Friday, May 6, 2016

Book Review: A Shot of J&B by Lou Sylvre

Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. After the rescue, Brian ended his employment with Jackie's uncle Luki and left the US for England, aiming to distance himself from the confused feelings—not lust, but not brotherly—that then sixteen-year-old Jackie engendered. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust with a dose of D/s rope kink is definitely on the list of possibilities. As they get to know each other, though, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true.

When Jackie moves to London for graduate studies in criminal psychology, he and Brian hope they’ll be able to enjoy each other's frequent company. But they haven't factored in the claim Brian's police job with Scotland Yard will make on his time, especially when the “Gaslighter crimes” sap investigative resources. An abandoned aide dog named Soldier leads to a breakthrough clue, and a chain of discoveries fall like dominoes. As Brian rushes to beat the criminal’s game before it escalates to true terror, he comes to an undeniable conclusion: Jackie Vasquez, the man he loves, is in mortal danger.

Jewel's rating:

A Shot of J&B is the first book by Lou Sylvre that I've read. While I thought this story had potential, I didn't think it was really met. I'd still like to read the series that ​​A Shot of J&B​ is spun from​​​, just so I can get some background on the characters and where they come from. You don't need to read that series to follow this story, though. A Shot of J&B​ stands well enough, on its own.​

At the start of the book, Brian and Jackie live on different continents. Brian Harrison is working for Scotland Yard, in London, where he has lived for the past 5 years. He left the US after Jackie's rescue in Finding Jackie because he thought he was getting too attached to Jackie and vice versa. Jackie was 16 at the time, and Brian 22. And that is a line that Brian will not cross. Besides, Jackie needed to heal physically, mentally and emotionally from his ordeal. ​So, ​Brian went as far away as he could. ​​But now, Jackie is 22 and about to start grad school and he's really come a long way. And when they reconnect, Brian discovers that his draw toward Jackie never went away.

​Jackie Vasquez is young, but he's seen things and experienced things that no one of any age should have to endure. But he's strong and he's worked hard to heal and become a healthy young man. Jackie is also fiercely independent and resistant to anything that would take that independence away. But with Brian, Jackie finds that he is willing to give up control - at least to a point. Jackie is a sexual submissive and he not only craves that submission, he needs it. And Brian is his counterpoint, the Dom who matches him so completely.

And I loved that - or the potential of it, anyway. But we're told a lot more than we're shown, unfortunately, and Brian and Jackie seem to go in circles a lot about what they want from each other and their hopes of a D/s relationship. And I don't mean they wavered at all, they really didn't. It's just that they kept repeating it, in some form or another until I just kind of wanted them to get on with it, already.

And when Jackie moved to London to attend grad school, he and Brian never felt so far apart to me. Brian's job was all consuming and while Jackie was busy with school, he was starting to feel like an afterthought. He's young and being in a relationship with a detective takes a lot of fortitude and commitment that maybe Jackie wasn't prepared for. And, to me, their connection suffered. And so did my enjoyment of the story.

​There were certainly things I enjoyed quite a lot - I loved Brian and Jackie as characters and as a couple when they were together. I loved that Brian practiced shibari, which can be so very beautiful. I loved Jackie's resilience. I loved that he loved both leather and lace. I even liked the overall story and the thriller aspects, though it was somewhat predictable. Oh, and I would be remiss is I didn't mention just how gorgeous I think the cover is.

But there was a tendency for unimportant tasks, like getting ready for school or bed, or opening an envelope to be vastly over-described and that, along with the repetitiveness ​of the writing tended to take me out of the narrative a bit. I don't really need the minutia of their day described in great detail just to fill space, and that's how it seemed at times. I think with another round of editing to tighten things up, the story could be a solid 4 - 4.5 stars. But as it stands, I'd give ​A Shot of J&B​ an overall 3 stars.​

Review copy of A Shot of J&B was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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