Title: How to Save a Life (The Haven / Book 1)
Author: Sloan Parker
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance / Mystery / Suspense
Length: Long Novel
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: An over excited plot and deliberately out of balance characters interfered with the flow of this story for me.
Blurb: Reporter Kevin Price has a knack for tripping over his own feet. And everyone else’s. He’s in over his head undercover at the Haven, a swanky gay sex club, determined to find out why members of the club keep vanishing. Five minutes inside and he can no longer deny the truth about his sexuality. He turns to the one man he can’t get out of his head, the sexy ex-cop handling security. Too bad Kevin doesn’t trust cops. Not since the only night he let himself be with another man.
Walter Simon doesn’t do the club scene anymore. Not since he found love and lost it. That doesn’t mean he’ll let anyone hurt more innocent gay men. Even if that means going head-to-head with the klutzy, closeted, much-younger reporter. Kevin has information about the disappearances. Better to keep him close. And safe.
Neither is at the club to hook up or fall in love. Now they must work together amid their growing passion in order to uncover the truth before more men disappear.
The Haven Series
More was one of the first threesome romances that I read and I enjoyed the complicated relationship side of the novel very much. Though I found the side issue Luke had with his father, unbelievable and melodramatic. So I was interested to read this novel to see how a more prominent suspenseful plot worked this time round.
I was engaged by the dramatic plot of young men disappearing from the nicely named sex club Haven, and cared about the victims as the glimpses we see of them made them more than throwaway victims. In particular Seth is well developed into a real character. However while I found the action scenes kept my attention, I didn’t really believe in the situation. It felt drawn out, over complicated as there was a fair amount of almost saving the day, but oh no, and off we’d go again – with a bad guy who just kept turning up, like a relentless energiser bunny.
The relationship side of a story is always my preference anyway. However one of my initial problems was with Walter Simon, one of the main men here who also appeared in More. Probably erroneously I got the impression that he was much older, or at least less of a gorgeous physical presence than he is meant to be this time round. It took a while for my impression of the other Walter, retired cop with unfashionable name, to mesh with this hot guy who is hit on continually at the sex club. The difference in ages between the two guys, Walter at forty eight and Kevin, thirty, but looking and and acting like Bambi on ice, is overused to add an unnecessary level of conflict. We already have to deal with details of a closeted guilty repressed klutz and tortured haunted cop with an angsty past to provide relationship tension. I found that while I really liked some elements of both characters, there was always something else that jarred and just took me out of believing in them together. Kevin was an effective investigative journalist but combined this with being the clumsy guy in comical underpants. This apparently adorable trait also detracted from some potentially red hot sex scenes for me. I also felt that the writer’s determination that Kevin save himself and not be a victim, forced Walter into an awkward ineptness that was contrived.
The element that I most liked was the social set up of enduring friendships between characters common to both books and initially arising from the Haven. This background to the story was very strong and helped ground some of the action. Overall, while there was too much going on here to make this a success for me; the writing kept my attention hopeful and I did want to know how it all turned out.