Title ~ Lucky Man (Heated Beat Story)
Author ~ Garrett Leigh
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 11th March 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
A Heated Beat Story
As a diehard music fan, a dirty, smoky gig is Vice Squad Detective Danny Jones’s idea of heaven. While watching one of the most popular bands in Northern England, the sight of gorgeous rock star Finn McGovern changes his life forever.
Beneath the tattoos and leather jacket, Finn is kind and sweet, but when he confesses a dark secret to Danny, it tests their fledgling bond. Danny digs deep to accept Finn, but before long, a terrifying trail of death threatens to tear them apart before they’ve even got started.
A monster is killing prostitutes on Danny’s patch, and when a dead girl turns up too close to home, Danny discovers a heartbreaking link between the girl and his bright new life with Finn, a life he’ll do anything to protect.
Lucky Man is an excellent read if you’re looking for something gentle and beautiful, a perfectly lovely story without overwhelming drama and torturous obstacles. That’s not to say that author, Garrett Leigh, has written a book that’s either slow or boring. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This is a well-written and well-paced story of two men, an unlikely couple, falling in love – hopefully forever, despite each having his own issues. After all, what couple doesn’t have issues?
The story is placed in Northern England, where Danny is a “copper” and Finn is a budding rock star. Danny has issues with people getting close to him, apparently stemming from at least a couple of unfortunate past relationships. He’s also halfway back into his closet in order to avoid the animosity of his fellow policemen, or the risk that one day, they may not have his back. Finn has more serious issues, issues that are being dealt with by doctors through medication.
There’s no “meet cute” in this book. Danny stops by a local club for a pint or two. The club features an up-and-coming and much-beloved local band. Finn is the lead singer and guitarist. Just as the band wraps up for the night, Finn comes out to the bar looking to buy Danny a drink. Finn had noticed Danny even before the band’s set began. Danny sort of fell in love with Finn during the first song – Finn’s voice, music and lyrics struck him, powerfully, as being written and performed just for him. They moved his soul. In fact, Danny was right. They really were being sung just for him.
Thus begins the relationship that drives Lucky Man. They go home to Finn’s place, both assuming that their night together would be a one-night-stand, exciting, passionate, but nothing serious or long-term. But they just can’t stop thinking of each other. Something feels right, and something is growing between them. And that’s the part of Lucky Man that I appreciated the most: Ms. Leigh does a great job with love, even better than she does with lust, and she’s no slacker in that department. She manages the sex scenes with passion, but without overwhelming detail or unnecessary length. You can feel the relationship grow without having to be told. You feel it from the hearts of both men, in their fear of losing the other, in their desperate need to be together, all the time.
Which, unfortunately, is not in the cards. There’s a serial killer on the loose, killing prostitutes, and Danny’s the lead detective. It consumes his days and nights, for weeks on end, leaving Finn to wonder if Danny has lost interest in their relationship. Finn has distance problems, too. His band is really coming into its own, and he spends a lot of time (weeks on end) touring festivals and performing at larger venues. The real obstacle here is not the gorgeous Finn’s illness, nor the equally gorgeous Danny’s problems with trust, but time – time together to get to know each other as intimately as possible, time to nurture their relationship, time to be there for each other when they’re needed.
It will take the solving of the serial killings, plus Finn overcoming his constant fear that once Danny realizes quite how screwed up he is, he’ll abandon him, before they can finally commit to a life together. And of course, they do.
There is no breakthrough vision in this plot, or radical new worlds created to bracket outlandish characters. This is a masterful, and gentle, journey through two talented and beautiful guys falling in love. It’s written with great subtlety (something I particularly appreciated) and intentional understatement, which makes it not just interesting, but often beautiful.
This is my first Garrett Leigh book. I can promise, it will not be my last. If you’re looking for a lovely, well-paced, story with attractive, realistic and empathetic characters, you can’t do much better than Lucky Man.