Title: Chase the Ace (London Lads #1)
Author: Clare London
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 4, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 87
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Second Edition. Newly single in his late twenties, and bored with his quiet life in a London suburb, Daniel Cross soon discovers the lure of social media. Excited at the chance of tracking down his old mates from a schooldays sports club, he launches a personal quest to find out what kind of man each boy has become.
Dan’s first mistake is chatting online to a complete stranger—friending the wrong Carson brother on Facebook. But Nick Carson isn’t offended and offers to accompany Dan on the trip to find the others. It’s the first step to friendship and something more for both of them.
For Dan, the reunions with the “ Gang of Four” range from startling and heartening to disturbing. Nick’s company is a constant support, though neither of them are prepared for the exposure of personal secrets they’d thought long hidden. Dan begins to suspect he’s really looking for a direction in his own life—and the excitement and purpose he craves may be closer to home than a quest with its roots in a boyhood dream.
After the break-up of his five-year relationship with Eric, Dan decides to track down his friends (The “Gang of Four” – Dan, Gerry, Mark and Alex) from a summer sports club back when he was 16. He finds Nathan, another kid from the club, via social media only to learn that he’s been communicating with Nick, Nathan’s older brother. Armed with Nathan’s old address book, Dan and Nick start off on an impromptu road trip to locate the gang.
Along the way, Dan meets each of his friends … with mixed results.
- Gerry headlines a club act as Dina, a dazzling drag queen, Mark has a creepy “Stepford Wives” relationship with his husband Edward, and homophobic suicidal Alec has married in an attempt to deny his sexuality.
While I liked the premise, the story felt … disjointed. There is very little character development of Gerry, Mark or Alex and although Dan spends most of the book with Nick, Nick’s character seems undeveloped as well. There doesn’t seem to be enough of a motive for Dan to search for his friends from 12 years past (especially since there has been no contact during those years) and for Dan to set off on a journey across England with Nick – someone he’s known for a few hours and some conversations via Facebook – seems odd. I was perplexed that Nick believes Mark’s relationship with Edward is perfectly fine and given the issues Dan and Nick have left undiscussed, the HFN ending seems rushed and incomplete.
I enjoyed London Lads #2 How the Other Half Lives and generally like Clare London’s work, but Chase the Ace just does not work for me for a number of reasons. I give Chase the Ace 2.5 stars and cannot recommend it.