Tuesday, March 24, 2015

ARC Review: No Place Left to Run by Zarah Detand


After a lengthy world tour, pop star Samuel Gibbs is looking forward to a nice, quiet break—sleep in, write a bit of music, do his own cooking for a change. He doesn't want his time spoiled by the constant presence of bodyguards, and he is certainly not willing to have someone tail him each time he so much as goes to the shops. No way, no how. It's a good thing, then, that his head of security relents on the matter—or so he leads Samuel to believe.

The break is starting to look even better when Samuel runs into his new neighbor. Ryan Halston is smart and hot and, quite possibly, everything Samuel wants. However, he doesn't know that Ryan is part of the rejected security detail, tasked with protecting him from the dangerous attentions of an unknown stalker.

Dani's rating:

I like Zarah Detand's writing style. It's quirky and open, very Gen X.

Shit, he was fairly certain that Samuel was flirting with him. Here be dragons. And yet... "Harmless," he repeated dryly. "Now, I don't know about that."

Samuel's grin widened. Cheekbones, Ryan thought, a little helplessly. This wasn't supposed to happen; he wasn't supposed to be attracted to a client.

The story flowed well, although if you're expecting a big rock star book, forget it.

Samuel is on a much-needed break during the story, and the focus is not on the music but on his friendship with Ryan (his secret security detail) and the mystery surrounding the stalker who's been leaving Samuel notes.

Samuel doesn't know about the notes, but Ryan does. Ryan doesn't do relationships, and he certainly doesn't want to get involved with a client, but he finds himself falling for the easygoing, charming Samuel.

While I found the story engaging, I had some issues. For one, for all the sexual tension and buildup, the steam level here is pathetically low. The couple intimate scenes are brief and skirt around the edges of passion.

For another, Ryan isn't a well-developed character, and there is an issue with dates that I could not get out of my head.

Ryan is 24 to Samuel's 20, and the book takes place in the NOW. Ryan tells Samuel he lost his parents when he was 13 in the "early 90s." But that would put the time of the story at approximately 2005, not 2015. How could the author be this careless with the timeline?

And finally, while the stalker plot adds some urgency to the story, instead of a gripping mystery, we get a couple WTF? moments and some sloppy red herrings.

I enjoyed the dialogue and the interaction between the MCs, but I was a little disappointed by the lack of steam and the somewhat tentative HEA.

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