Double Bound by Nick Nolan


Title: Double Bound
Author: Nick Nolan
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
Length: Novel/340 pages
Buy the book: Amazon

Blurb:
An exclusive resort is rising on a pristine Brazilian island: lavish suites, world-class casinos, imaginative theme architecture. But most important is its elaborate security—it’s going to be the safest locale this side of the Pentagon. Because of Katharine Tyler’s investment there, her nephew […]
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Two Chances by Stephen Kessel

Two Chances by Stephen Kessel

Blurb:
Tim’s partner, Nick, left him with their dream home and the “kids”—their four dogs. Now, after more than a year of long hours training staff in their franchised dog grooming business, and living alone, perhaps Tim is ready to take a chance. And perhaps there are some surprises in store for him if he does; though time has also taught him what really matters. And it’s not casual sex he wants.

bittersweet but fabulous

Spoils of War by Aleksandr Voinov and Raev Gray

Spoils of War by Aleksandr Voinov and Raev Gray

Blurb:

When Achilleus, the greatest warrior who ever lived, falls before Troy (or Ilion, as it was known), Ares, God of War, stands ready to take his spirit with him to his palace. There, Ares demands that Achilleus yield to him. But can the embrace of a god and the offer of immortality make Achilleus forget his one true love, Patroklos?

when nothing is sacred…

Henry and Jim by J.M. Snyder

Henry and Jim by J.M. Snyder

Blurb:
A bittersweet short story about a lifetime love affair. Henry and Jim have spent a life in love, from the very first date arranged by Henry’s sister, through the rocky times they worked to make ends meet, and into their twilight years.
Old men now, Henry reminisces about the love they’ve shared as he learns to cope with Jim’s fading memory and his own fear of being forgotten by the only man he’s ever loved.

NOTE: This story appears in the anthologies Best Gay Romance 2008 published by Cleis Press andBest Gay Stories 2009 published by Lethe Press, as well as in my print collection So In Love.

beautiful ..

Downtime by Tamara Allen

Downtime by Tamara Allen

Blurb:
On assignment in London, FBI Agent Morgan Nash finds himself moments away from a bullet through the heart when the case he’s working goes awry. But fate has other plans, he discovers when he wakes in a world far removed from his own.

At work cataloguing ancient manuscripts in the British Museum, Ezra Glacenbie inadvertently creates the magic that pulls Morgan out of the twenty-first century and into the nineteenth. It’s an impromptu vacation which may become permanent when the spellbook goes missing.

Further upsetting Morgan’s search for a way home is the irresistible temptation to investigate the most notorious crime of the nineteenth century. But it’s the unexpected romance blossoming between Morgan and Ezra that becomes the most dangerous complication of all.

when you’re a big enough dick to offend two centuries…

Tomorrow May Be Too Late by Thomas Marino

Tomorrow May Be Too Late by Thomas Marino

Blurb:
Tomorrow May Be Too Late is a heartfelt memoir of a young gay man’s coming-of-age in the late 1980s. It’s a gritty, account, focusing on Thomas Marino’s intense love affair with a man who left devastation in his wake. It’s the story of how our hero grappled with the reality of his situation, and came within a hair’s breadth of letting it ruin his life ~ before eventually coming to terms with what had happened, and finally accepting this period as one of the great learning experiences of a lifetime. Today he can look back on that time with warmth and, yes, even pride. Whatever he did wrong, the experience ultimately left him a better homosexual and a better human being, who now understands mature love ~ but also knows the incredible highs and abysmal depths that an honest, deep, true love can drive a man to.

touching and interesting memoir

Double Down by M. Chandler

Double Down by M. Chandler

Blurb:

“Hypothetically, I was wondering how you’d feel about working on the side of the good guys. On a purely contractual and highly erratic basis, mind you.” Little did Simon suspect the explosive consequences that would arise from his offer.

Because now Jeremy Archer has a double: another thief with skills and abilities eerily similar to Jeremy’s own. When this mysterious double falls afoul of Simon and his team, Simon asks for Jeremy’s help, because who better to catch Jeremy Archer than… Jeremy Archer?

