the main characters in this one, Manny Sullivan and Josh Headley.
Josh Headley’s father was the police officer who shot Elizabeth Costain (in the first book in this series, Guarding Morgan.) To ensure Headley Senior’s cooperation, the FBI took Josh and his mother into custody (in Still Waters), handing them over to Sanctuary’s witness protection later. While this is fine with Ms. Headley, Josh isn’t one to just sit around and let things happen. Especially when he finds out that his former boyfriend pulled one over him. Seeking retaliation for both his father and his betrayed love, Josh brings himself in peril going where he has no business being. But his decamping doesn’t go undetected by Sanctuary’s watchful eye–Manny Sullivan, to be precise, who immediately goes after Josh on a one-man rescue mission.
During the first few books, Manny Sullivan stayed mostly in the background, pulling strings and providing tech wizardry (I couldn’t help it, somehow Penelope from the TV Show Criminal Minds kept popping up in my head… reliable problem solver and effervescently efficient source of information… ) But now he appears center stage, he proves to be more than a paradise bird IT geek. Manny has a history of his own, one that he left behind years ago when he joined Sanctuary. However, it turns out that it’s Manny’s past, old ties and skills learned back then that now make him the best possible bet to bring down the most elusive Bullen, the senator, once and for all.
Josh’s stunt results in him getting more involved with solving the case; to that end, he’s paired up with Manny. Josh has IT-fu to rival Manny’s, which is a good thing since not very much later, Manny goes on an assignment where he needs to be able to blindly rely on Josh. They turn out to be a perfect match, not only professionally, but there’s also a growing attraction between them which can’t be denied fulfillment for long.
Manny was a character in this series who I liked right from the start, when he came on to Joseph (in The Only Easy Day), and I was happy for him to find a love interest of his own. Having said this, I found his shift from gray eminence to front-line fighter rather sudden, and his past, once revealed, required a lot of suspension of disbelief. Same with Josh–he got amazingly good at what was required of him amazingly fast, even with his educational background. Then again, there’s a heavy element of farfetchedness to the series as a whole. In order to fully enjoy these books, you just have to go with the flow I guess.
I liked meeting the couples from the previous books again; each of those men had contributed to the resolution of the case and now they were all about to be rewarded for their efforts. Some of them also helped bringing Manny and Josh together. Despite their mutual physical attraction, Josh needed to be brought out of the shell he had retreated into after his former lover’s betrayal, and Manny’s protective walls were pretty thick for his own reasons, so getting them together needed a little help.
As a couple, Manny and Josh made a lot of sense. The chemistry between them was hot, and they complemented each other well in many regards. The beginning of their relationship clearly points toward a shared, happy future.
In regard to the murder case, the pieces of evidence that were collected over the course of the previous books eventually came together. It’s up to Manny and Josh to create a substantial stumbling block for the villains and to throw it into their way in a rather spectacular showdown. Although the case is thus brought to a conclusion, the book ends rather abruptly after that, with still some minor questions unanswered.
So for those who seek realism, strict logic and comprehensibility in their reading, this series is not for you. This is escapist reading with romance and eroticism, with enough action to make it gripping and enough depth to keep it from being trivial. It kept me engaged and made me feel well entertained, and for this I’ll gladly recommend the series as a whole and this book as its pleasable conclusion.
N. B: Full Circle brings the Bullen case to a close, but according to the author’s web site, fans of the Sanctuary men won’t have to go without them forever. Jake, Sanctuary’s founder, stepped more out of the shade here, and together with the hints about him in Face Value, Jake is apparently up for a story of his own sometime soon…