Sunday, October 16, 2016

ARC Review: Drawn In by Barbara Elsborg


Blurb:
Undercover police officer Kell has crossed the line. He’s become trapped in an abusive relationship with his violent thug of a boss and sees no way back without wrecking months of work. The hope of ever being involved with someone who respects him seems a distant dream.

Private investigator Gethin is depressed that the bulk of his work involves following unfaithful partners. He knows just what it’s like to be cheated on. Even worse, his relationship with his ex is complicated and Gethin can see no way of breaking free of a guy who so desperately needs him.

A chance encounter brings Kell and Gethin together, entwining their lives with secrets and danger. They both have reasons to keep things casual. But there are consequences to zipless fucks. Not only do they have to survive people trying to kill them, they need to trust each other and keep their wits about them, while ensuring their hearts stay intact.


Dani's rating:




There’s angst, and then there’s ANGST. This book is the all-caps version. It’s dark, brooding, and depressing, with no happiness on the horizon. A HEA lurks on the last few pages, but first you have to trudge through the Swamp of Sadness.

Gethin is a private investigator who lives in a sad little flat. He wants to help people and often takes on messy cases that hardly pay for his time. The one bright spot in Gethin’s life is his friend Angel, owner of a party planning agency and a sassy force of nature.

The relationship Gethin has with his ex, Jonnie, is . . . complicated. And that’s a huge understatement. Jonnie loves Gethin and thinks Gethin loves him, but Gethin hates Jonnie, resents Jonnie, yet guilt eats at him, and he can’t pull away. You’ll see why.

Jonnie’s story is poignant and heartbreaking. Despite knowing that Jonnie cheated on Gethin, that he was selfish, impetuous, and reckless, I wanted to take his hurt away. The final scene with Jonnie turned me into a sobbing, blubbering mess.



Gethin meets Kell at a swanky party where he’s subbing as a (very grumpy) waiter to help out Angel. Kell is an undercover cop posing as a security guard at a nightclub that the authorities suspect is a hotbed of abuse, prostitution, and drugs.

Gethin and Kell’s first sexual encounter is not romantic; it’s awkward and edgy, and ends with a fist fight. For most of the story, Gethin and Kell are fuck-buddies only. The sexual chemistry between them is explosive.

They grow closer, but their fragile trust is built on secrets and half-truths. Gethin, especially, is so wrapped up in Jonnie, he’s hiding in shadows. Kell and Gethin are remarkably well drawn characters, and their despair feels real.

As Gethin investigates a shady accountant and a runaway teen, all roads lead back to Kell. The many side plots are connected; you just have to be patient.

There are so many unsavory characters in this book, I couldn’t decide whom I hated the most, but I think the honor goes to Kell’s psychopath of a brother, a vile, nasty fuckwat unfit for any place but hell. Marcus, Kell’s boss at the nightclub, is a close second, though.

If you’re looking for sweetness and romance, look elsewhere. This book wrecked me. Heed my warning: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

P.S. My ratings are always partly based on my enjoyment of the story. Elsborg doesn't do light and fluffy, but Drawn In felt particularly oppressive, like a heavy cloak I couldn't shrug off.


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The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.
~Jane Austen






An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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