Mountain Prey by Lyn Gala
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
While I’m a fan of almost anything this author writes, check out Urban Shaman, I definitely struggled even to finish Mountain Prey. It has a decent concept but I couldn’t get past the dialogue and overly annoying accents mixed with a disconcerting sense of atmosphere. Although I know the story is contemporary I felt like I was reading a historical. The juxtaposition between the two kept me off balance and unable to really enjoy the book. I was glad it finally ended and I felt little to no connection to the main characters or the story itself. I really hate to think such a great author is hit or miss for me but perhaps that’s so. No doubt this will appeal to some readers but I can’t personally recommend it.
The plot revolves Stewart “Stunt” Folger getting kidnapped by newly released from prison Alex Soto. Alex is out to kill the local drug lord, who had Alex’s younger brother killed. Stunt trips across Alex hiding in the bushes, prompting the later man to take Stunt hostage until he can kill the drug lord. Stunt, however, is all into bondage and sex games so he’s happy to go along for the ride. Thankfully Alex is just the Dom to keep Stunt’s talkative, submissive self in check. Add in crazy mountain logic and a shotgun wedding to the mix and the hijinks don’t stop.
Right away I had a problem with the story because it just didn’t quite grab me. Alex takes Stunt hostage in the first scene but I wasn’t sure what was going on. It took me a while to get the point of the story – since I hadn’t read the summary prior to reading the book – and that early confusion didn’t help me engage with the narrative. I eventually caught onto the flow and could follow along as Stunt comes around to like and love Alex, of course.
The two men and their developing relationship takes up the majority of the story. The plot to kill the drug lord is what drives the action and story forward while the two men supposedly fall in love and have a shotgun wedding. I never connected with either man and thus didn’t really care about whether they ended up together. I found the BDSM elements disconcerting because they never really seemed to fit. They seemed like an easy reason for why the men would be attracted to each other in the middle of a kidnapping. Use some rope on someone that already likes it and wham – instant attraction and sympathy. This element just didn’t seem natural to me so I thought all the Dom/sub stuff was silly.
Likewise all the various antics involved in the planning to take down the drug lord bored me. I liked the inclusion of the mountain family but everything seemed too slow. I had a hard time investing and I easily got bored with the story. I wanted to skim the sex scenes entirely. Part of this is that discomfort between historical setting and contemporary. It’s obviously a contemporary book but the antiquated actions and dialogue felt more historical, especially once all the moonshine references were thick in the story. It was almost as if time stopped on that mountain. I could appreciate that but the juxtaposition between the more modern times and the older atmosphere kept me off balance.
Gala’s writing is clean and the pages fly by regardless. I liked the idea of Elijah and his family, their scenes were the easiest and most engaging to read. The wedding is a bridge too far but I don’t think anything about this book is particularly realistic/believable so I don’t mind. Overall I just couldn’t get into it and was bored. I’ll still get whatever this author writes next though.