Review: Meridian by Kirby Crow

meridianRating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel 


Grant Baines runs a charter tour company, but he is also an ex-military psychologist who takes jobs for the government. His latest assignment is to evaluate FBI profiler Matty Sawyer to determine if he is fit to go back to work. Matty was romantically involved with a man who, unbeknownst to him, turned out to be a high profile assassin and who left Matty for nearly dead. Even though Matty has been cleared of any wrongdoing, he is still traumatized from the experience. Grant’s plan is to spend some time with Matty on his boat and figure out if the man can go back to work.

Matty is still emotionally fragile after recovering from Jaeger’s attack. He feels a sense of responsibility for not realizing the type of man Jaeger really was earlier on, and he is still haunted by the experience. Despite the fact that Jaeger is in jail, Matty doesn’t believe he is gone for good from his life.

Grant knows he should keep things professional, but he starts to fall for Matty almost from the first. Matty’s submissive side totally feeds into Grant’s more dominant kinks and it isn’t long before the guys are falling for each other. Grant’s strength and confidence help Matty to begin to heal and his panic attacks and anxieties come less frequently. But Jaeger isn’t so willing to let Matty go, and even though Matty and Grant have begun to find happiness together, Jaeger may destroy it all before they have a chance to be together.

Meridian is a quickly paced novel with romance, lots of heat, and some nice suspense. The story balances the relationship between Matty and Grant well with the thriller side of things as they deal with the threat from Jaeger.

I found the connection between Grant and Matty to be really engaging. The attraction between them is intense right from the start, and there is a mutual dom/sub kink that works well between them. The BDSM element is on the light side here, with most of it playing out as dominance and submission between them. The sex is hot and the dirty talk even hotter, and the physical side of things is intense right away and works really well. Emotionally, I felt like things happen really fast and I had somewhat of a hard time with the speed of their feelings. These guys are pretty emotionally all in within a couple of days of meeting. Considering they start off as doctor/patient, and Matty is coming from a very bad mental/emotional place, the fact that they fall so hard so fast is a little unbelievable. Not to mention Matty’s emotional issues resolve almost immediately upon meeting Grant as well. Although I found I could roll with it for the most part, there were times it pulled me out of the story to see them committed so quickly. But despite this, I loved these guys together and found them to be incredibly sweet and romantic, as well as sexy.

On the thriller end, I liked the way Crow works in the suspense side with Jaeger. He is a threat almost from the start, as we learn how he excels at escaping and that Matty does not believe things are over between them. So the danger is lurking right from the beginning and the ending is exciting and well done. The immediate story wraps up here and the guys get their happy ending, but this is the first of a planned series and I don’t think it is the last we will see of Jaeger. The balance is nice here between the romance and the suspense and I thought this part worked well.

I do wish we had a little more development on Matty’s backstory with Jaeger. We come into the story after a long trial that left Matty a public face and emotionally (and physically) scarred. The backstory is unveiled slowly, but I think a better sense of their history and relationship would have helped. I also wanted to understand Jaeger more, as he is almost a third main character here and their connection has a big impact on Matty’s personality. For example, we learn that Jaeger confessed to all his crimes after being arrested, and it seems like there is a reason for this, but we never learn why. Jaeger is also a kind of larger than life, miraculously escaping time and again and sort of being impossible to stop or catch, yet I didn’t really understand what it was about him that made him so clever and able to continuously outsmart authorities. Again, it seems like this storyline will continue to future books, so maybe this is something that will be explored more in other stories.

This book has a lot of side characters that we meet along the way, including Matty’s friend/coworker Rey, as well as Grant’s sister, uncle, and other friends. I thought these characters were well-developed and worked nicely in the story. They really enhanced my sense of Grant and his life and the community in which he lives. There may have been a bit too much going on with all of them for a book of this length, but overall I think they were well developed and worked well with the story.

So I really enjoyed Meridian quite a lot and am really eager to see where Crow takes this series. I found Matty and Grant to be both really romantic and quite sexy together and enjoyed their connection, despite feeling like things move too fast for total believability. The suspense angle is well built and Crow does a nice job both resolving this story, and also leaving lots of room for things to develop in future books. So I liked this one a lot and would recommend it to both those who like sexy relationships with some light kink, as well as those who enjoy some light thriller/suspense.

