Title: Hell and Back
Author: Dirk Greyson and Dorian Bane (Narrator)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 11th 2018
Length: 6hrs and 59mins
Reviewed by: Jia
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5
Seventeen years ago, Forge Reynolds fell in love… and had his heart broken. When Staff Sergeant Gage Livingston was brought into Forge’s Army field hospital, temporarily paralyzed, Forge sat with him, read his letters, answered his mail, and formed a connection he thought would last. But Gage was sent home, Forge transferred to a new post, and his letters to Gage went unanswered.
Now in the middle of a bitter divorce, Forge is sick and tired of his husband’s manipulation. He’s almost ready to make any sacrifice to get closure—then he finds Granger murdered execution-style in their home. Forge had no idea about Granger’s illicit activities, but the killers don’t believe that. They think Forge has something they want, and they’re coming after him.
When Forge’s lawyer arranges for professional protection, the last face Forge expects to see is Gage’s. Can he even contemplate a second chance for them after almost two decades, or will hoping only lead to more heartache? Before they can explore the possibilities, they must figure out what information Granger had—that others are willing to kill for—or that possible heartache could become a certainty.
Forge’s messy divorce ends badly with his husband getting murdered and is the cause for Gage coming into his life once more. Nothing could’ve prepared him for that turn of events. Forge has to solve the puzzles Granger left behind to safe his own life with the help of the man which he never forgot and left a piece of his heart with when they had to separate. Both needs to work through their feelings but at the same time it’s a race for survival, his or the murderer’s.
Since Forge has been together with Granger for so long it feels very realistic how he keeps going over his memories and emotions over and over, doubting himself and Granger, how he puts a lot of blame on himself. I also like how the author has them rekindling their feelings and getting to know each other once more, it’s not just a short of who’s fault it is and everything’s good. Forge keeps doubting a relationship with Gage because of his background with Granger and it isn’t easily overcome. However they are together 24/7 and a lot of things happens which urges them closer than they would normally get in the same amount of time.
The story was told in third person perspective from both Forge’s and Gage’s point of view and give us an insight to both’s feelings. Hell and Back is well written and the characters are well rounded and feels solid. The story is intriguing and has enough suspense to draw the reader in, to want to find out more.
Dorian Bane’s narrating flows smoothly and has clear enunciation, his intonation serves to emphasize the emotions although often I find myself distracted from the story by his voice. I appreciate the fact it must be difficult to give the characters different voices but Forge’s and Gage’s voices often confused me since at times they sounded alike to me; the deep and throaty voice of Forge at times lightened while Gage’s deepened. I wasn’t won over by Forge’s voice since I found it too deep and throaty for my taste.
The police and other details in the story feels realistic and the plot is good and well thought out, the relationships and the mystery of Granger’s death intertwines into a story where there’s always something going on. Therefore I’d say those who like mystery and relationship stories are going to be the most happy with this story. I really like how well the author portrayed and described Forge’s and Gage’s feelings, as well as everything around them.