It can hardly be called a romance, but this! This is my happy place.
Two persons meet, sparks fly, bodies ignite and hearts beat faster. Sometimes too, dysfunctional needs meet within the chemistry, two pieces fitting precisely together, clicking to form an unrelenting machinery that elates and torments, heavenly and hellish, and tying people together as surely as domestic bliss.
No PTSD, no traumatic childhood, no implacable fate. It’s just who they are, even if it’s not all what they are, and it’s just how they fit. It’s simple, complicated and twisted, and that’s how A.M. Riley tells them. Two men ruining their love story and being the architects of their own disaster somewhere in LA between the hispanic part of town and the cosiest areas, back and forth through the late 80s, the AIDS plague, the riots, the here and now where someone has been murdered, where life is providing an unexpected small reprieve alongside new complications and twists.
Do I like the characters? Do I root for the couple? No. Yes. Perhaps. It depends. I don’t know. Sort of. My feelings are an ambivalent combination, and I like it that way. What I know however is that J.D and Robert burn the page; they made me hold my e-reader in a death grip, played with my nerves and my heart, wrapped me up in their reality, messed with me until the very end, and sent me to a fucked-up happy place where it hurts good and I’m high on angst, emotions and whirling thoughts.
That’s not all there is to it though. Good writing, setting, characterization, plotting and construction contribute to build this solid story that spins a fine mystery web, captures a dynamics beyond the emotional roller-coaster as well as snapshots of times and places. The fact that it ends on an open road you’re free to imagine as you wish is an added bonus.
Flaws? Sure. There are repetitions and a few typos. It’s within a hair’s breadth of being OTT at moments, and even though it stayed on my right side of drama, it might be someone else’s vision of hell-on-page. It is not perfect, but my pleasure to read never faltered. So there. 5 stars.
As a final note : you thought I had all forgotten about Bill Turner, didn’t you? He is a secondary character, yet he is the common thread in the series… Just know that he sent me running for book #2.