Review: I Like Em Pretty by Michael Mandrake

i like em prettyRating: 1.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel


New Orleans Homicide Detective François “Frankie” Choteau is tired of hiding who he is. He wants forever with someone and he can’t have that pretending he has a relationship with his female partner so that his coworkers won’t find out he’s gay. When he’s called out to a possible homicide, Frankie is taken aback by the witness – a beautiful man who is extremely flirtatious even though he’s just seen his lover kill himself. Frankie is determined to get to know the younger man better…after the case is closed and he is proven innocent.

When his older lover of the past three years takes his own life, Kajika Fortier finds himself at a loss. Yes, he loved Bob, but more as an older brother or father. The first time Kajika lays eyes on Frankie, he knows the detective will be his eventually.

Proven innocent and free to pursue his attraction to Frankie, Kajika comes on strong, determined to get his man. But it may not be as easy as it seems. Both men must find a way around the doubts, insecurities, and jealousies of the people closest to them that are threatening to tear them apart.

Okay, this is only my opinion and others may have a completely different one. So, this book was not for me. There are only a couple things that I really like about this story – the difference in culture and the interracial relationship being the first. I always love delving into different histories and cultures. And then there is the stripper aspect. It’s sexy and add in a cop to that mix and it’s bound to start fires. But still, neither were enough to save this book.

I felt no connection to the characters as a reader and to be honest, I can’t say I really liked any of the characters beyond surface features of beauty and sexy jobs. Frankie and Kajika are one-dimensional characters, no depth. Frankie is annoying and whiny. Kajika is self-centered and ditzy. The only two things they have in common are that they’re both gay and both shallow. They were in need of a stronger character development, and that just didn’t happen in this story.

The writing was choppy and the dialogue awkward. Every other sentence of dialogue between Frankie and Kajika held several endearments which was just repetitive and annoying. I understand that the author was trying to portray a Cajun accent, but it comes across forced and unrealistic. The entire story is more telling and very little showing and made it very difficult to read. There are several filler scenes that added absolutely nothing to the plot. The storytelling was overshadowed at times by author’s need to show the knowledge of places and histories of the Natchez people. Honestly, had I picked this book up on my own not having to review it, I probably wouldn’t have finished.

And then there’s Frankie’s partner, Kenina. I can’t figure her role in this book other than to be the bigoted female partner who secretly hopes to turn the gay man straight. Jealousy and obsession seem to be the only things she’s good at. Every scene in which she had a role, she was either trying to convince Frankie why he should love her, telling him that he chose to be gay and calling him horrible names, or trying to find reasons for him to doubt his attraction to Kajika. Yet, he always forgave her and brushed off her craziness. I don’t get it.

I wanted to like this book…I really did, but like I said earlier, this one just isn’t for me. It’s not a book that I would recommend, but this is just one reviewer’s opinion.

Cover: On the upside, the cover by Sara York is nice with fairly accurate depictions of Frankie and Kajika, as well as the beautiful French Quarter background. I like it.

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