Sunday, December 18, 2016

ARC Review: Murder Once Seen by J. T. Hall

From The Blurb:
In the city of Nis, things often aren’t what they seem. 
Derwin is a bounty hunter gifted with the Oddity of superhuman strength and agility—perfect for hunting down fugitives and demons who roam the streets. One killed his boyfriend two years ago, and Derwin won’t stop until he finds out who. Police suspect it was someone he sent to prison, but he can’t shake the idea that they’re missing something. 
Elliot is a rentboy who’s been living on the streets since his parents disowned him. He mistrusts everyone and, given his uncontrolled ability to Read Objects and a client list that includes a major gang boss, despairs of ever having a normal life. 
Derwin and Elliot meet in a storm of lust. Derwin’s Oddity is fed by the pain of others, but he only wants what’s freely given. Elliot loves pain, but needs safety and a way off the streets before he can allow it. They may be able to solve each other’s problems . . . if they can survive long enough to work together.

Karen's rating:

Sometimes you just gotta' take a chance...

That's what I did with this one. 'Murder Once Seen' is a new to me author writing in what is a new to her genre...paranormal/gay/mystery/suspense, I have to admit for me it felt more like a M/m Urban Fantasy with a definite dystopian flavor and a dash of mystery/suspense thrown in, but however you want to categorize it I liked it a lot...a whole lot!

 Elliot's a rent boy in the city of Nis, he's been on the streets since the age of 14 when his parents tossed him out not for his oddity but because he's gay. Life's not easy living on the streets and having the uncontrolled ability to read objects along with being gay and the fact that he loves pain and the chances of getting off the streets and having a safe, normal life seems like a bit of a pipe dream for Elliot. He never intended for this to be his life but then there's a lot he never intended to happen, but sometimes life just is what it is.

Derwin's got his own oddity one that he tries hard to keep off of the radar of the powers that be. He feeds off of other people's pain but the pain he craves is the pain that's freely given between a Dom and his sub. His oddity also gives him superhuman strength and agility...helpful skills if you're a bounty hunter. He's been alone for a while now because it's been 2 years since his boyfriend was murdered. A murder that still remains unsolved and that eats away at Derwin with the need to know what happened.

What started out as a job for Elliot and a way to feed and get a little sexual relief for Derwin quickly turns into a case of really strong mutual attraction when both men realize that their personal kinks are very mutually agreeable, but it's more than that as they each feel the stirrings of an underlying attraction that draws them towards one another.  I wouldn't call this a case of insta-love necessarily, it's close but for me it didn't quite have that feel and it was tempered by the fact that while both men were aware of their mutual attraction, they were also resistant to how fast and strong their attraction was developing.

I liked that their relationship was a far cry from boy-meets-boy, fall into bed and they all lived happily ever after. It so did not happen this way. There were obstacles...lots of them on both sides.

My only issue with this story and honestly for me it was a small one and didn't really detract from my overall enjoyment of the story was at the very beginning we're given Derwin's background regarding his boyfriends death through a flashback and basically we get Elliot's background the same way and some of the general information about the overall setting is filtered in between the main character's flashbacks. So my issue and I have to say this may very well be a me thing but for some reason I found the flashbacks a little confusing and more so Elliot's than Derwin's. Ultimately for me it's was a minor glitch.

I loved the mystery/suspense part of this story and the way it balanced with the development of Derwin and Elliot's relationship. Now, I don't really think I say this often and I know my friends will correct me if I'm wrong here, but i seriously would have been good with these guys having more up close and personal time than they did. Arguably the storyline didn't really facilitate this happening but it didn't stop me from wanting it. Derwin and Elliot were seriously hot together...very, very hot...ok, I may have read some parts twice but it was just for clarity...honest, purely in the interest of clarifying details.

I honestly can't wait for the next book in this series and I am so all over this one, but a word of warning to those who may choose to read this story...please keep in mind what Elliot does for a living...he's a rentboy, no there's not tons of him and other people sex happening honestly there's one scene and the sex is really more off page but again he's a rentboy. Also the ending is a bit cliff-hangerish and our guys have more of an HFN at this point but really excellent story and so worth going back for book 2, Fraud Twice Felt (coming soon) according to the book...sign me up, I'm all over this one.


An ARC of 'Murder Once Seen' was graciously provided by the publisher through Net Galley.,13774494

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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are.  (Mason Cooley)

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