Title: A Highlander in L.A.
Author: J.P. Bowie
Publisher: Total e-bound
Cover Art: Posh Gosh
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: m/m fantasy romance, time travel
Length: Novella (80 pdf pages)
Rating: 3 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: Gratuitous sex and a pretty much standard plotline made this book fall short for me despite some engaging ideas.
The Blurb: An 18th century time travelling Scot finds the man of his dreams in present day Los Angeles.
When on duty LAPD officer, Darren Holden, is told to check out a possible dead body lying in an alleyway, he finds a man who is unconscious but very much alive. Not only alive, but gorgeous—and wearing a kilt. Darren is sure he knows the man, he just can’t remember where or when they might have met. It isn’t until that night, unable to sleep, that he realises the stranger is a man he’d been dreaming of for some time—a man who had made love to him night after night.
The Last thing Duncan MacGregor remembers is that he was home in Glen Ardor, Scotland, betrothed to Margaret Macallister as a bond between their two feuding clans.
Darren isn’t sure if Duncan is playing a game, suffering from amnesia of just plain nuts, but his attraction to Duncan outweighs his scepticism and he takes him home, determined to find the truth.
Duncan believes he was enchanted by a witch who told him his destiny was not in Scotland, nor to be married to Margaret but to have a life of love and adventure with a man—the man he had dreamt of night after night—Darren.
As much as Darren wants to believe him, his common sense warns him of the sheer impossibility of Duncan’s story. Nevertheless, the overwhelming sexual attraction both men feel for one another leads to a night of passionate lovemaking.
Even then, Darren’s logical mind refuses to accept that such a thing is possible, but when a dangerous event threatens to tear them apart, Darren must be a believer or lose Duncan forever.
The Review: Do you know the feeling when a certain theme in literature or cinema is irrefutably connected to a particular actor’s face and name? For me it’s pirates and Johnny Depp, westerns and John Wayne, and the highlander theme always brings Christopher Lambert’s magnetic, haunting eyes to my mind, together with the Queen soundtrack and the famous quote “there can only be one”.
Unlike in the movie, Duncan McGregor is a genuine, if involuntary time traveler, not a restless warrior who walks time and space like the Wandering Jew. But otherwise, A Highlander in L.A. pretty much follows the classical highlander storyline, minus the swords and the immortality but plus a handsome modern day policeman instead of the beautiful woman for the titular character to fall in love with. There’s even a tongue-in-cheek reference to the movie in there, complete with the quote. I needn’t go much further into the story proper, it’s pretty much recounted in the detailed blurb given above and on the publishers website.
With Duncan and Darren being star-crossed lovers (or rather, dream-crossed as they first met in their dreams) the insta-love was practically a given. For such a short story there was a lot of sex; as for me, some of it could’ve been left out, but others might think otherwise. As for the rest of the plot, especially regarding Darren’s behavior towards the end, it was really quite a stretch–but then again, this is fiction, even fantasy fiction, and not a documentary.
What I liked about this story was that Darren, despite the fated lovers thing, still didn’t swallow Duncan’s wild tale whole and unquestioned–in that he was true to his role as a contemporary policeman who’s gotten around quite a bit–even though Duncan got his bearings in the for-him future world and in his relationship with Darren amazingly fast. Then again, Duncan grew up in a world where fairy tales and miracles were still very real, so I could buy him too. Besides, he was just likeable in his sometimes wide-eyed wonder.
One big plus of this book, at least for me, was the extensive use of Scottish (or is it Scots?). I like it when literary characters use dialect, and here the vernacular made a nice virtual soundtrack to the reading experience, particularly with the historical parts.
On the whole, this book was exactly what the blurb and the denomination “sexy snax” made it out to be, a light and not too taxing read with a touch of humor and a fondness for dialect that follows a familiar storyline.