Story Rating: 3 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Joel Leslie and Antony Ferguson
Length: 10 hours, 59 minutes
While Lan Davis knows he’s bisexual, as a police officer who leans more towards women, Lan has never been out and never felt the need until he met shy, sweet college student, Easton Ravel. The two months he spent with Easton were the happiest in his life, until Lan ruined it all and crushed Easton’s heart by pretending he meant nothing to him. After ten years, Lan is no closer to settling down, and while still haunted by his feelings for Easton, he now has to deal with his increasingly non-platonic feelings for his straight partner, Parker Wilding.
When Lan is attacked and rescued by Easton and one of his dogs, all his feelings come pouring out …for both men. While Easton is leery of trusting Lan with his heart again, he can’t deny that he never got over him and, despite Parker’s surly attitude, Easton also can’t deny he finds Parker hot. For Parker, learning Lan isn’t straight isn’t what has him mind-f&cked, it’s his own out of the blue curiosity and burgeoning attraction for not just Lan, but Easton as well. While Easton and Lan are trying to navigate their rekindled romance, Parker is struggling to come to terms with his feelings, what he wants, and where he belongs.
Out of the Blue is… fine. It’s a decent enough story; there is just nothing compelling or memorable about it for me. One of the major problems I had with connecting to the characters and the story is that it feels like a late installment in a long-running series in which Lan and Parker were introduced as secondary characters that fans have been shipping. The story is littered with so many “that time we had to rescue X/used our badges to cover up club business during Y” anecdotes and so little backstory or fleshing out of the characters in a meaningful or organic way. As a result, they felt more like outlines of character types whose personalities were more fully explored in other books—Lan, the alpha repentant guy who broke Easton’s heart, but is willing to be out for him now; Easton, the adorable yet strong-willed younger man; and Parker, the “straight” guy with anger issues from his terrible past. They fill these roles, but aren’t much more than that.
Additionally, as the blurb describes Parker and Lan as cops, I was not expecting to read an MC (motorcycle club) story. Apparently, these detectives are affiliated, non-patched members of a local motorcycle club, and for me personally, the amount of power inherent in having a badge AND believing in the “rightness” of their club’s rules and belief in vigilante murder “justice” doesn’t work for me in this story. Especially, as the book talks almost exclusively of the things they’ve done for the club without any real good works as law enforcement officers. And while I can say that there isn’t’t quite as much misogyny and slut shaming in this book as in many MC stories, there’s enough, plus with all the “b!tches are high maintenance”, good women/bad women (i.e. Madonna/whore complex) statements and the guys having to work so hard to get it up with women, I wondered why all the dudes don’t just d!ck each other down and cut out the middlewoman.
I also have a hard time wrapping my brain around the cognitive dissonance of these super tough, hard guys who “follow their own rules” and “live how they want,” but are too afraid to come out, especially in a club that apparently has several polyamorous/non-het couples. I could deal with all this if the story had been fun or original, but not so much. It’s the typical “one of the leads has been kidnapped/is in danger and the club’s less than legal tactics and info are what get the job done” storyline rampant in MC books. Moreover, Parker’s journey/self-discovery could have been interesting, but for the majority of the book his inner monologue consists of “WTF” ad nauseum because he also doesn’t want to deal, which gets pretty old. Also, the story has GFY trope vibes, such as it being stated more than once how Parker has watched gay porn and also isn’t attracted to any other men or that the only person he discusses his confusion with happens to be a man in a triad with a woman and another man who also only likes one man’s junk—vibes I don’t really enjoy.
The narration is solid, as Antony Ferguson and Joel Leslie work pretty well together. However, it felt like Ferguson had to work a bit harder for Parker’s grumpy, growly voice at times. Additionally, his voice for Easton was pretty comparable to Leslie’s… except for intimate scenes. The difference in how Leslie voices Easton and how Ferguson does is noticeable to me in that it highlighted how performative the scene seemed. The first time all three men are together, it felt a bit hollow to me and Easton’s “Oh’s” of pleasure just fell as flat and connectionless as the scene was written. However, this was only a few times towards the end, and a blip on the overall radar of the performances.
Overall, Out of the Blue is a fairly typical MC/out for you story that checks all the boxes for those tropes. Easton is great and actually fleshed out, Lan is fine, and Parker is a jerk, but he’s apparently super-hot so who cares. (Plus, he gets a pass for the slotted in tragic backstory moments, so there’s that.) For people more familiar with the author’s other works and for whom MC stories are their catnip, then this audiobook may be worth a listen for you.