Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Page Count: 210
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The world of writers, readers, and reviewers is a close-knit family of friends, fans, and fiction fanatics. That’s the world Milo Cook and Logan Hunter reside in—thriving on the give and take of creativity, the sharing of stories and ideas, and forever glorying in their boundless love of books and the words that make them breathe.
But sometimes words can cut too deep. And when they do, there is inevitably a price to pay.
What begins for Milo and Logan as a time of new love and gentle romantic discoveries, becomes before it’s over a race for their lives and for the lives of everyone they know.
Who would ever suspect that an entity as beautiful as the written word could become a catalyst for revenge? And ultimately—murder?
This could have been a challenging read. As the story is about writers and their reviewers it could very easily have been an excuse for a rant. That is not to say that there isn’t a lot of ranting in the book, but it feels as though the author is trying to rein it in from time to time. There is clearly an attempt to provide a balanced position that argues for fairness and honesty. This is one of three themes within the story although it does feel as though this was the loudest spoken. The love story is, as ever, sweetly done and the characterisation is both familiar and yet, fresh. Whilst one is a reviewer and the other an author, this is of little relevance to their plot that is more about a blossoming romance. The third plotline is the murder’s tale. Chapters focus largely on the couple, but these are interspersed with vignettes of successive murders. It feels as though as these are revealed there is a movement from third to first person as though the murderer is becoming more real as are the acts performed.
Interesting as they are as a set of themes, the balance feels a little off. The development of the relationship is just not strong enough. There doesn’t seem to be enough depth or complexity to make it more than endearing. They talk, eat, have sex, meet friends and generally have a good time. Similarly, the growing tension of the murderer approaching doesn’t quite gel. The reader is unaware why the murders are getting closer to the couple or why they should be targeted at all. This should raise the tension but actually makes the reader intellectually question what is going on rather than be drawn into the plot. Once the murderer is revealed in the denouement, this reader didn’t recognise who it was even though the characters did and of course the killer provided a monologue to explain everything, which all felt a little clichéd. As a result, the overriding theme remains writers and their reviewers, which is not enough to make the book particularly memorable but will hopefully make some reviewers reflect on what they say and how they say it.
The relationship between the two central characters is sweet and somewhat passionate. The sex is appropriate to the storyline and is not excessive. It is hot enough though to add to the bond between the characters. It is clear however that these are friends as well as lovers and there is a balance of roles.
The pace of the story is fine, given the themes involved and the length of the book is about right.
Following the denouement, all of the loose ends are resolved satisfactorily, but perhaps, in this case, it might have been better if some measure of tension had remained to the end.
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