Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review: Dirty Laundry by Heidi Cullinan

Reviewed by Fehu
Dirty Laundry (Tucker Spring #3) by Heidi Cullinan
Riptide Publishing
Novel: 265pgs
3.75 Pants Off

The course of true love doesn’t always run clean. But sometimes getting dirty is half the fun.

Entomology grad student Adam Ellery meets Denver Rogers, a muscle-bound hunk of sexy, when Denver effortlessly dispatches the drunken frat boys harassing Adam at the Tucker Springs laundromat. Thanking him turns into flirting, and then, much to Adam’s delight, hot sex over the laundry table.

Though Denver’s job as a bouncer at a gay bar means he gets his pick of geek-sexy college twinks, he can’t get Adam out of his head. Adam seems to need the same rough play Denver does, and it’s damn hard to say no to such a perfect fit.

Trouble is, Adam isn’t just shy: he has obsessive compulsive disorder and clinical anxiety, conditions which have ruined past relationships. And while Denver might be able to bench-press a pile of grad students, he comes from a history of abuse and is terrified of getting his GED. Neither Denver nor Adam want to face their dirty laundry, but to stay together, they’re going to have to come clean.

This title is part of the Tucker Springs universe.

A geek and a bouncer meet in a Laundromat. It does sound like a joke...or the beginning of a porn movie, which is not far from what happened after the geeky grad-student; Adam is rescued by Denver, a gay bouncer from a nearby gay club, when Adam is harassed by some drunken frat boys.

Adam is working on his PhD in Entomology, so he gets geek points for the studying the subject and some more for choosing and being exited about hawk moth. I can honestly say I've learned more about the hawk moth from this book, than you'd imagine one could reading an m/m romance. Did you know that you could mistake the hawk moth for a humming bird in flight? No, me neither and I had to Google the moth. Well if he had to study bugs, moth isn't as bad as it gets, but studying any insects sounds very geeky, so that made it perfect for the geek week.

I liked the combo of a geek with a bouncer, not exactly innovative, but a nice contrast. What made the book quite unique was Adam's OCD and how it was handled here. OCD played a big part of this story and I liked the fact the Adam had weaknesses, had issues, it made him appear more fleshed out and real and that was also a bit of a distraction. A lot of the book deals with Adam's issues, like not being able to tolerate other people in his place or being in their place, his panic attacks, his angst and self-criticism. He appears in full colour and other characters dim in comparison, even Denver his lover, is not as fleshed out. Secondary characters like Louisa, a Trans* woman and even his bug study group or the ex-boyfriend Brad, pale in comparison to Adams characterisation, which is a shame, since I thought Louisa had a lot of potential, as did Oliver. The book wasn't short, over 200 pages so there was room for development and I think with less sex we could have a bit more geekiness and more detailed characters.

Still I enjoyed the romance and even all the issues for 3/4 of the book and it was going for more than 4 pants, but then something changed. I'm not big on BDSM and it was there from the beginning, but mostly in a lighter form. Actually this is one of the authors who writes that kink in a way that I can enjoy, it's usually not light. My problem here was the punishment and the mental health issues. Adam wanted to be punished after he had freaked out, punished for not  being able to handle his OCD and I'm sorry but that felt wrong with me. Denver has issues of his own; we find out that he has a learning disability and a lot of self-worth issues. They do make quite the pair, but they fit, just the punishments in regard with Adams OCD behaviour made me uneasy. Also the last quarter of the book feels a bit rushed, since all things happen pretty fast and they are building their own house already.

Geek Level: Well this book gets 2 geek points for study subject and choice of profession, sadly the geeky stuff was bugs and some of Adams appearance, and no other geeky trivia was mentioned!

Should You Read It? It depends, I enjoyed it, it's well written for one, some missing words aside. There is a plot and I think it deals with a common trope of geek/ muscle stud in an interesting way, adding some unique twist to the theme through the mental issues. For people who want an easy romance, the OCD might be a bit too much, since it really is a big part of the story, which made the plot more believable and added to it, at least in mine opinion, but I can see how people might find it too much for a m/m romance book. Also the BDSM part is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if one doesn't mind these two points, than this will be a good and intriguing book to discover!

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