We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Reviewer: Sandra and Barb
Genre: M/M Cops
Review by Barb: Rated 4 Hearts When Police Officer Carter Schunk is finally allowed out on patrol instead of chained to his computer at the station, he’s excited to experience the work he’s always wanted to do. The main problem is that he’s such a computer geek that he’s needed more on technical issues than he is out in the field, and though he likes what he does, his dreams of helping people mean more when he gets to see them. And see them he does, when he responds to a domestic abuse call. He happens to spot a child’s stuffed animal after everything is settled, and the abused woman is being seen by paramedics. Hunting throughout the house, he finally finds a little boy up in the stifling hot attic, alone and afraid.
Carter manages to gain the boy’s trust and eventually gets him out of the attic. He’s dirty and soiled and it looks like he’s been up there for a while. He’s terrified “the bad man” will come back to spank him. He knows the boy needs to be handed over to authorities, but the last person Carter wants to see at that moment is the one who shows up from Children’s Services¬—Donald (Ice) Ickle—a man who spent a weekend with Carter last year and then gave him the cold shoulder afterward. Carter really liked Donald and thought they had something special, so he felt heartbroken when he was shunned afterward.
Now, they end up taking care of the child together for the weekend when no other foster placement is available, and Carter has learned that the child was filmed being physically beaten. They want to provide him with a safe place and hope to be able to get a line on the abusers through the child and/or through the computer confiscated by police at the time of the domestic abuse arrest.
With love and tenderness, Carter breaks down Donald’s ice walls as he’s helping the little boy, Alex, and together, the two find that communication and trust are important not only to children but also to adults. If Donald can learn to trust Carter and to hope that he won’t be abandoned after this amazing weekend they’ve spent together helping Alex, there may be happiness in the future for Donald as well as for Alex.
I enjoyed this audiobook very much. The characters were endearing, the story typically small town America, and the romance slow to build. The narrator did a good job with the adult voices, but I found his vocalization of the little boy somewhat irritating. It was a bit too high-pitched for his voice.
I recommend this story to lovers of Andrew Grey romances and to those who enjoy a love story where one MC has been carrying the burden of emotional damage for years and the other is able to offer the comfort, love and support needed to heal.
Review by Sandra: Rated 2 Hearts
This did not work for me. For many reasons. When I listen to an audio book that I don't like it's sometimes hard to parse out how much of that is due to the narrator and how much is the writing. In this case I think it was equal parts, but I don't think I would have liked this any better had I read it instead of listened. It was not terrible, by any means, but it also wasn't good.
I saw a lot of reviews complaining how hard it was to read due to the components that involved or discussed child abuse, well, I didn't have this problem. Maybe it was the narrators flat universal tone that didn't seem to change no matter what they were discussing. Maybe it was the fact that both Donald and Carter talked as if they were in an after school special. "Alex has been through so much. Being a police officer, I have to learn how to observe and read people, and I can see what a strong boy Alex is. Abuse can be hard for anyone to deal with, especially a child. Donald is right that it will take time for Alex to unlearn some of these things, but it is important for us to be there for him and support him no matter what." They both talk like this, all.the.time. And maybe I watch too many cop shows but none of the cops talked like cops. I'm not sure there was a single curse word in the book.
So I guess the dialogue was my main issue, just the manner in which everyone spoke. Donald and Carter constantly referring to the criminals as 'bad men'. Yes, that is what Alex called them, and that is what you should refer to them as when speaking to Alex. But you are an adult, and when talking to your partner or the other police officers, the term 'suspects' or 'abusers' or 'pedophiles' or 'scumbags' might be more appropriate.
Then the resolution at the last hour was R.I.D.I.C.U.L.O.U.S., and just a stupid nit-picky thing in the epilogue but since it's the last thing I was left with I can't let it go.
Sooooo yeah. I've had some similar issues with this author before. And the one other book I listened to from this narrator had similar complaints. I feel bad, and maybe the dialogue contributed, but something about his voice had that inflection that made everyone sound as if they were talking to children (when actually talking to other adults). It was that public service announcement/lecturing/