If Jeremy Archer is anything, however, he’s unpredictable–and there’s more at stake here than Simon could have imagined. Because in the halls of the FBI ‘double’ has another meaning…

The second book in the Shadow of the Templar series, newly revised and updated for the trade paperback edition!

send a thief to catch a thief..

Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price


Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price

Blurb:
Don’t miss the riveting fifth chapter in the PsyCop saga, Camp Hell.

Victor Bayne honed his dubious psychic skills at one of the first psych training facilities in the country, Heliotrope Station, otherwise known as Camp Hell to the psychics who’ve been guests behind its razorwire fence.

Vic discovered that none of the people he remembers from Camp Hell can be found online, and there’s no mention of Heliotrope Station itself, either. Someone’s gone through a lot of trouble to bury the past. But who?

Review:

This is the fifth and most recent book in the PsyCops series. If you’ve been reading them all along – as you should – you know that the fourth book ended on a huge cliff hanger. Thankfully I had Camp Hell already waiting so I wasn’t too bothered but no doubt if you read at release you’ve been waiting eagerly for this offering. For those new to the series, the books follow first person narrator and cop Vic as he struggles with his talent. He sees ghosts, very vividly and often confusing the living with the dead. He handles his talent by repressing his past and drugging himself until he can barely function; thank god the city of Chicago gives him a gun. He’s mostly got his drug cocktail to the point he knows exactly how much to take but recent medication scares, kidnappings, and all around weirdness have Vic attempting less drug use and the more radical idea of learning to control his talent. But before you think loveable failure Vic is reformed, he’s just as self absorbed and messy as ever.

In this installment Vic is obsessed with finding out what happened to him during his time at Camp Hell. Affectionately called such by the inmates, Vic repressed almost all his memories of that time in order to function without the panic attacks and overwhelming fear associated with those memories. However when Vic discovered in Secrets that he was wiped clean from the internet and kept a secret, he digs deeper to find some of the missing people from his Camp Hell days. First up is his old lover and best friend, Stefan now Steven. While Vic is attempting therapy with Stefan/Steven, he also has to contend with finding some ghosts killing people at a nearby hospital, repairing the damage to his relationship with Jacob, and last but not least a new psychic watch group seems to be all over Vic.

Once again I felt the plot was too disjointed and unfocused. Vic as a first person narrator is absorbing and enthralling with his weakness, flaws, and reluctant hero antics. However his focus shifts from his obsession to his past to his police case to his relationship with Jacob to his drugs and back again in almost neck breaking pace. The various elements are disparate and didn’t combine cohesively enough to create a tight, even story. That is not to say the plot isn’t interesting and absorbing, because it certainly is. Unfortunately it is also messy and spread out without any particular focus, much as the character of Vic often is as well. Vic jumps from scene to scene and element to element in the way his mind often works, obsessing on the most important thing to him at that time and often using or ignoring everything else. This includes his boyfriend Jacob, his partner Zigler, his friends Lisa and Crash, and anything else that doesn’t revolve around his at the moment fixation. Here Vic slowly begins to realize that he is selfish and completely self absorbed, yet caring and loving in his own way. He also begins to realize that he needs more control over his talent and drugs aren’t always the answer.

This installment adds more depth and development to all the characters. From Vic’s slow awareness to Jacob’s new ability, even Zigler’s actions and those of the psychic watch group help create more context than fluff to this story. Unfortunately the hospital story line with the scary ghost is unfortunate since it’s almost forgettable and often Vic is more obsessed with his therapy, his paranoia, his relationship, and his drugs than actually doing his job as a detective. However the added context to Zigler from the last book and continued in this one creates an intriguing outline and I hope that he’ll stick around.

The main focus of the book and the series however is and always will be Vic. The other characters revolve in his orbit to a greater or lesser degree but it’s all about Vic. He is finally learning to accept his talent, instead of medicate, and more so learning what his limits and abilities really are. Before he seems to luck out on finding solutions or with the help of actual trained detectives solve a case. In this offering, Vic takes more control and handles a terrifying ghost with his own power on purpose. Additionally Vic is slowly starting to understand Jacob more and appreciate all the work Jacob does in their relationship. Not that Vic takes him for granted per se, but Vic’s obsessions take precedence over everything, including Jacob. I can’t wait to see how much more Vic can grow in future editions.

