Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wake Up Call by JL Merrow

South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.

Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.

When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.

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Book 1
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Riptide Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

When Dev travels to Cornwall for his summer holiday, he is looking for answers about his family history. He doesn’t expect to meet Kyle, a damaged and reclusive barrister.

This story is set in Daphne Du Maurier’s Cornwall. Craggy cliffs, eerie legends, and family secrets – this may be Devan’s summer holiday but he only ever watches the carefree holidaymakers on the beach from a distance. I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and the familiar setting for this book.

Dev quickly embeds himself into the life of the small town he is visiting. Dev’s story is unclear at the start and we slowly learn more about him as the story progresses. The author works hard to make Dev’s Cockney dialogue authentic, but I found it grating after a while.

Kyle is also a mystery at the start. His story is equally complex. Neither Dev nor Kyle excels at communication, so we learn about them through stilted conversations and long inner monologues.

There are some sweet moments between Dev and Kyle, but I didn’t ever fully believe in the connection between Kyle and Dev. There were times the relationship felt convenient. At other points, it felt like Kyle’s self-confidence was so low he believed that no one else could ever care for him. The sex between these two is hot, but I wanted to know how the mechanic and the barrister were going to make a life together. Dev spends a great deal of time feeling inferior to barrister Kyle. I was disappointed that the author doesn’t dig any deeper into the differences between Devan and Kyle’s lives. We never see how the care leaver actually fits into Kyle’s comfortable Surrey life.

It took me a very long time to get into the story and I struggled with the erratic pacing throughout the book. I felt like it took far too long to establish Dev’s reason for his Cornwall holiday. There were a couple of subplots that never seemed to really resolve (I wanted to know what happened to Ceri) and the resolution of some main issues were thrown out at the end in a very quick epilogue.

The blurb of this book had me thinking this would be a good book. The best thing about this book is the blurb. The book was so wordy and honestly very boring. I found myself skimming, hoping that things would pick up, but they never did. I felt no connection to either main character and then all the side stories and secondary characters, it just didn't work for me at all.

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. In the 2016 Rainbow Awards, her fourth Plumber’s Mate Mystery Blow Down came second in the Dorien Grey Award for Best Gay Mystery/Thriller, and was a runner-up for Best Gay Book, as was her historical romance To Love a Traitor.

Connect with JL

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Wake Up Call (Porthkennack #1) by JL Merrow to read and review.

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