Rating: 4.5 stars
Chris Kearney is a seasoned trauma surgeon, still mourning the loss of a young patient whose life on the streets caught up with him. Chris meets with the undercover officer who brought the kid in to brief him on the injuries he found on the young man’s body and notices how attractive the cop is before returning to his OR. The attraction is mutual. Vice Detective Drew Hayden takes notice of the tired, kind-hearted surgeon who answers his questions, and calls him days later to let him know the case was closed and the murderer found. Both men are tempted to ask the other out, but their job responsibilities and limited free time make them pause. When a surprise encounter at the local grocery store brings them together again, Drew takes the initiative and asks the doctor out.
Each date leads to another as the doctor and the detective find they mesh, physically, mentally, in every way possible. But each works such long hours, and Hayden disappears for days when working undercover. Can each man find what it takes to make their relationship work even while dealing with the stress and strains of their occupations? Only time will tell.
How We Operate delivers a deft portrayal of a relationship between two men from the first stirrings of attraction, then the first date, to exclusivity and declarations of love. Each chapter represents a milestone in Chris and Drew’s relationship, large and small, which is a great idea I had not come across before. And each milestone shows us in detail how each man deals with the event and its impact upon their relationship. I felt as though I was almost eavesdropping on their conversations on each occasion, so beautifully is this handled.
Make no mistake, Moler has done an outstanding job in giving us two real, flawed human beings in Chris Kearney and Drew Hayden, so their relationship growth is not smooth or fairytale in any respect. And I loved that. The stresses and strains from their jobs flow over into their personal lives just as it does in ours, so it makes it so easy for us to understand and empathize with each character as they struggle for balance between their professional and their private lives. Again just as we do. The author clearly understand the pressures most couples operate under these days and treats it with the compassion it deserves.
Moler keeps the story and characters firmly grounded in reality. It is also clear that Moler has done the necessary homework with regard to the descriptions of each man’s professions, which are treated realistically and with respect. Not once do we drop our belief in these men because we can see them so clearly. Drew, long haired, weary from long hours undercover who needs to wash the dirt of the job off his body and out of his head. Chris, overworked, a perfectionist in the OR, far too controlled for his own good. If either man walked into a room, I would know them immediately, so vividly is each character drawn.
There are some stunning developments here which you might expect given each man’s profession. Still when it occurs, the impact upon the reader is huge because you now care greatly what happens to them. Yes, some tissues will be needed. But Chris, Drew, and the reader are in capable hands here and when at last I put my Kindle down, I was happy for the couple I had gotten to know so well over the year and half of their relationship and throughly satisfied how I left them. I loved How We Operate and look forward to new stories from Moler. I know I will be in good hands.
Cover: I am not sure about this cover. I kept thinking what is he doing? Given the professions of vice cop and ER surgeon, I think the artist could have done a better job. It doesn’t give the reader a clear indication of the story or characters within. I did like the fonts and the color of the title, easy to read as is the name of the author.