Larry Bootchinski, now calling himself Larry “Boots,” is nearing thirty and beginning to have a crisis of conscience over his chosen profession. You see, six years ago, Larry’s twin brother died after he was brutally beaten outside a club. The murderers were never found and, from then on, Larry began to assist grieving families who’ve lost a loved one and have no recourse through the law. His assistance results in the guilty party being…exterminated.
One day, in the course of surveillance of a target, Larry meets Kenny—a newly blind man who teaches other newly blind people skills, like how to navigate their living spaces and employment. Larry is captivated by Kenny and compassionate about Kenny’s needs without treating him as disabled. Kenny is highly perceptive and he’s keen to find out what Larry is hiding in his past—but what Larry is hiding is his present and how his newest target is proving to be his most dangerous ever.
I really liked the flow of this story. Larry is an honest narrator who confesses rather quickly his “avenging angel” persona to the reader. Despite being clearly a murderous vigilante, I think he came off as both sympathetic and likable. The grief he still carries for his dead twin brother is palpable. Larry’s nagging, quirky mother, who’s both a pothead and an alcoholic, clearly loves Larry dearly. She makes for some excellent comic relief. The budding romance between Larry and Kenny is both sweet and sensual. Larry hasn’t had a serious lover in a long time and Kenny is alternately brave and brittle—believing that any “whole” man wouldn’t want to be burdened with a blind partner. Their dynamic is one of mutual support and giddy exploration.
Kenny senses Larry’s job is way more dangerous than the “computer software engineer” schtick Larry’s told his mother he does, but it takes a few weeks for Kenny to guess the full scope of it. During this time, Larry’s gone from hunter to potentially hunted—by a psychotic target. The building tension of the hunt climbs into the frantic stages before long, with Larry falling hard for Kenny, only to recognize that Kenny is now a weakness his quarry can exploit. I loved how Larry rose to the challenges to both love and protect Kenny, and how Kenny never gave up on Larry, even when he could have. How many people would continue to date a known murderer, after all? Kenny saw beyond what Larry does to the the reasons for his behavior and, while not pleased, was at least understanding of his motivation…and wanted Larry to reconsider his chosen path.
This story was engaging to me from start to finish. I felt like Larry could have been a neighbor, he was so down-to-Earth and pragmatic. His commitment to the truth is what kept me liking him, even though he was a “bad guy” by most moral measures. I was glad to experience Larry Boots’ life and his romance with Kenny, which has a happy ending I couldn’t wait to reach. Also, plenty of yummy sexytimes!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.