Rating: 3.5 stars
Jake is a detective working undercover to catch Frank Warren, a new crime boss in town. As the force’s only openly gay detective, Jake has been assigned to pose as a rent boy to lure Warren, a man with a reputation for buying young, attractive men off the street. Jake is helped along by his partner Mac, to whom Jake is quite attracted, although Mac is decidedly straight.
Things aren’t going well with the assignment. Jake has had no luck attracting Warren, and he is exhausted and frustrated at the long hours and the poor pay. One night, Jake is hired by an attractive man named Graham, and ends up finding himself quite taken with the man. He forgets himself a bit, staying with Graham over two hours rather than quickly getting back on the street. The next night, just as it looks like he might have hooked Warren, Graham spots him once again, throwing off the assignment and frustrating Mac who senses something more is going on between them. Jake is also struggling with the lure of the money — he owes a lot on his home and part of him is tempted to keep at least some of the cash he is making from the clients. As Jake continues his assignment, he must continue to balance his feelings for Mac and his growing attraction to Graham, while still doing his job and catching Warren.
Hmm, ok, this was an interesting one. I really liked the set up and the idea behind this story. I love rent boys and I was intrigued by the idea of the young detective working undercover and the potential tension between him and his growing love interest. But unfortunately, there were a lot of places where the story felt like it didn’t totally hold together for me.
First, I will say I was thrown by the idea that Jake actually sleeps with all the random guys who try to buy his services while undercover. I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about undercover work, especially in England, but do vice cops posing as prostitutes really sleep with all those folks? I guess if he arrested them all (or even just scared them off) it could get back to Warren, but wow, that would be an intense job. Maybe I am way off base but it just struck me as odd. But please correct me if I am wrong, because as I said, this is not my area of expertise.
Aside from that issue, I found some things confusing as well. For example, when Graham runs into Jake the second night, Jake is totally freaked out that Mac might recognize him, somehow giving away Jake’s interest in Graham. But why not let Mac to think Graham is a client coming back for more (which he was)? Instead Mac assumes Graham is a friend or love interest of Jake’s who he’s inappropriately engaging with while working. I just didn’t understand why Jake wouldn’t just tell Mac that Graham was a client. It certainly seemed the lesser of the two evils. This was just such a big issue in the story and I totally didn’t understand the logic or how it played out.
Also, Jake is tempted to keep some of the money he is getting from his clients. He says no one but he and Graham know about it so he could keep it without anyone being the wiser. But Mac saw him go with Graham. Wouldn’t he know about the money? Certainly he expects Jake to get paid. I just felt like there were multiple issues like this, where things just didn’t make sense to me.
I also must say that the relationship between Graham and Jake just didn’t work for me. Basically Jake has feelings for Graham almost immediately, despite the fact he is on the job and has only spent a couple hours with him having sex. They then have two other very brief encounters that are basically quick sex, no other getting to know you stuff. So I had a hard time seeing where an emotional connection was growing between them. Certainly not enough to lead to the strong feelings Jake has or to where things end up between them at the end of the book. I just didn’t feel any chemistry between them or relationship development.
On the other hand, I did like Jake’s relationship with Mac, and felt like that was nicely developed. Glass does a nice job showing the connection between them, both as work partners and friends. I like the way they handle Jake’s attraction and how Mac takes it in stride, not freaking out but still being clear he is not interested. It is obvious he cares about his friend and makes an effort not to hurt him.
So unfortunately this one wasn’t a total winner for me. There were some interesting elements and parts that worked nicely, but too much just didn’t come together for me.
Cover Review: Oh, I like this cover. The cover model feels like Jake and I like the way the bar in the background features a key element of the story.
Be sure to check out Fiona Glass’ guest post later today where she talks more about Necessity’s Door and shares a great giveaway!