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Comments

  1. This does sound interesting though I have to admit that the doctor/client relationship would also give me some concerns.

    • I don’t want to give too much away but the doctor/patient issue is addressed and resolved almost right away. I agree that normally this is something that would be troubling but it is handled well and becomes a non issue. So if that is a concern, I think you will be fine with this.

      • Jay and Luce, thank you both for your comments.

        Just a note that has nothing to do with this topic. Carina Press is having a sale and a number of books favorably reviewed here are available for 99 cents each. I bought Chaos Station by Kelly Jensen and Jenn Burke,
        Status Update (#gaymers) by Annabeth Albert, Viscount’s Wager (Gambling on Love) by Ava March,
        and Paradox Lost by Libby Drew,

    • Personally, I side-eyed this too. However, like Jay, says, Grant acknowledges how inappropriate his feelings for Matty are so he recuses himself from continuing the assessment early on.

  2. This is one I just gave to read!

  3. This is one of those books I’d been dying to read since, like, forever. I’ve enjoyed Kirby’s Scarlet and the White Wolf series, been less enthused with her other novels.

    OTOH, there was lot that worked for me: the setting, the secondary characters, the kink (which I’d disagree in that it’s not light per se. There’s humiliation kink with a hefty side of power play. It’s just that Matty and Grant don’t use any props or toys, if any), and Jaeger (I low-key cheered for him because he was the right balance of menacing and human).

    OTOH, as you pointed out: “Considering they start off as doctor/patient, and Matty is coming from a very bad mental/emotional place, the fact that they fall so hard so fast is a little unbelievable. “

    I had a way more difficult time with this. The guys’ attraction I could totally accept, but it was the strength of their commitment that I made me go “really?”. I like that the book sort of acknowledged the speed of their love when a character confronted Grant about the fact that he’d only known Matty for less than a week.

    In the end, although it wasn’t a terrible book, my disappointment about it was strong. I liked it enough to be curious about the next book, though I hope that it won’t stretch my suspension of disbelief as much as this one did. 😐

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Luce. I’m sorry this one disappointed you, especially since you were anticipating it so highly. I haven’t read by this author at all, so maybe it helped that I was coming into it cold.

      I guess I said I though the kink was light b/c it wasn’t a BDSM lifestyle type of story. I also tend to read a lot of stuff that is much more hard core than this, so to me it seemed “light.” But yes, I am glad you clarified some specifics so readers won’t be confused by my description of the kink.

      And yes, I totally agree with you. I had a couple “oh come on” moments as they were so emotionally committed so fast. I guess I was able to roll with it more than you. I wish I could put my finger on exactly why something can make me totally nuts in one book, and bother me but not block my enjoyment in others. But in the end I definitely came out on the “liked this one a lot” side of things. I too am eager to see how the next book goes. I think now that the guys are settled, this issue will be less of a problem (I’m assuming we will be following these MCs in future installments).

      Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      • I guess I was able to roll with it more than you. I wish I could put my finger on exactly why something can make me totally nuts in one book, and bother me but not block my enjoyment in others.

        Hahahah, this is so true! There definitely been books in which the MCs are totes in lurve and I’m all YAYS and, there are others (like this one), where my reaction is way less positive. Go figure.

        If I sat down and really thought about it, part of what nagged at me/didn’t let me move past the Doctor/patient obstacle as neatly as you, is that I don’t think the original premise was actually necessary. The romance would’ve worked just as well if Matty just happened to have taken a leave of absence from work and ended up in the small town where Matty does his tours. Maybe it’s just me, I dunno.

        In any case, I’m curious as to what’s going to happen in the next book. Will it be about Matty and Grant or will it focus on another couple (like Angel and Grant’s friend–from the club –whose name I’ve forgotten).

        FWIW, I do think I’m in the minority with my meh about this novel (and that’s OK. Not everyone is going to like the same books).

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