Review: Livingston by J.M. Dabney

LivingstonRating: 2.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Francis “Liv” Livingston has enough scars to last a thousand lifetimes. He wears plenty for the world to see and far deeper ones he tries to hide. Now he lives for the dangerous missions that no one else wants. Liv’s boss, Linus Trenton, understands and tends to give Liv cases that only a madman could enjoy. At least until now.

Fielding Haskins is on the verge of his big break. In a few short months, he’ll start filming his first movie and it’s the culmination of years of hard work. Except he has a stalker who seems intent on preventing him from succeeding and for his own safety, his parents send him into protective custody with Trenton Security. And this apparently simple babysitting job is handed to Liv, who is furious at being given such a boring assignment. Confined to a small cabin, Fielding and Liv must make the best of their situation. As Fielding enjoys a life free from his controlling parents, he and Liv begin to explore the attraction between them. But even love might not be enough to save Fielding from a dangerous fan or from being dragged back into a world he hates.

Livingston was something of a challenge to read and for several different reasons. The writing is fine and the story, such as it is, works on a basic level. One of the biggest issues with this novel though is that as readers we are dropped into a world that’s already in progress. The author has several other series and characters from those books all seem to make an appearance here. I only know this because I did some research when it became apparent that I was supposed to know who these people were. The author makes no attempt in Livingston to explain who these people are or why they might be important. And we’re not taking one or two characters here, but a dozen or more, all of them crowded onto the page and clamoring for attention. They distract from the story happening between Liv and Fielding and because they nearly all have a Daddy kink, there are far too many people talking about their Daddies. It’s chaotic and confusing and it’s a problem that never gets resolved.

The other big issue is that there is essentially no relationship development between Livingston and Fielding. As a character, Liv has some depth and we’re given good insight into his past and why he is the way he is. But Fielding is something of a non-entity. We’re told he hates his life where he’s bullied and controlled by his parents. Yet he slips naturally into the role of Liv’s submissive. Beyond this though he doesn’t have much by way of depth. So the relationship between these two is flat and boring. And there is nothing by way of evolution when we look at their love affair. It just sort of starts between one page and the next. It isn’t believable or particularly interesting. Fielding has his natural kinks, which just happen to fit Liv’s, but there is no exploration of where or how they have come to this point in their lives. And it’s a shame, because I really wanted to like Liv and Fielding more than I did. I love a good bodyguard story and even more when a bit of kink is tossed into the mix. Unfortunately, Livingston failed to establish itself in any meaningful way.

Livingston left me frustrated and confused. There were too many extraneous characters whose introductions were minimal or non-existent. And when this was combined with a lacking spark between Liv and Fielding, there just wasn’t much here to hold my attention.

sue sig

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