Title: Locked in Silence (Pelican Bay #1)
Author: Sloane Kennedy
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: September 13, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary M/M
Page Count: 284
Reviewed by: Susan
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
I’ve spent years hoping someone would finally hear me. It’s easier not to try anymore…
Ten years after leaving his small Minnesota hometown in his rearview mirror for what Nolan Grainger was sure would be the last time, life has decided to throw the talented musician a curveball and send him back to the town he lived in but was never really home.
At twenty-eight, Nolan has traveled the world as a successful concert violinist with some of the best symphonies in the country. But success breeds envy, and when Nolan’s benefactor and lover decides Nolan has flown high enough, he cruelly clips Nolan’s wings. The betrayal and ensuing scandal leaves the violinist’s career in shambles and with barely enough money to start fresh somewhere beyond his vindictive ex’s powerful reach. But just as he’s ready to get his life back on track, Nolan gets the call he’s been dreading.
After a stroke leaves his father a partial invalid, duty-bound Nolan returns to Pelican Bay and a life he’s spent years trying to forget. When he’s forced to use the last of his own money to keep from losing the family home, desperation has him turning to the one man he’d hoped never to see again…
Even if I could speak, there wouldn’t be anyone there to listen…
Pelican Bay’s golden boy, Dallas Kent, had the quintessential perfect life. Smart, gorgeous, and popular, the baseball phenom was well on his way to a life filled with fame and fortune. But more importantly, he had a one-way ticket out of Pelican Bay and far away from the family who used love as currency and whose high expectations were the law of the land. But a stormy night, sharp highway curve and one bad decision changed everything, leaving Dallas with nothing.
Because the accident that took his parents, his future and his crown as the boy who could do no wrong, also stole his voice.
Despised for the horrific wreck that ended the lives of two of Pelican Bay’s most respected residents, Dallas has retreated to a secluded stretch of land where he’s found refuge in a menagerie of unwanted animals that don’t care that he once had the world at his feet or that he’ll never speak again.
But when the quiet, bookish boy he wasn’t allowed to notice in school suddenly reappears ten years later at Dallas’s wildlife rehab center in desperate need of a job, Dallas is thrust back into a world he’s worked hard to escape.
Dallas’s silence was supposed to send Nolan scurrying, but what if Nolan ends up being the one person who finally hears him?
Will two men who’ve been fleeing from the past finally come home to Pelican Bay for good or will the silence drive them apart forever?
The first 50% was so depressing that I thought about putting this book aside. But then all of a sudden things were improving and I ended up really enjoying it.
Nolan was severely bullied as a kid. Being a small gay boy in a small town full of bigots was not helpful him in blending in the background. And that’s why Nolan feels awful now that he’s 28 years old and forced to return. But since he feels obligated to help out his mom after his dad had a stroke, there’s nothing he can do about his feelings.
Nolan’s mother and father are not the warmest people and Nolan has no idea what he’s doing back. His mother doesn’t want to hear about them being 4 months behind on the mortage payments and she doesn’t want her ‘city boy’ son talking to her about it.
And that’s why Nolan is desperately looking for a job. But it seems everyone in town believes the newspapers about him stealing a million dollar violin from his ex-boyfriend.
Just when Nolan is ready to throw in the towel he meets Dallas. Dallas used to be the town’s golden boy. He was also friends with Nolan’s worst tormentors, even though Dallas himself never participated. But now Dallas lives out on a remote property where he runs a wildlife rescue center. He’s no longer the town’s golden boy, since he lost his voice in a severe car accident that killed his parents. The town believes Dallas was drunk driving that night.
When Nolan brings Dallas an orphaned racoon baby one day, he ends up getting employed by Dallas at the center. The two spend a lot of time together the next few weeks, but Nolan doesn’t believe he deserves the friendship of someone as amazing as Dallas, where Dallas doesn’t feel he is worthy of even a speck of Nolan’s attention, since he never defended him when they were teenagers.
But the attraction is too great, and the two can’t help themselves but falling for the other one. But of course they live in a town full of small-minded bigots who love to teach both Nolan and Dallas a lesson….
As I said, the first half was very very heavy. I wasn’t enjoying it at all. I got the shivers from the stupid town and I wanted to murder Nolan’s parents. I had no idea why Nolan kept trying and why Dallas was still living in the town that treated him so badly.
But then a lot of things started happening at once and I got more engrossed in the story. I loved the new secondary characters that were introduced and I could see who would get their own book.
I especially liked the last 25%, where we got a very satisfying showdown. It was quite the climax and I made me feel a lot better about this book.
Overall I really ended up enjoying it, despite the tough first half.