Audiobook Review: Hell on Wheels by Z.A. Maxfield

Hell on WheelsStory Rating: 3.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 6 hours, 55 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Audible
Book Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance


 

Nash is the steady beat that keeps his family together. He keeps everything running between the family auto shop and helping his father care for his wheelchair-bound sister. Nash is tied to Bluewater Bay for now and for always it seems. Nothing much new happens for Nash until one night when he sees a car broken down with a lone driver.

The driver is none other than Spencer Kepler-Constantine and their attraction is instantaneous. While Spencer is known for his recurring role on the TV show Wolf’s Landing, currently he’s most known for his divorce from Peter that’s being splashed all over the tabloids. When the media frenzy behind Peter and his new relationship explodes, Nash becomes the friend (with benefits) that Spencer never had. Spencer isn’t staying in town long and Peter wants him back and Nash can’t leave, or can he? A relationship isn’t what either of them was looking for, but it looks like they may have certainly found one.

Hell on Wheels picks up the Bluewater Bay series with the books being connected by the town and the TV show that is being filmed there. I have read two of the other books in the series and this one stands perfectly fine on its own.

When this book opens, I found myself having to just go with certain scenes to try and make it work for me. First, Nash and Spencer meet and hook up immediately in Spencer’s car that is on the side of the road with mechanical issues. Okay, I go with it. Then when Nash of course loses his wallet in the car and Spencer returns it, Spencer who is properly British has a complete emotional breakdown in front of Spencer. So, the way these two were coming together at first didn’t exactly work for me.

There are several storylines in play. There is Nash and his family and there is Spencer and his breakup with his husband. Then there is Nash and Spencer forming a relationship and that storyline got the least page time. I felt that there were too many other stories going on and there was minimal time for Nash and Spencer together. Nash and Spencer were both great characters, but I ultimately felt that they were trapped in a mediocre story.

Nash is a good guy and he is devoted to his family especially his younger sister. He has put his life on indefinite hold, but he likes being needed and he’s good at keeping it all together for everyone. While his family appreciates him to a point, when circumstances come to a boil, I did feel that they came off as ungrateful for all the sacrifices he made for them.

Spencer has the full focus of the media on him and he’s trying to hide in plain sight. His relationship with his soon to be ex-husband is certainly a complicated one and he has a lot to work through there. There are scenes with Spencer and Peter that illuminate their relationship and there are also scenes with Peter’s new love interest. However, when Peter makes a full on spectacle to get Spencer’s attention, the spotlight grabbing love interest is then nowhere to be seen. There were also side characters in Spencer’s world, including his assistant and bodyguard. They barely give Spencer a moment’s privacy but when they are truly needed they get faked out from a basic maneuver and neither added anything to the story for me.

By the end, (prior to the epilogue) Nash and Spencer have only known each other for a few days and I then had a harder time buying into the epilogue and ultimately their HEA. This is the first book I have read by this author, so perhaps it’s that or perhaps it’s just this book only fit in certain places for me.

The narration here, however, was stellar as Nick J. Russo made this story with his vocals. He continues to be a narrator that I look for and can elevate a book for a number of reasons. Nash’s voice is smooth and personable. When Spencer speaks, his British accent is rich and consistent. Spencer plays a werewolf on TV and speaks briefly in his character’s voice and that too was engaging listening. The secondary characters round out the production and all have distinct voices. While Spencer’s 15-year-old sister was the weakest vocal, I can let that one slide. The only detraction for me was when we were in Spencer’s thoughts and his voice no longer had a British accent. It then could become unclear whose head we were in as his inner dialogue voice sounded like Nash. But for great pacing and an overall well done performance, Russo is a quality act.

 

michelle signature

Leave a Comment

*

%d bloggers like this: