Colin is a pretty boring guy. He does what he’s told and his life has developed a predictable, almost boring routine as a result. It’s not necessarily something he wants, but he isn’t exactly sure how to break free of the rut. And then one evening, Colin decides to take a different road home. It’s a spur of the moment decision that changes his life. Instead of shaking things up a little, he end ends up witnessing a murder and finds himself the prisoner of a bearded, mute killer. Who adores cats.
Taron doesn’t like depending on other people. They always end up leaving, so being alone and independent makes more sense to him. But he’s stuck with Colin. The man is a witness to Taron’s crime and even if it was justified, Taron doesn’t want Colin running to the police. Which means he’s suddenly dealing with another person, something he isn’t prepared for. Both men face the need to trust one another, but it doesn’t come easy when there’s such a divide between them. And with a mess of confusing feelings on top of it all, Taron and Colin will have to separate the lies from the truth to figure out what it all means.
So before I go any further, let me offer a note. Wrong Way Home: Taken is part of the multi-author Criminal Delights series and, as a result, it deals with much darker themes than most books. Additionally, the lines between right and wrong tend to be more blurred. So if the idea of that turns you off, this series isn’t going to be for you.
So where to start. As a rule, I don’t mind a book with a lot of murky layers, but I have to admit that Wrong Way Home: Taken tested me. There is some gore, but not a ton, and there’s no real torture or anything like that, but it definitely left me struggling, mostly because I didn’t think the plot was particularly strong. Colin and Taron are multi-faceted characters and I felt like they had a decent amount of depth. But their interactions tended to read as a bit stiff and mechanical. We’re told they’re hot for one another, but I was never convinced. Taron is mute, which adds an additional dimensional layer to his character, and he loves cats. I think because of this we’re supposed to be ok with him killing a man and shoving Colin in a cage. Now the guy he kills mutilated an animal, so he’s not exactly a decent human being, but that doesn’t automatically make Taron an avenging angel. This blurred idea of morality didn’t bother me, but I’m not sure it added much to the overall story.
The book really falters when it comes to the plot. It never makes sense why Colin stays. He has multiple chances to escape and we’re told he wants to, but he stays for reasons that aren’t clear or seem weakly established. We’re told he doesn’t have much connection to his real life, but it’s a stretch to think he’d be so quick to chuck it away. Also, the matter of Taron’s need to prep for the end of the world felt wedged in and his reasoning was skewed. The entire book this is portrayed as a way of life for him, which is fine, but then we get this paragraph at the end slapped on that makes all the prepping have a point. It felt like the authors were trying to validate their character’s actions, to protect him from seeming too “different” (never mind he’s a murderer), but they didn’t care about this before. So doing so at the end seemed pointless.
Wrong Way Home: Taken has some dark moments and it’s themes aren’t run of the mill. But I think it wanted to be a lot darker than it actually was. There were too many attempts to soften the main characters and justify their situation, which resulted in a plot that failed to coalesce into something substantial. I would be curious to see how further books in the Criminal Delights series evolve, but this one didn’t totally work for me.