Jack Horwood may just be the best security analyst around, but after years in the Army and MI6, he’s looking for a change of pace. He has done his homework on Nancarrow Mining and knows the company will be the right fit for him as long as he wows them in person. On the day of his interview, Jack is prepared for every eventuality, except for seeing Gareth Flynn again.
It’s been over a decade since the two men served together and the barriers that once prevented a relationship from forming are long gone. Jack and Gareth can’t ignore their rekindled feelings for one another, but the road to love is never easy, especially for two such complicated men. And work won’t wait while they sort everything out. There is trouble at Nancarrow Mining and, while Jack is sure he can find the company’s financial thief, Nancarrow isn’t his only concern. For Jack another kind of war rages, one that threatens to expose his secrets and a dark pain he has spent a lifetime hiding. He will need Gareth and all the help he can get to see the battle won.
I thoroughly enjoyed Job Hunt from start to finish. Jack and Gareth are wonderful creations and the multi-layered plot kept me hooked. Job Hunt has everything from political intrigue and financial corruption, to a desperate, intense chase to save the young victims of a prostitution ring. And while the varying narrative threads occasionally get a bit tangled, the author’s strong voice and the well developed characters make almost every facet of this book work in the end. There were only a few times when the pacing was a bit slow and this usually seemed to occur when the action strayed away from the main characters. Job Hunt never lagged for long though and as a whole the novel really flew by and definitely left me wanting more. Occasionally it gets a little heavy on the tech jargon but the author does a decent job of breaking everything down for the reader without actually dumbing it down, something I really appreciated.
Jack and Gareth are really the beating heart of this novel and Jack especially. He is a systems security whiz (read hacker) and has been used by just about everyone for his skills. This, in addition to his ongoing, off the book, work for the police, has left him weary, cynical, and desperate for something he cannot quite bring himself to want. And then Gareth walks back into his life. Gareth who never used him and always provided the quiet, commanding support he craved. They fit together naturally and while their course is hardly smooth, the author does an excellent job of demonstrating how well they complement one another. They simply fit and while years have separated them and despite how quickly they are thrown back together, their relationship never feels forced.
Jack falls into a pattern of unhealthy obsession when he tackles any type of work, be it a leak in Nancarrow’s financials or his ruthless pursuit of a pimp who is abusing young boys. It is Gareth who pulls him back from the brink more than once and we’re told this has often been his role. I felt like we got to know Jack much more than Gareth and I would have liked to see that balanced out a bit more, simply because Gareth struck me as fascinating and as unique as Jack. This is not say that Gareth is one-dimensional or lacks definition, only that I would have preferred to see more of what makes him tick. I think one of the reasons I like this couple so much is that while both crave control, they are willing to sacrifice a measure of it to the other, but they don’t do so in a way that leaves either of them feeling lesser.
There is an extensive cast of secondary characters and while many of them add to the story and fill out the narrative, there are all almost too many of them. On a couple of occasions they actually crowd out Gareth and Jack. While I appreciate the well-rounded plot, I would have preferred a smaller supporting cast that could have remained intimate without becoming intrusive.
Job Hunt wraps up nicely but the epilogue hinted at a sequel, which I’ll be anxiously waiting to read. There is definitely a great deal more of Jack and Gareth’s relationship to explore and a shadowy unknown who is gunning for Jack. Aside from a few too many secondary characters and the occasional pacing issue, Job Hunt is an excellent read and one that I highly recommend for anyone who loves a great couple and an engrossing plot.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.