Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: Secrets and Ink by Lou Harper

Reviewed by SinChan
Secrets and Ink by Lou Harper
Samhain Publishing
Novella: 128pgs
4 Pants Off

When Karma writes you a ticket, pay up or else...

If life was like the movies, Jem Mitchell's wouldn't be such a mess. In LA's glittering world of dreams, he works an unglamorous job at a gourmet grocery store. His past is so deep and dark, the details are lost even to him. All he knows is he was once cursed by a meter maid, and ever since, his love life has sucked.

When Detective Nick Davies becomes a regular at the store, Jem dares to hope he's un-hexed at last. He should have known that sex with a remarkably normal guy, devoid of weird fetishes and fatal personality flaws, was too good to be true.

During a post-encounter cuddle, Nick recognizes the tattoo on Jem's back—and remembers him as a young hustler he arrested nine years past.

As Jem's memories come crashing back, he flees from Nick, but fate contrives to keep pushing them back together. And when Jem's old partner in crime is found murdered, the stakes are raised for life, for love, and a dangerous drama with no guarantee of a Hollywood ending.

Jem meets Nick in a grocery store line. After some dates and sex, Nick recognizes Jem as an underage hustler he arrested years ago that have the same distinctive spider tattoo. They break up but someone is sending Jem naked photos of him when he used to hustle and murders his friend. Nick gets involved again in Jem's life to protect him and solve this mystery.

I absolutely love the mystery and how every puzzle piece comes together in the end to complete the picture. In contrast, the romance between Nick and Jem falls short and suffers while the mystery and intrigue builds up. How they reconcile romantically is not convincing for me.

Jem is actually a very mature and quirky. He believes he is cursed by karma, sees meaning in colors, and stays out of trouble after a building falls on him and puts him through speech and physical therapy. He can be impulsive but also have good instincts. His impulsiveness with crime scene evidence and suspects combined with Nick's exasperation with him makes this an exciting mystery that's unpredictable and fun.

Overall, I enjoy reading the story. All the characters have something unique and distinctive. The best part of the story is figuring out how Jem's spider tattoo fits in with the murder. Even though I would have like there to be more romance, the mystery definitely makes this book an enjoyable read for me.

4 Pants Off

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