Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Casper Bredhal is the heir to the family company, and when he finally begins dating his childhood crush, Raleigh Jackson, Casper thinks his world is finally perfect. But it all comes crashing down when he’s accused of a murder he didn’t commit, and Raleigh believes Casper is guilty. Raleigh is a cop in the small town, and he not only believes the circumstantial evidence, but helps the investigation.

Now, Casper is free, exonerated in the worst of ways because of his sister’s death by suicide. Casper is angry and hurt and doesn’t know how to live in the world anymore after eleven months incarcerated waiting for trial. And he wants Raleigh to suffer as well, hurt beyond belief that the man he loved thought him guilty.

But there is a much darker secret at work, and Raleigh is determined to find out the truth. While putting together the pieces of the puzzle, Raleigh is also trying to make amends. Casper is still in love with Raleigh, but what he did is unforgiveable. Or is it? When the truth comes out, forgiveness might be their only way forward.

I was intrigued by the premise of this story right from the start, because how could two men come back together when one of them was utterly convinced the other was guilty of murder? In the end, however, this book was a bit of a mixed bag for me.

The story is told solely from Casper’s POV and, as a reader, my heart broke for him from the start. We know he didn’t commit the crime he’s accused of, and being as famous as he is in the small town, he faces quite a lot of judgement, even when he’s exonerated. It was also clear what Raleigh’s been through, and I think the author did a good job of making him a sympathetic character who has a very strong moral compass. Raleigh is a cop, and his job is to uphold the law. But even still, it was hard to forgive Raleigh for not at least somewhat having Casper’s back. And while the romance wasn’t as big a plot point as I would have liked to see, I was rooting for Casper and Raleigh to work out, to work through what had happened and to forgive. But I would have liked to see this explored a bit more, especially Raleigh’s apologies.

As for the mystery side of things, it became clear to me early on exactly who had committed the crimes, and the why wasn’t much of a surprise either. For me, this was a bit of a letdown. On the one hand, I was glad Lanyon didn’t try for anything crazy, and that the clues added up and made sense. After all, as with most crimes, the most logical conclusion is the right one. On the other hand, it was obvious who and how, even if the why had another layer. I would have liked to see another twist, just to give it something extra.

Overall, this was a good, quick read, with good characters. There were aspects I wished had been explored and fleshed out more, but the bones of the story are good and made for an engaging read. If you’re a fan of this author, and/or like crime romances, then think about picking this one up.