Breaking News

BreakingNewsTitle: Breaking News
Author: Michael Murphy
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella/176 PDF pages
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Review Summary: Good writing, but some of the story was an info dump and the romance was definitely second or third behind everything else.

THE BLURB

Coleman Young sacrificed his personal life to achieve his professional goal: chief White House correspondent for his network. While others his age have spouses, children, and personal lives, Cole has only his faithful dog, Riley, and his lonely closet, so his producer hires a matchmaker to help him find Mr. Right.

Forced to do something radical—leave work at a reasonable hour to prepare for his first date—Cole is shocked to walk into his house and find someone there: Marco, the grad student who walks and feeds Riley. It’s too bad the matchmaker hadn’t set him up with sweet, caring, adorably cute Marco—it would have saved him from a string of disastrous dates. But Cole doesn’t know if Marco is gay, and he’s not sure how to ask.

Then the biggest news story of the political year breaks and Cole gets a unique opportunity to make a stand—one that could break his career and maybe do his asking for him.

The REVIEW

I love books about US politics even if the main character is not a politician but is involved in politics somewhere, somehow, even peripherally. I admit it, this is a weird quirk. 🙂 This book interested me when I read the blurb as I thought it had a lot of possibility and I hoped it would be a winner. In some ways it was good but not where it counted, as the execution of the plot didn’t work for me.

Cole at 32 was a workaholic and did not have a personal life. He spent all his time at his job as Chief White House Correspondent for the network. Unfortunately that meant he had no time to go out on dates with someone who could eventually share his life because he was so wrapped up in his job, researching topics for the job, and the rest of the time he was preparing for being on the air. Cole was the best at everything he did and at the top of his game. He was Superman and then some. He had interviewed Kings and Queens (not that kind, real Queens) 🙂 despots, moguls, heads of major corporations, big league politicians, celebrities, as well as serial killers. He even travelled with the President when he visited foreign countries.

This schedule meant that he had a barren private life. Complicating his dating problem was the fact that he was gay and in the closet.  Because he was terrified of the implications on his career of coming out he couldn’t just call up someone for an evening out. One of the people who knew he was gay was his producer and friend, Sarah who was so fed up with his lack of a social life that she arranged for an intervention for him to go out on arranged dates by setting him up with a matchmaker.

Cole’s weekly dates were amusing the first few times, then they became tedious because they all ended the same way, with him not liking his companion of the evening for different reasons. He went out on these dinner dates because he admitted to himself that he was lonely, with no one to talk to outside of work, as his 15 hour work days left him with little time to make a connection with another man on a social or sexual level. But none of the men he saw during the date nights made his heart beat faster.

Cole’s only companion was his dog and it was through Riley that he met his dog walker, Marco, when he went home early for the first time in 4 years in order to prepare for a date. He was immediately attracted to Marco but didn’t know his sexual orientation so he went out on his dates every week hoping to find someone, all the while trying to find a way to make a move on Marco without being too obvious, thus exposing himself or risking rejection.

I liked Cole’s character although I thought he was a bit over the top. I also had a number of issues with the execution of the plot starting with info dumps about the process of electing a Supreme Court Justice. It felt to me like a third of the book was a lecture on the US justice system as well as the author’s views on the treatment of gays in the country. The romance between Cole and Marco was almost like an afterthought as Cole was deeply involved in the process to elect the next Judge, leaving him very little time for anyone in his life. There was a sub plot between Cole and the President of the United States that was unreal and I wondered if readers were expected to believe that Cole’s opinion (after all he was just a news anchor, not an adviser to the President) swayed the President one way or the other in his decision about his candidate for Supreme Court Justice.

Because Marco was not in the book much I didn’t get a good feel for his character as his friendship and then romance with Cole didn’t really evolve until almost the end of the book. So while he was fully fleshed out, his lack of on-page time prevented me from knowing his character as much as I would have liked. Sarah, Cole’s producer, was a good friend to him but I thought she was really presumptuous when she arranged the dates without his permission and then didn’t take “no” for an answer after he became fed up with them. However he could have refused to go on new dates especially after the first two or three didn’t work out and he realized how attracted he was to Marco.

In the end I was dissatisfied with this book because of the plot issues, the info dumps, and the romance that took third place behind everything else in Cole’s life. However on the plus side the writing was good, so that made up for a lot of what I perceived as flaws in the book and I have no hesitation reading another book by this author.

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

6 comments

  • Hmmmm, was contemplating this, I don’t mind the romance part, hell, if I could find m/m books with tons of plot and no romance I’d pick those any day, but info dumps gets tiresome, maybe if I get rid of my to-be-read pile I’ll give this one a go

    Reply
    • Hi Majken

      I was very disappointed because I had a lot of expectations of this book. The info dumps about how the election of a Supreme Court Justice works were way too much and really bothered me. I was also bothered about other issues e.g. he kept going on these stupid dates – I know it was part of the plot but after 3 dates surely it’s time to turn the page. As for the romance, I couldn’t see the chemistry between Marco and Cole. However your enjoyment will depend on what you’re looking for.

      I also look for dense plots and this one didn’t have it.

      I’m going to email you about a suggestion of a book about a dragon who was not a shifter. 🙂

      Reply
  • Hi Wave,
    You and I are in agreement on liking these types of books so I wasn’t surprised that you chose this one to review. I had read the blurb awhile back, but held off until you said your piece. I guess I’m glad I did. I like info, but not a ‘dump’, and I don’t want the romance to take third place. Unfortunately I will give this one a pass and see what this author tries next. Thanks, Wave.

    Reply
    • Hi Susan

      I wish I could be more positive about this book because the writing is quite good. However the issues I had, especially the info dump about the process to elect a Supreme Court Justice, made me feel like I was in a lecture on US Justice System 101.

      As for the romance, Cole went out every week for about 6 weeks on dates while Marco just hung around whenever he was walking the dog, and neither one made a move, which was frustrating.

      I’ll check out Mr. Murphy’s backlist to see if there’s something else of interest.

      Reply
  • I enjoy a good plot with my romance, so having it front and center isn’t a problem. The romance can take a back seat if the rest of the book is good.

    But not big on pets, especially if the dialog involves cooing/baby talk aimed at the pet or their personality taking over the storyline :nuts: Info dumps can be annoying, but not necessarily a deal breaker if the rest of the book is strong enough to hold my interest.

    The social agenda and author lecture platform? UGH I’ve waded through a couple of those lately (what’s up with this epidemic?) and I’m just done, finished, over it, no more PLEASE. :grumble: I read for fun, entertainment, and escapism…not to be spoon fed the author’s political and social rant. And IMO a nice (realistic) love story goes farther to forward that agenda than a soapbox. :my2cents:

    Reply
    • Hi Denni

      I didn’t mind that the romance took third place in the book because I read for adventure, excitement, tension etc. so the fact that the romance wasn’t front and center didn’t, of itself, upset me. However, what the lack of Marco’s presence in the book did was prevent me from getting to know him as I would have liked to.

      The info dumps were a lot, in my opinion. The information could have been imparted without shoving it down readers’ throats the way it was handled here. I believe in less is more and obviously this writer is either very knowledgeable about the process to elect the next Justice of the US, or he did an awful lot of research, so he wanted to impart that knowledge to readers.

      There was no baby talk with Riley. 🙂

      On balance, except for the issues I mentioned, I enjoyed Michael Murphy’s writing and wouldn’t hesitate to read another of his books.

      Reply

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