Saturday, May 14, 2016

ARC Review: Whistle Blower by Dev Bentham

Money can’t buy happiness. Jacob Nussbaum knows this better than anyone. He's a corporate lawyer deep inside a huge New York firm, where he works overtime, sacrifices any chance at a personal life, and has been selling his soul for years. With a secretary as his only friend, he trudges on, until his whole world is blown apart by a manila envelope of photos—evidence that one of the firm’s partners is the dirtiest lawyer in one hell of a filthy business.

In search of the truth, Jacob travels to a small northern Wisconsin fishing resort. There he meets Ben Anderson, a brutally lonely man, who knocks him off his feet. Ben prompts Jacob to reevaluate his life. He’s a dozen years older than Jacob, still recovering from the death of his long time love, and doesn’t want to leave anyone a widower. But a jaded New Yorker on a soul-searching mission might be just the man to convince the grieving Ben that it's never too late to begin again.

Dani's rating:

Dev Bentham's books have a strong sense of place. In August Ice, Antarctica becomes another MC, the gorgeous but cruel mistress. In this book, an island in Northern Wisconsin serves as a catalyst, and a prison.

Two years after the death of his partner, Ben is still grieving, which isn't excessive considering more than two decades of friendship and love. Ben lives on an isolated island, shepherding tourists to and fro the mainland. Jacob catches Ben's eye because he doesn't belong.

Suspecting corruption at his law firm, Jacob visits the island hoping to confront a man who may have played a role in some underhanded dealings related to an environmental case. The man cancels his trip at the last minute, but Jacob stays.

This story is seeped in melancholy. August Ice had the same broody essence. Both Jacob and Ben are complex characters, but I never felt the passion between them.

Even though Bentham excels at writing captivating prose and interesting (often Jewish) MCs, her sex scenes feel flat and uninspired.

Ben and Jacob spend much of the story apart. Ben worries that at 50 he's too old for Jacob, who is 33. After all, Ben's partner was 17 years older and Ben lost him far too soon.

Nothing is really resolved until the last couple chapters, and considering the obstacles Jacob and Ben have to overcome, the ending seemed rushed and tentative.

Whistle Blower is strangely depressing. I needed more romance, more LIGHT, but I would recommend for a quiet, contemplative read.

Get the book:


A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it. 
~Samuel Johnson

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher 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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