Title: Take Down (Texas Heroes #1)
Author: Jesse Anastasi
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 23, 2019
Page Count: 224
Reviewed by: Bob-O-Link
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Texas Heroes Novel
Attraction sizzles when Danny Jones sets eyes on Deputy Jake Perez, despite meeting over the discovery of a mutilated corpse. But being with Jake could cost Danny his family, and being with Danny could cost Jake the very thing that brought him to Everness, Texas—revenge against the man who killed his brother. How much will Jake sacrifice to take down a psychotic criminal and finally see justice served?
After college, Danny thrived as a gay man in Houston. But when his mom’s cancer brings him back to small, conservative Everness, he must go back into the closet or risk the wrath of his abusive father—a choice made even harder when Danny starts to see a future for him and Jake.
As the body count rises and Danny becomes a target, Jake is caught between his vengeance and protecting the man he loves. He never wanted to end up in a backward town like Everness, but Danny is the best thing that ever happened to him. Jake needs to keep Danny safe as his secrets catch up to them—especially when the threat might be closer to home than they imagined.
Rumors abound that, to qualify as a critic-reviewer, one must first obtain a degree in pomposity. Not true! Many of us just fake it. A fulsome discussion of what contributes to a pleasurable reading experience could exceed the length of this fun novel, so let’s begin with a very short essay concerning one aspect: Syntax, and the ease with which the satisfactory flow of language can submerge the readers’ consciousness, perhaps leaving an engagement with only plot, character, and maybe emotion. Unawares, syntax is necessary for success. However, unlike some pompous reader (Ahem!), most of us should not be constantly jarred by poor usage, or feel the need to mentally edit the author’s grammar.
Why start with this? Well, Take Down is a lovely melding of young, gay romance and mystery noir. I loved the book and recommend it heartily, but you have also been forewarned of a shortcoming rampant among today’s authors.
Ms. Anastasi, true to the mystery genre, frequently plugs in pre-shadows of the story to come. For the “intermittent” reader, also true to this style, there are plenty of repeats of the important plot points, in the style of Hammett or Spillane. No one will get lost.
The Blurb, above, spills some of the beans about Jake Perez’s back story, but Ms. Anastasi is particularly frugal in nicely spreading the delivery of the details throughout the flow of the plot. Being true to the suspense of Take Down, we’ll skip over-analyzing the story line. The thread of growing romance is nicely woven into it, and the sex is sufficiently detailed but tamely well-drawn as not to offend even your Aunt Millie (wherever on the erotic scale her personal tastes lie!).
To the less smug among us, the abuse of good language usually is not overly distracting. So, here are a few examples to demonstrate that this critic was pretentiously alert during the read:
* “ . . . like he promised, . . ” ;
* He knew . . . “that home was wherever Jake was.” ;
* “ Like Perez said, . . .” ; “
* Guilt burned acidic (sic!) in his stomach . . ”
* “Jake was up at sunrise like always . . .”
Oh, and I almost forgot my favorite example:
* Sitting in the local dinner, he . . . “started reading about the man who’d gone missing as he drank his coffee.” Can you parse that one?
Now that we have properly honored the late, lamented “
”, here endeth the lesson — so rush to read Take Down and enjoy!