Rating: 3 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Dmytro Kolisnychenko has done plenty of bad things in this life, but for the sake of his children, he’s working on the right side of the law as a bodyguard now. His current primary, Ajax Fairchild, is proving to be more difficult than most. The man has a dangerous stalker, but Ajax is frequently unwilling to do as instructed, which means keeping him safe is a full-time job. 

Ajax knows his parents care about him and that’s why they’ve hired security to keep him safe. But now he’s screwed up big time and trying to process what his life has become, on top of being on the run, is a challenge. As the threats against him turn decidedly more serious, he and Dmytro must struggle to survive a terrible betrayal if they have any hope of a future. 

I generally enjoy a good bodyguard story and accept a certain amount of fictional leeway has to be the norm when reading this genre. The absurd situations the characters find themselves in are often half the fun. But I struggled with The Primary Pest because Dmytro was so bad at his job and, at times Ajax, was simply unlikeable. The pacing was adequate and though there were the kernels of a decent story, ultimately it was the characters that left me struggling with this novel. 

Dmytro is an ex-gangster turned bodyguard. He’s trying to give his kids a better life, which is admirable, but he’s honestly terrible at the job. He routinely allows Ajax to make decisions (often out of exasperation) that fly in the face of protecting him. Or he wastes precious time trying to soothe Ajax long enough to sway him to his point of view. The argument is made at one point, by Ajax, that he is an adult and can do as he likes, but either Dmytro has contracted to take the job or he hasn’t and he doesn’t always seem as invested as he should. An example is the fact Dmytro’s always on his phone. I mean always. Really? You’re protecting someone but your phone is more important.  Additionally, it seems to take Dmytro and his partners far too long to realize there might be

Spoiler title
a company mole,
even though it felt shockingly obvious. More than once I found myself aggravated by the whole set up. 

Ajax isn’t a terrible person, but he’s done some pretty crappy things and they’re catching up with him. He is young, so I suppose he’s offered some leeway for that, but honestly, he’s just a brat and a pretty obnoxious one. He tends to demand and expect rather than ask. He does do some genuinely nice things, but these tend to clash with his other behaviors and as a reader I just couldn’t connect with him. 

The romance between Dmytro and Ajax seemed off somehow. I’m sure part of this stems from the fact that I wasn’t particularly attached to either character. But more than that, it often read as unequal or uneven. There was some imbalance between them that I found jarring. It was as if they just didn’t fit well together and more than once any sparks between them struck me as a result of their situation rather than any real emotion. Maybe this was my issue and other readers will see these two differently, but this couple didn’t work for me. 

The overall plot of The Primary Pest is fine, but my disdain for the main characters was disappointing. Dmytro often reads as inept at his job, to the point one wonders how he ever became a bodyguard. And Ajax, while not horrific, was more unlikable than not. This one didn’t work for me but if you’re a fan of the bodyguard trope you might feel differently about The Primary Pest.

Note: The Primary Pest is a re-release of Three Vlog Night with no major changes, per the author.  

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