Title: On the Clock
Author: Chris Owen
Cover Artist: BSClay
Publisher: Torquere Press
Buy Link: Buy Link On the Clock Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Review Summary: An exhausted homicide detective, a dead body and a computer crimes analyst make for an intriguing mystery and some seriously hot off duty fraternization.
Blurb: Cort Strang is a homicide detective called to a scene where a man has been strangled with the cord from a keyboard — not a pretty way to die. The man who found the body, Patrick Gallagher, is pretty, though. He’s also an off duty detective from Computer Crimes. The two connect almost instantly, and as Strang gets to work on finding out what led to the death of poor Mr. Dinsmore, Gallagher never seems to be very far away.
With a wealth of computer data to wade through Strang welcomes Gallagher into his case and into his bed. Can Strang balance work and pleasure, or is his mind too divided to make either be successful?
Review: Chris Owen delivers once again with a new novella, On the Clock. The story plops us down in the middle of Cort Strang’s life on the police force. With an admittedly short-tempered Captain who seems to be gunning for Cort and the mysterious lack of a partner, one gets the impression straight off that this detective’s current run of cases have not been easily solved, if at all. Along with that it is immediately clear that he’s been running on the edge of exhaustion for a while.
This novella gives us no back story on Cort, but instead throws us right into his current case. Normally, this would really frustrate me. After all, if you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know that I love a good novella and that I feel, equally, that they are difficult to write well, given the fact that one has to unpack a lot of plot in a short amount of space and time. Luckily, Chris Owen holds the reader captive with this one. This story is complete in all the right ways and even comes with the introduction of a potential love interest for Cort in the form of one, Patrick Gallagher. Notice I said, potential. Thankfully Chris Owen keeps this crime story real by giving her characters plenty of lust and only a hint of a more solid relationship to come.
So why did this book ring so true? First, it closely followed fairly solid police procedure. Cort was a cop first, and a lover second. He painstakingly went through each phase of his investigation, giving the reader a sense of the inner workings of how the mind of a true detective works. Don’t think for one second any of that was drawn out or boring. This novella moved quickly, giving you a very real sense of how frantically police work a case in those first 48 hours when it is “still warm” and the killer still within reach.
Couple the exciting and compelling police story with the lust/romance arc and you have the makings of a really solid novella that kept you guessing until the end and managed to have some brief and spectacularly hot hookups between the two main characters. However, the author didn’t stop there. Some quirky secondary characters were introduced, specifically another computer expert on the force and a cheeky medical examiner. They gave a depth to the overall plot that afforded the reader the illusion that they were reading a novel of greater length.
Honestly, this was a fantastic story from beginning to end. Fast paced, filled with lots of action and some amazing hot sex, On the Clock by Chris Owen is right on the money and an excellent summer time read!