Get it HERE!

Secrets by Jordan Castillo Price

Secrets by Jordan Castillo Price

Blurb:

Victor Bayne’s job as a PsyCop involves tracking down dead people and getting them to spill their guts about their final moments. It’s never been fun, per se. But it’s not usually this annoying.

Vic has just moved in with his boyfriend Jacob, he can’t figure out where anything’s packed, and his co-worker is pressuring him to have a housewarming party.

Can’t a guy catch a break?

On a more sinister note, Vic discovers there’s absolutely no trace of him online. No trace of anyone else who trained at "Camp Hell," either.

Everyone Vic knows has signed a mysterious set of papers to ensure his "privacy." The contracts are so confidential that even Vic has never heard of them. But Jacob might have.

What other secrets has Jacob been keeping?

 

Review:

 

The fourth book in the series harkens back to the style of the first and creates addictive dialogue, entertaining prose, and a quick pace to the story that is as engaging as the first in the series. Although the last two books had some plot problems – weak and unfocused – this particular offering combines Vic’s work with Jacob’s and allows the focus to tighten with great results. The focus on Vic and Jacob’s relationship alongside a case they are both working on allows both the police/ghost case to shine while looking deeper at their relationship. For fans of the series, you won’t want to miss this installment but those new to the series should start at the beginning. Readers can read this as a stand alone, enough information is reiterated so readers won’t be lost, but the depth and context are greater in the series.

 

Here Vic and Jacob have moved in together but before they can unpack Jacob is called in on a sex crime at a retirement home but with a twist that may need Vic’s special talents. In the meantime, Vic is left wandering around their home with barely any idea of how to unpack or what to do with himself. This leads to trouble of course and Vic realizes that everyone around him is “in” on the secret to keep him a mystery and hidden. Between the pill popping, the investigation into Vic’s online presence (or lack thereof), and Jacob’s new mystery case, the two are in over their heads in ghosts, secrets, problems, and potential pitfalls.

 

The police case in this particular offering is much tighter and more interesting than the past two books. Jacob’s rape case in the retirement home leads to some paranormal action and thus Vic and a surprise cameo of Lisa must work with Jacob and Carolyn to find some answers. The fact that the police case allows all four to work together helps keep a tight focus and quick pace to the story without wandering off in any one direction. The problems and issues Jacob and Vic face from jealousy to lies to uncomfortable conversations are not a separate tangent as in the other books but tightly woven into the main police case. Whereas in the past the various cases Vic worked on felt inconsequential and forgettable, the force of Jacob’s dynamic personality combined with the chemistry between Jacob and Vic to give a more interesting and riveting narrative. This keeps the pace consistent from scene to scene without needing too many side trips.

 

The relationship between Vic and Jacob also gains more depth as previously I’d worried that Jacob seems to only be with Vic because of his psychic abilities. Clearly this is part of Vic’s appeal for Jacob but considering the absolute mess Vic is, there has to be an appeal somewhere besides good sex so I’m not as uncomfortable with the theme as in previous books. Instead the mistakes and flaws Jacob exposes are refreshing and humanizing, showing a man with more texture and interest than the perfection Vic sees. Vic is slowly gaining insight into his talent and finally the need for control – other than pharmaceutical based – is sinking into his head.

 

The writing is good with few awkward pauses and information dumps. There is enough reiterated information that a new reader won’t be lost and old readers can catch up but less jarring commentary. Instead the dialogue and prose keep the story moving quickly and easily with Vic’s engaging voice and first person narration. The pill popping, ghost hunting, and relationship challenges make for a thoroughly entertaining story and the mixture of all of those into one tight, cohesive plot makes this one of the best in the series. Be sure to pick up this series if you haven’t, it’s quick and composed entirely of novellas so each fast story is a delight. 

Get it HERE!