Title: Torn and Frayed
Series: A Gabriel Church Tale, #2
Author: Rodd Clark
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Length: 264 pages
Publisher: Driven Press (9 Jan 2016)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥2.5 Hearts
Blurb: “Conscience isn’t something all people are born with . . .”
Gabriel Church is a portrait in contrast. It would be easy to get lost in his pale-blue eyes, ache with the need to feel the strength of his masculine frame. He appears to be nothing but animal and instinct. The only people who know the full depth of that truth are dead, murdered, or two thousand miles away.
Gabe is a serial killer. For the first time in his life, he has more on his mind than his own survival. This time he is running from Seattle to protect the only person he thinks innocent in his laundry list of crime and murder: Christian Maxwell, his biographer and unexpected lover.
Drawn to a place he never thought to return, Gabe finds new and different realities. Realities that insist he let go of his tragic past, those incredible perceptions of God, and his own divinity.
He must open his eyes to what the love of a good man can do to heal a broken soul.
But when the killer is confronted by his own willingness to love and sacrifice, he is forced to ultimately ask the question: Just how far will he go to save a life . . . when all he’s ever done is take them?
Product Link(s): http://www.drivenpress.net/#!torn-and-frayed/gd32c
Review: Just like the first book in this series, I found this one really hard to review. In fact, I’ve sat on my thoughts for a week trying to figure out what the hell to say. You can read my review of the first book, I really did not like Rubble and Wreckage and a lot of it came down to what I saw as fundamental in the plot.
However, I am a stubborn person, especially when it comes to my books. It’s rare that I dislike a book so much that I refuse to read the next book in the series, in the hopes that it has improved or picked up.
So yes, I gave this one a chance.
Torn and Frayed is a direct sequel from Rubble and Wreckage, so it is vital that you have read the first book. If you feel as I do – let your stubbornness guide you, although I found that because of much of what I saw as flaws in book 1 meant that they were also there in book 2. I called them fundamental flaws earlier, because it is the actual basis of the entire plot that I had trouble suspending my disbelief for.
In this installment, serial killer Gabriel Church isn’t so much on the run, but wandering around until he realizes that mentally he is on the run, but from his feelings. This seemed like it could be good; Gabe is realizing his humanity despite the fact there is something in him that means he cannot be like everyone else. After all, he is a sociopath that rationalizes each murder he’s committed without an ounce of remorse.
Once again, for me, I thought back to the Dexter series (books and TV, yes) and thinking about the “Dark Passenger”. The quote used in the blurb instantly sparked my interest because those two words flashed in my head. Perhaps it is my love for how that particular series was written (though, no, I realize Dexter did not have sex with men) and how it was handled that I cannot find myself really liking this series. I don’t know.
Then there is Christian. I have found him to be a hopelessly sad and naïve character. In fact, by the conclusion of this I wanted Christian not only get some sort of counseling but to find a decent guy who isn’t Gabe Church. His and Gabe’s relationship in this book isn’t so much a relationship as it is a series of hook ups.
By the end of the book there is no real conclusion on, in some ways, on this relationship. I didn’t ever expect a HEA but I just wanted something.
This book also had the addition of Detective Scott Keen – and his wife Carol. For me they were an interesting aspect in the story. Of course, it could be because they were new and exciting. For me that was the best part of the entire story. Yet, ultimately, at the same time, for me, it highlighted how naïve Christian is, when you think about it.
Like Rubble and Wreckage, this is described as an erotic romance. It isn’t. It isn’t really a “gay for you” story either, because Gabe, despite the fact he often meets up with Christian for sex, vehemently denies being gay – or bisexual. In fact, in the story he states that sleeping/trolling with women is easier than with gay men.
I feel like I’m in a minority for not liking this series, but there you go, that’s just my opinion, as much as it is worth. I’m not sure who to recommend it to but one thing is for certain: people looking for a romance probably will not like it. Gabe sleeping with Christian is just an incidental part of the plot, I feel.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *