Well that wasn't exactly what I was expecting. In a good way.
This story begins with Adam, an undercover vice detective, bleeding out in the arms of hiWell that wasn't exactly what I was expecting. In a good way.
This story begins with Adam, an undercover vice detective, bleeding out in the arms of his on again/off again lover Peter on the floor of a dirty warehouse. I don't think it's too much to give away that he subsequently finds himself in the city morgue, awakening as a new member of the Evil Undead (only he doesn't realize it at first). The rest of the tale pretty much consists of Adam running around haphazardly trying to figure out which of the drug gangs is responsible for his setup and untimely undeath.
Overall, I found the novel to be highly enjoyable for its fast pace and exciting action. Adam jumps into and out of trouble amazingly quickly, and I was constantly astonished that he managed to stay "alive" (so to speak). However, I did have a few quibbles in regards to said action plot. To be honest, I found much of the info about gang wars and informants and undercover operations to be terribly confusing. There were also a myriad of characters to keep straight, and a pretty fluid line on who exactly were the good guys and who were the bad guys. Basically, I had a hard time keeping up with what was going on, and it often felt like Adam was jumping from one bad idea/situation to the next, without really taking the time to explain what was happening.
Another minor quibble: Why did everyone seem so cool about the whole vampire thing? I mean, maybe I totally missed this, but it seemed like vampires in this world were not publicly known about. So the fact that Adam and Peter (and everyone else) seemed to take it all in stride...well...that seemed pretty bizarre to me. I was at least expecting some major disbelief or fear or misunderstanding or something. Nope, not really. Everyone seemed peachy keen. What? Slanting yellow eyes and fangs? No biggie. WTF? Ok, to be fair, that is what I would expect with the typical vampire novel, so maybe that's why I was so jarred in this case, because this really isn't the standard vampire romance novel, and the whole vampire-explanation-disbelief routine wasn't what this book was about.
Now I already said I enjoyed the action-packed pace of this novel, but the real showstopper for me was Adam himself. Oh Adam, where to begin? Adam is a self-proclaimed selfish bastard with the sensitivity of a rock. He lies, he cheats, he treats his long-time sex partner (Peter) like shit, he runs drugs on the side (even though he is a police officer), and he pretty much doesn't give a shit about anyone except himself. You'd think I'd completely hate him, but somehow I don't. Maybe it's because he's a fascinating example of an antihero, which is pretty unusual in this kind of fiction. Maybe it's because his witty, sardonic narration is humorous and engaging, and he is pretty upfront about all his unsavory characteristics. Maybe it's because I want to believe that deep down, he's really not as awful as he acts. Well, actually I think maybe he is just as awful as he acts, but the thing is, no matter what a jerk he is, he's not really bad. He's not evil, he's not malicious, he puts the bad guys in prison (mostly), he doesn't kill anyone even in bloodlust, and though he has a hard time admitting it, he does care about his aforementioned sex-partner, Peter. Not everyone is going to like Adam, because there's a lot not to like, but I thought his character was great.
FYI - this isn't really a romance novel. While there is a romantic subplot of sorts between Adam and his "fuck-buddy" Peter, this is very much in the background of the overlying action/mystery plot. So if you are expecting Adam to reconnect with his mushy side, repent his sins and mend his evil ways -- don't hold your breath. With that said, Adam does have some redeeming traits, and over the course of the book, he really does begin to think about how his actions affect others, especially Peter.
Bottom Line: This novel was fun, engaging, fast-paced, action-packed, and definitely not your typical vampire romance novel. In fact, it's not really a romance at all. Not everyone is going to care for the main character, Adam, but I thought his fantastic narration went a long way to make up for his character flaws. Definitely recommended.
Eh, not my favorite from J.L. Langley's werewolf-themed "With or Without" series. As is the case with far too many novellas, this just wasn't developeEh, not my favorite from J.L. Langley's werewolf-themed "With or Without" series. As is the case with far too many novellas, this just wasn't developed enough to be a satisfying story for me.
The main characters, Lainey and Dev, pretty much meet and fall in love immediately (they know they are mates, and it just magically works like that) -- no conflict, no issues, no getting to know each other, no character development or change involved at all. Just poof! Instant relationship with lots of sex. Yawn.
Another potential source of conflict that was woefully underdeveloped in this novella involved the mean old pack alpha, Victor. Unfortunately, his name is about the scariest thing about him. You see, Victor is a bully, and he wants Lainey for himself, I suppose, so he goes around "terrorizing" him by breaking his flowers and making threats and whatnot. All in all, this supposed "bad guy" is pretty pathetic, and not really all that scary. Same goes for the final "confrontation" between Dev and that meanie. It's just not all that dramatic or scary or anything.
Bottom Line: Not my favorite from J.L. Langley, but it is short and easy to read. Fans of her "With or Without" series would probably like it, but I think the other books are better and I'm glad I read them first. (You definitely don't need to read this one before the others.)...more
Fantastic novel. I hate to admit it, but when I typically think of time-travel romance, the picture that comes to my mind isn't a very charitable one.Fantastic novel. I hate to admit it, but when I typically think of time-travel romance, the picture that comes to my mind isn't a very charitable one. As a result, I put this book off forever until I finally broke down and read it.
Thank goodness, because it was great, one of the best m/m romances I've read all year even. I thought the historical aspect was completely believable (as far as I can tell at least). The characters were richly drawn, complex, and totally engaging. The romance was slow to build and absolutely lovely. Plus there was an interesting spin on an infamous criminal case that really adds a nice touch of mystery and crime drama to the plot. All that along with superb writing makes for some top quality work. Highly recommended.