You Can't Go Home AgainRating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

During an undercover assignment, Jack’s rookie partner Kevin is shot and killed.  Jack holds his partner, whom he called the Kid, in his arms as he dies.  He insists on being the one to tell the Kid’s widow what has happened.  It’s the first time that Jack has ever met Marie, but he’s immediately impressed with her strength.  They make a connection and Jack agrees to escort Marie to the wake and funerals.  After the funeral in the town where they live, Jack and Marie take Kevin’s body back to where he grew up in Alabama for another funeral and interment.

At the second funeral, Jack is shocked when Kevin walks into the church.  Freaked out, he runs outside.  There he’s introduced to Devin, Kevin’s identical twin brother.  Jack didn’t know that Kevin had a twin.  Devin sounds and looks like Kevin, and has a winsome personality that draws Jack in.  Jack, Marie, and Devin form a trio of support.  Devin’s mother doesn’t like Devin because he’s gay, or Marie because she thinks that Marie made Kevin join the police force.  The trio get along very well and have dinner together after the funeral.  It’s then that the men learn that Marie is pregnant and that Kevin didn’t know before he died.  Devin and Jack vow to be there for Marie as she navigates becoming a single mother.

Jack is only back home again for a short time before Devin shows up at his door.  As a freelance writer, he can do his job from anywhere.  So he’s decided to pack up and move to the East Coast to be closer to Marie to help.  But Marie doesn’t want anything to do with him, thinking he’s ruining his life just to be near her.  It also hurts her to see someone that looks so much like her beloved dead husband.  Jack asks Devin to stay with him, and eventually Devin and Marie get back to their wonderful friendship again. Jack and Devin grow closer too, though they both have hang-ups that keep them from admitting their feelings

But there is trouble brewing.  Devin’s mother has shown up in town demanding to be a part of her grandchild’s life, though Marie wants nothing to do with her because of the way the woman treated her.  And when Devin is mistaken for his dead brother and taken captive, Jack will stop at nothing to get Devin back.  The question becomes, will he be able to get the man he loves out of danger before it’s too late.

I have to be honest here, I have mixed feeling about this book.  On the one hand, I really liked the premise and it was executed well.  The characters were great and really well developed; I felt I got to know them, and what motivates them, very well.  But on the other, I felt somewhat detached from the story as a whole, and I think that was perhaps due to the writing style.

Jack is a seasoned cop and he thought his rookie partner was well prepared for the situation they were walking into.  But Kevin panicked, and everything went to hell.  The book opens with the heart-wrenching scene, a gun fight that ultimately leads to Kevin’s death.  Jack, understandably, takes the loss hard, and the whole next section of Jack feeling guilty and numb is really well done.  I felt for him.  My heart hurt as he was trying to process his loss.  Jack has a heart of gold underneath his detached exterior.  Having been burned by an ex, he keeps people at a distance.  Well, that’s what he thinks anyway.  But Jack’s true nature comes through when he meets Marie, and later when he meets Devin.  He’s a caretaker, and he’s happiest when he’s useful to those he cares about.

Devin is a really likable character, and, as a writer, has a real way with words.  He’s clever and witty and made me smile on more than one occasion.  He showed us his quick sense of humor and I just enjoyed him.  I loved that he was ready to uproot his life to help out Marie, and that he gave her space and time when she needed it.  Devin was just an all-around really likeable guy.  I liked his relationship with Jack a lot.  It was easy to see their chemistry and it was clear to anyone with eyes that these two guys were meant for each other.  They moved easily from friendship to love in a way that just made sense.

But I did have a few issues with this book, and it centered on this author’s style.  For me, it felt like there was a bit too much telling going on, and not enough showing.  There were often times when I thought to myself that I would have liked to see a certain scene in action rather than being told about it after the fact.  The plot was great, but I also thought there were a few moments that seemed a little over the top.  I’m not opposed to that in my fiction, except I need to see it building.  Here there were two things that happened that I felt kind of came out of the blue. Now in particular pulled me out of the story for a few minutes.  [spoiler]After Marie had her babies, Devin’s mother decided to steal one and raise it as her own.  We didn’t get to see her instability building, so it seemed like it came totally out of the blue.  When she came to say goodbye to Devin, she had one of the babies in her arms.  All I could think was that, these days, all babies are fitted with their own little alert devices and if the baby is taken past a certain point, the alarm blares.  There is no way that Devin’s mother could have gotten that baby out of the nursery.  It just seemed incredibly unrealistic to me, and also came out of the blue.[/spoiler]  Though I have to say that Murphy did a good job of sucking me back in fairly quickly after these issues.

This was a good story that took me on a bit of an emotional ride.  Likeable characters, and a good plot kept me interested until the end.  I enjoyed You Can’t Go Home Again, and can definitely say it was a worthwhile read.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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