Compulsion

Title: Compulsion
Author: Clare London
Cover artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon: Buy Link Compulsion
Genre: Mystery-very lite/Romance
Length: 250 pages
Rating: 3 out of 5

A guest review by Sirius

Summary: Surprisingly disappointing and boring work.

Blurb:

The past always catches up with you. Max Newman should know-he’s been running from his ever since he dropped out of Uni and made a disastrous move to the seedier side of London. Now he’s returned to Brighton to lick his wounds. Though Max believes the club scene is better left behind him, one night he lets his friends drag him out dancing. And suddenly the simple life he’s tried to lead gets complicated.

At Compulsion, the Medina Group’s newest hotspot, Max meets Seve Nunez, a member of the Medina management and a man used to taking what he wants. The sexual chemistry between Max and Seve immediately leads to an intimate encounter in the backyard of the club-just the kind of dangerous behavior Max tried to leave behind. Despite that, he can’t help but crave more, and Seve seems just as eager.

But Max soon suspects that Seve may not be the scrupulous businessman he claims. Max has seen the Medina Group at work before, and what he saw got a good friend killed. He’s not sure what future he has with Seve, but he’ll have to decide whether to trust in Seve’s innocence or keep running. The wrong choice could land them both in mortal danger.

Review:

I love Clare London’s writing and I love mysteries, so when I saw the blurb for this book, I thought this would be a winning combination for me for sure. Unfortunately this story did not work for me at all despite the usual competent writing from this author.

I am sorry to say it, but this book bored me. For the first 15-20% of the book the main character commiserates about how different he and his life were before he ran to London and how he is now. I have no problem with a character trying to move on from his wild days, or as in this book, Max’s living in London and doing whatever he was doing, but in this book we learn about his “walking on the wild side” from his internal monologue or monologues and I just was not able to connect emotionally, to pity him somewhat for his past. I needed to establish some sort of emotional connection with the main character and I just was not able to. Accordingly neither did I care for Max’s desire to move on from his past as it just felt like lots of whining for the reason I did not care about.

Then when Max meets Seve, I was at least hoping for the beginning of an interesting romance between two sophisticated, flawed personalities, instead what I got read was “want you, no do not want you – too dangerous, but still really want you” and the pattern repeated a couple of times. I did not get what their initial connection was based on. I figured out later on that it was apparently supposed to be based on Max not able to control his urges, but again, it felt as if I was told about those urges, rather than shown. I think what we were supposed to get from this story was that their mutual obsession eventually transformed into love. What I was shown were several sex scenes and Max running hot and cold. I just did not see the basis for forming the mutual attachment and eventual happy end.

The last paragraph of the blurb states basically that Max is starting to suspect that Seve may not be doing business the way decent people do and I actually found this part to be a little misleading and trying to increase suspense which IMO the book severely lacks and that leads me in another big problem I have had with this book:

After I finished reading it I was still confused as to why the book is classified as mystery.

There is a murder mentioned in the book, but at no point in time anybody actually *investigated* it till the police were given the answers at the end, and the bad guys in the book are known to the main character and to the author. Moreover the main character knows who killed the person and at the end no surprise is forthcoming, this is exactly what had happened. Max knows that the Medina group does not do business with clean hands and his bizarre insistence on making Seve confirm that was just weird to me; I could not help but wonder where is the mystery hiding? The big reveal for me never came, as far as I am concerned there was no big reveal, just the confirmation of what we already knew. Maybe the mystery was that the readers are supposed to be confused as to whether Seve himself was involved in the bad things that kept happening? I am honestly not sure, but in any event none of these suggestions worked for me as a mystery part of the story either.

The action picks up in the last part of the story, but still I would classify the last part of the story as some action/suspense rather than mystery kicking in. I also finally was able to understand Max’ character arc in the last part of the story, but again I understood it because Max told me how he felt before, how he feels now and what he would do with his life. I did not get it from the prior plot developments.

I do think that other readers may get completely different interpretations out of this competently written story, but unfortunately I did not enjoy it.

15 comments

  • I read this book last night and really enjoyed it. Honestly, I didn’t know it was categorized as a mystery. I was quite surprised by some of the mixed ratings on goodreads. Everyone has different tastes and I don’t always agree with the reviewer sorry Sirius). This book got a thumbs up from me.

    Reply
    • I am really glad you enjoyed this book Ellie. I do think the correct genre classification is very important. I expected romance and mystery – the fact that I did not get the mystery was one of the main reasons for my disappointment .

      Reply
  • Thank you for this review, Sirius. As a fan of Clare London’s work I was interested in what I read in this blurb, and was seriously considering buying the book. Then I saw it would be reviewed here and decided to wait. I am glad I did. This review describes a book that I would not enjoy reading. Thanks again for your comments.

    Reply
    • Hi Susan, I checked reviews on Goodreads, seem to be decent, so do not trust my review alone, get other POVs. Although I will be honest, I always try to see other POVs, you know how sometimes there are views you do not agree with, but you can see where the argument coming from? So if I can see it, I try to mention it and here I can totally see how somebody can be happy with romance storyline – I can at least see that it could be interpreted differently. Mystery however – I just do not see it, simply because I am still confused and feeling pretty stupid trying to understand what part of the book earned its mystery genre classification.

      Thanks for the commenting and whatever works for you 🙂

      Reply
  • I haven’t read Clare’s latest effort and I will let you know what I think about it. So far I have enjoyed all of her books and I know you’re a fan of her work so this must have been a difficult review to write.

    Reply
    • Yes it was a difficult review to write. I mean I think all of us want to love the book when we choose it for review and I thought it would be a hit with me for sure . Definitely let me know your opinion 🙂

      Reply
  • I have read this author before with great enjoyment, and this is on the TBR pile. We’ll have to compare notes after I read.

    Reply
    • With the exception of couple of shorts I think I have read everything she published and mostly enjoyed it too. We definitely have to compare notes when you are done. 🙂

      Reply
  • Not a good day for reviewers so far…. I haven’t read this author before and this doesn’t sound like the one to try. Thanks Sirius. 🙂

    Reply
        • Keep in mind that since you have not tried this writer yet I am not sure if she will be a hit with you in the first place but try Freeman or Blinded before our eyes (or by our eyes, have to double check the title). I also really enjoyed True colors but you know I love bickering and they bicker lots and not always making sense (I loved it anyway). She has a lot of shorts I love but I know shorts are not your cup of tea. Some shorts are actually quite off the beaten path and wonder into horror – not quite what I enjoyed but I like that off the beaten path attempts are taken in ye first place if that makes sense. I think you should try Freeman.

          Reply

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