Thursday, July 27, 2017

Review: Hush by Tal Bauer

HushTitle ~ Hush

Author ~ Tal Bauer

Published ~ 12th July 2017

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, Thriller

Rating

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Synopsis

A federal judge running from the truth.
A U.S. marshal running from his past.
A trial that can plunge the world into war.

Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for twenty-five long years, he's climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, U.S. Marshal assigned to his DC courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can't erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago.
But a devastating terrorist attack in the heart of DC, and the subsequent capture and arrest of the terrorist, leads to a trial that threatens to expose the dark underbelly of America's national security.
As Russia beats the drums of war, intent on seeking revenge, and the United States struggles to contain the storm before it races out of control, secrets and lies, past and present, collide in Judge Tom Brewer's courtroom. With the world's attention fixed on Tom and this case, he suddenly discovers he may be the only person who can put everything together in time to stop the spark of a new world war.

 

Freya’s Review

Into the world of the USA vs. Russia, assassination, being gay in the 1990’s as opposed to now, court cases and coming out of the closet.

Tal Bauer set the bar for his stories with the phenomenal success of his Executive Office series. And to a degree there’s a similarity or three between the two, in that we have a man in authority falling or his bodyguard and depending on his actions, war is a possibility.

Tom Brewer is the middle-aged judge who has hidden his orientation since his graduation in the early 1990’s. A time when congress made laws against being a homosexual. As such he built walls around himself and changed his life so that he could follow his chosen career. He is committed to the judicial system, but his affection for Mike awakens long dormant buried feelings.

Mike Lucciano is the deputy US Marshal responsible for protecting federal judges. Born in a different era to Tom - one much more accepting - he hasn’t faced the same prejudices as the judge he holds in high regard. As such he is out and proud.

Hush is another meaty story where Mr. Bauer creates a world to get immersed into. The first 40% of the story is very much character driven which, considering the length of the novel, is a hefty chunk. It tackles some of the stereotypical typecasting and homophobia issues of the decades. Alongside that, there is a combination of scene setting, mindset awareness, getting to know the characters and the resulting story arc. I’m sure many will appreciate the insight. However, for me, I found the depth a little indulgent to the characters, putting the attention span of many readers lower on the list of considerations. Readers who (if the trends are to be believed - me included) prefer stories to jump into the action, revealing the back story as the arc progresses. In various guises throughout, I found some issues reiterated. In my view, these not only added unnecessary pages, but I occasionally tuned out over them. Consequently, it made the story a slower burn than I believed necessary, and it affected my appreciation of the intricacies of later chapters, which was a shame because the later arc was brilliant. On the flip side, kudos to Mr. Bauer for writing the story that was within him, and the up side of self-publishing.

On a more positive note, I absolutely adored the interactions between Tom and Mike – and damned the heat is high. Oh, and Kris was something of a scene stealer. He is a man full of life, witticism, wisdom, and connections. He is also able to put a lump in the throat.

I found Hush to be a novel of two stories with areas of mergence that forced issues. There is the story of Tom, his life experience and how, with the right support from the right man, he is encouraged to come out of the closet in pursuit of happiness. That in itself is a touching story. Secondly, there’s the cat and mouse between Russia and the USA that could lead to war. An international espionage game with the puppeteers needing to be identified. The main overlap area is Tom’s courtroom, and from there it spreads.

There’s no doubting that the novel is well written. For those who are adrenaline junkies, the action in the latter half helps make up for the slower beginning. Patience is the key word. But when the action comes, it includes a weapons arsenal and a dose of gut wrenching drama.

If this story were an XY graph with the story start to end going from left to right, you’d see the line start in the bottom left, stay even for a bit, then slowly rise to the top right corner.

This is a story that, due to its length and detail, some will steer well clear of. Others will eat up every word as they sink into the universe of Tom and Mike, and international espionage.

Purchase Links

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

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Meet Tal Bauer

Square-Bio-PicTal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal's stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

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