Rating: 1 star
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I need to begin this review by stating that I have enjoyed many novels by this author in the past and expect to do so in the future. However this particular one, Golden, does not fall in the keeper category for me. In fact, I must be honest, had I not been obligated to review this book, I would have abandoned it early on and relegated it to my DNF (Did Not Finish) shelf well before the ending. I am going to review this by drawing on the two main areas I felt weakened and, ultimately, derailed what could have been an interesting story line and a good novel overall.
The Plot: In a nutshell, this was a story of former Olympic swimmer and four-time gold medal winner, Justin Pattern, and how his life went from happy and regimented to dismal and lost. After his Olympic career came to an end, Justin secretly hoped that his Coach, Chris Jarvis, would keep him, love him, just as he loved Coach. However, Coach felt that Justin needed the opportunity to be on his own, find his way, and, despite, being in love with him, he sets Justin free. Four years later, Justin is in a job he hates, living in squalor, and drinking most nights to escape. One drunken night, amidst thoughts of suicide, he calls his former Coach who comes to the rescue and their love for one another resurfaces to save Justin from a life that he had grown to hate.
Sounds promising doesn’t it? The possibilities for this plot line were endless. Unfortunately, they also had the very real threat of becoming formulaic, predictable, and just plain boring and that is where Golden ended up. Coach swoops in and suddenly four years of bad living, drinking most nights, absolutely no exercise, and not one moment of pool time are eradicated. Justin is restored to his former Olympic glory from the first time he jumps in the pool. How can that be? Four years of drinking and eating poorly and the boy doesn’t have an ounce of fat on his body? Four years of never stepping inside the pool and he can do an hour of laps without even breaking a sweat? This was not only implausible, it was insulting to read.
When a story line is so farfetched, so far outside the realm of possibility it is no longer entertaining, it is just frustrating. There should have been immense reconditioning for Justin, both mentally and physically. He had been abandoned by his Coach, whom he loved, and then abandoned by the place he loved, the pool. Both of these things should have left him not only unable to cope with the idea of swimming, but certainly a bit more winded poolside. It just did not compute that he could be this amazing athlete still after four years of neglect.
And that brings us to the second area that needs to be addressed: Sex.
Yes, please, I do know whose novel I am reading and that sex should not only be expected but also guaranteed. This is normally a place where the author excels, as well. Usually hot, intense, exploratory, and with definite elements of BDSM, sex written by Sean Michael is normally intense and well done. However, in this novel, Golden, it became the vehicle which moved the story forward, kept it afloat, and was not, by an means, the way in which the character rediscovered himself, or regained his sense of balance. It was just sex, and so, so, so much of it that I found myself hoping for the end to come quickly.
Golden, was a series of small and less than exciting vignettes held together by copious amounts of sex that by mid-story were no long exciting to read but rather unsurprising and rather boring. I found myself becoming really upset that the author did not give e a smarter story, a more compelling plot, even better more inventive sex. The time and attention to detail and self-discovery that is so much a part of a good Sean Michael novel was sadly missing. I forced myself to finish this book. I cannot recommend you do the same. Golden, by Sean Michael, was unfortunately not the shining star I had hoped for or have come to expect from this author.