Sunday, October 16, 2016

Release Day Review: Drawn In by Barbara Elsborg

drawn inTitle ~ Drawn In

Author ~ Barbara Elsborg

Published ~ 17th October 2016

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance





Undercover police officer Kell has crossed the line. He’s become trapped in an abusive relationship with his violent thug of a boss and sees no way back without wrecking months of work. The hope of ever being involved with someone who respects him seems a distant dream.
Private investigator Gethin is depressed that the bulk of his work involves following unfaithful partners. He knows just what it’s like to be cheated on. Even worse, his relationship with his ex is complicated and Gethin can see no way of breaking free of a guy who so desperately needs him.
A chance encounter brings Kell and Gethin together, entwining their lives with secrets and danger. They both have reasons to keep things casual. But there are consequences to zipless fucks. Not only do they have to survive people trying to kill them, they need to trust each other and keep their wits about them, while ensuring their hearts stay intact.


Freya’s Review

Drawn In is set in the UK and introduces its main characters in two dramatic ways. Kell is being abused. He’s an undercover cop, on an operation, but it makes the read no less traumatic. Gethin, a PI, is at a client’s house with a gun to his head. Two worlds, miles apart in one respect, parallel in another. It's these opening scenes that kept me reading because I wanted to know if the abusing bastard would get his comeuppance, and I was curious as to how the boy's investigations would intertwine.

Kell’s mission is to take down a people trafficker. Gethin’s is to take on a job to pay the rent and not get killed in the process. They meet by chance when Gethin does friends of his a favor, by helping out at a party. There is an immediate attraction between the two resulting in some heavy fumbling before senses kick in, and Gethin does a runner. Nevertheless, their fates are sealed when they encounter each other again the next day, in a hot scene behind the sofa, that is worth reading twice.

Angel and Henry, the party planners, are a delight and provide a light-hearted, camp, caring angle to the story along with some interesting imagery. They quickly became my favs.

This novel is a detailed, multi-level story told from two POV’s, Kell’s and Gethin’s. What starts as casual sex between the two, develops into something more. It also displays the difficulty in dealing with the day job and the effects it has on them out of hours.

There was much I liked about this story and some things I found a touch disjointed.

The dialogue was good, and I loved reading the typically British, dry humor and other phrases that are often changed to suit wider audiences. Some of the scenes, too, had my heart in my mouth, and at one time I shed some tears.

So, with my emotions getting a workout, why does this story receive 3.5* instead of 5*. There are several reasons.

The typeface and spacing made this 103k novel hard on the eyes. Also, with every thought and reasoning covered, there were information dumps that slowed the story down. Authors often get carried away with detail – hence why a bloody good pre-reader and editor are worth their weight in gold. I felt less would have been more. I didn’t need to know every process to enjoy the story. Thus, when a pattern of writing emerged, I ended up skim reading certain parts. As already said, parts of this story were brilliant, but they were diluted because of the extra information provided.

Sex is a large feature and I’m all for reading a good bit of nookie. The scenes ranged from tender, hot and steamy, to violent. I understand that there had to be contrast and shock, but the frequency had me questioning the occasional requirement. Some of the encounters could have been dialed down, or faded out which would have allowed others to have more impact.

The relationship between Kell and his brother Oliver is an excellent side to the main story. Oliver is an arse and treats Kell like shit. Nevertheless, he’s a good character to hate, and I enjoyed seeing that line unravel. Angel and Henry, too, are totally loveable.

However, I think the story behind Jonnie, Gethin’s paralyzed friend was a plot that didn’t compliment the primary plot. For me it overtook it. Before anyone tries to shoot me, let me explain.

Jonnie was Gethin’s former boyfriend, but an accident left him paralyzed and with amnesia. He can’t remember that he and Gethin broke up, or why. Jonnie has his brain, and little else. One minute he wants to die, the next he wants Gethin in ways Gethin can’t give. His story is harrowing, emotional, manipulative and tragic. Totally heart wrenching. This arc was so good; for me, it deserved developing into its own book. Hence the impact on the main story was to its detriment rather than advantage. Had something else been in its place and a portion of the information dump removed, this story would have been much easier on the eyes and head.

Drawn in, is a story that exposes a portion of the violent seedy, manipulative underbelly of life. Kell, Gethin, and their entourages are interesting characters. The story starts and ends well, with some areas of brilliance in between. If you are the kind of reader of who thrives on detail and loves a side arc that will turn you to blubber, then this is for you.

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