Title: Damage Control
Author: Kate McMurray
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: June 18, 2018
Page Count: 74,000 words
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
Senate candidate Parker Livingston chose his political dreams over a future with the man he loved. He lives with constant regret about not having Jackson Kane in his life. Or his bed. And when a strange woman is found murdered in Parker’s apartment, Jackson is the only person Parker trusts to help clear his name.
Jackson never forgave Parker for the way their relationship ended. He moved on, built a name for himself as a criminal defense attorney and swore he’d never let heartbreak back in. But when Parker shows up on his doorstep, wild-eyed and handsome and desperate for his help, Jackson can’t say no. Parker is a lot of things, but he’s no murderer.
Forced back together, searching for answers, their attraction returns with a vengeance. Any distraction—personal or professional—could be deadly. The murderer is still at large, and he’s made it clear one of them is his next victim.
Sigh … I’m putting on my CrabbyPatty crabby kitty hat for this review, because while I like so darn many things about this title, there is one huge, major, massive, gigantic (okay, you get the idea) issue I have with the story. I hope this review provides a balanced view of the book, and I leave you to make your own determination.
Jackson and Parker met in college and were together for eight years – years where they deeply loved one another, went from inexperienced boys to men who knew how to draw the greatest pleasure and joy from one another, shared their home, friends and family and planned to share their lives together. Until Parker made a unilateral decision that changed everything and set them on their separate ways. They are brought back together when senatorial candidate Parker needs attorney Jackson’s help in proving he is not a murderer.
Kate McMurray does a masterful job of showing the love and longing the men feels for one other and how they each struggle with the way their relationship ended. Jackson and Parker deeply love one another, and at times it’s agonizing to see their separate lonely lives when they are so clearly meant to be together. And the reason they are apart?
- Parker decides that he wants to enter New York state politics …. as a Republican. Parker makes his decision – without consulting Jackson in any way – and overnight their eight-year relationship is over. Jackson asks how Parker can support a party that wants to deny gay rights, etc. but Parker refuses to answer, other than to state he wants to bring about change from the inside. I really struggled with Parker’s decision throughout the book, especially since he shoves himself back in the closet, complete with a beard/girlfriend and going out of his way to be noncommittal about social issues. In addition, Parker’s advisers act like no one is ever going to learn of this relationship, despite their social imprint (family, friends, perhaps Facebook?), and the various legal documents they signed together (leases, etc.) This seemed overly optimistic and unrealistic IMHO.
While the personal relationship between Parker and Jackson really works for me (and their chemistry is outrageous hot), the murder/mystery element of this story seems unrealistic and the villain cartoonish. In conclusion, I liked Parker and Jackson, but the mystery element did not work for me, and I could not get past Parker’s decision. My rating is 3.25 stars, but if my “issues” about the book are not yours, I think “your results may vary!”
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