Author ~ Piper Doone
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 25th January 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Jonah Landers’s promotion to detective isn’t going so well. His first undercover operation is a disaster thanks to Rafael Santos, a Cuban-American detective so far undercover, no one on Rafael’s Miami-based squad even had a clue he’d already infiltrated the prostitution ring Jonah was targeting. Two years and an insane twist of fate later, Jonah finds himself transferred from Orlando and partnered up with Rafael in Miami—and their rocky beginning doesn’t get any better.
For the sake of their careers and because he realizes he’s falling for Rafael, Jonah makes every attempt to smooth things over and move on with his love life. He turns his attention to A.J. Choya, a Seminole Indian who runs the tech department. But there’s no spark between them, and Jonah has to admit his feelings for Rafael aren’t going away.
When a new case falls into Rafael's and Jonah’s laps, they must go undercover again and become intimate in a way that forces them to confront their feelings for each other—no matter the consequences.
“Forced Impressions” is a fun book to read. Piper Doone does a good job. Her writing is lucid, often elegant and always well-paced. Her characters are believable and engaging, locations vivid and she’s effectively captured the feel of South Florida.
This is the story of two cops. Jonah is an extremely white (he can’t go out in the Florida sun without virtually impervious sunscreen), beautiful young man with a passion for law enforcement, but who’s perhaps not quite cynical enough to be a really good detective. The other cop is Rafael, a child of Cuban immigrants with many more years and infinitely more experience under his belt in capturing and putting away the bad guys. He’s a better cop, but no one would mistake him for a good guy. They meet in the most unfortunate way, both undercover in a human-trafficking investigation, but neither knowing the other was a cop. Talk about “meet-cute”! These characters meet with Rafael – in character - punching Jonah’s lights out.
Two years later, Jonah has transferred from Orlando to Miami-Dade and he’s partnered with (guess who?) his nemesis, the same Hispanic cop who decked him two years earlier. Both immediately want a new partner, but a wise captain keeps them together, telling them to grow up and live with it.
I’m sure you know exactly where this is going, as any reader would just a chapter or two into “Forced Impressions’. And that’s the reason I didn’t give this well-written book more stars – the book is totally predictable. There are no surprises here.
But it is fun to watch the seasoned detective soften around the edges, with occasional grudging praise, and he even lets Jonah drive the car – once. He also gets insanely jealous when Jonah dates a gorgeous openly-gay Native American police IT genius. The only one who fails to notice, of course, is Jonah.
As I mentioned, this is a fun read. I read it in a single sitting and did so with a smile on my face. Now, if it were only a bit less predictable, a little less derivative, a little less reminiscent of a hundred other “cops in love” gay romances I’ve read over the last few years, the author’s talent and writing might have led me to give “Forced Impressions” a higher rating.
If you’re looking for a light, fun read, with engaging characters, and don’t mind the lack of surprises, you can do a lot worse than “Forced Impressions”. If you’re looking for something groundbreaking, deep or inventive, this is probably not the book for you.
I do look forward to where ever Piper Doone goes next. Add a little substance, and the author could be a top gay romance writer.