Rating: 5 stars
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Detective Matthew Elliot is the golden boy of LAPD’s Narcotics Unit “Fab Four,” taking down one drug ring after another. He knows everything about his partners and they know everything about him…well, almost everything. Matt is afraid to tell his partners that he is gay. Matt is a great cop, one of the best in the city, but he’s afraid that if people find out which sex he prefers he’ll become the gay cop.
When Matt meets his new boxing trainer, Kira Takeo Franco, otherwise known as “Frankie” to Matt’s friends, the attraction is instant. Trying to deny the attraction doesn’t work and trying to ignore Kira doesn’t work either. They both have a lot to lose if anyone finds out that either man is gay so Matt and Kira make an agreement to try and date while both men remain in the closet.
Meeting the parents is not what Matt expected. Increasing feelings is not what he expected, either. And a relationship that feels more permanent by the day is definitely not what Matt expected. The more time Matt spends with Kira the more thought he gives to coming out of the closet and making his secret known to those he cares about. But before he has that chance, the case Matt has been working on takes a turn that could cost Matt more than he ever thought possible.
Point of No Return by N.R. Walker is a fantastic read. It is a crime drama, mystery, and love story all rolled into one. Add together the dating, the secrets, the steamy sex scenes, the suspense, the humor, and the angst and I found a story that grabbed my attention and held it. There was even a point where I might have teared-up…a little…maybe. The plot is well thought out and the storyline well written. The setting of Los Angeles portrayed as a drug-infested city in need of a hero to save it feels both realistic and believable. The author keeps the focus on Matt and Kira’s relationship when needed, but also changes focus easily to the investigation and Matt’s dilemma regarding coming out and his friends.
I love the progression of Matt’s character from a man who is planted firmly in the closet to the strong confident man who knows who he is and who he loves by the end of the story. He is so full of confusion and fear over coming out, but he doesn’t realize it. Matt is very focused on his career and being the best that he puts his personal life on the back burner until he meets Kira. The story is written in the first person POV of Matt, so I can only give my thoughts on Kira. But I fell in love with Kira’s character. First of all, his mother is Japanese and his father is Spanish. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a story with racial and cultural diversity, and Kira is a great character for that role in this book. He is understanding, patient, kind and gentle, yet strong physically, emotionally, and mentally. When he goes through hell in this story, he never turns his back on Matt or blames him. He looks to Matt for support and love. He is Matt’s stability in this story – the person that Matt can count on for strength and comfort. They are both great characters.
Matt and Kira’s relationship was inevitable from the beginning, the chemistry was so very obvious, and the flirting so adorable. I appreciate that the author let Matt and Kira get to know each other, and let the readers get to know Matt and Kira as a couple, before they even thought about falling in love. The lead up, the slow burn, made the declaration and their relationship much more believable.
The cast of secondary characters took up a big role in this story. They were all such a huge support for Matt and Kira, whether they knew about it or not. Matt’s team of work partners, the “Fab Four” – Mitch, Tony, and Kurt – were also his closest friends. They make for some comic relief in the book but they also make Matt’s story more realistic. His fear of the people he trusts with his life finding out his secret is Matt’s great dilemma. What will they think? Will they still accept him? Will they still work with him? They are a big part of his life and a big part of the reason he remains in the closet. Ross Berkman, Matt’s commanding officer, becomes an unlikely but welcome source of support for Matt in and out of the workplace. My favorite, though, were Kira’s parents who accepted Matt almost immediately as part of their family. Matt lost his mother at a young age and has no family to speak of. And by the end of this book, Kira’s parents cared for and supported Matt almost as much as they cared for their son.
I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end. The fire-hot attraction and the sweet, slow burn of the love story as well as the action and suspense of the crime drama kept me intent on finishing the story. Anyone who likes somewhat angsty love stories with detectives, boxing/kickboxing, action, and a little humor will enjoy this book. I highly recommend Point of No Return by N.R. Walker and I’m crossing my fingers for a possible sequel.
The cover by Reese Dante is perfect for this story – a wonderful portrayal of Detective Matthew Elliot with the form of Kira in the background. Just beautiful.