Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: Guilty By Innocence by Deirdre O’Dare

guiltybyinnocenceTitle ~ Guilty By Innocence

Author ~ Deirdre O’Dare

Publisher ~ JMS Books 

Published ~ 30th December 2017

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance





Jax is a cop by choice and to honor his father who was killed in the line of duty. His allegiance to his fellow officers and his code of ethics are the ruling factors of his life. At a hideous crime scene, when he finds an unconscious young man holding a bloody machete, Jax confronts a quandary. He can hardly believe this beautiful youth could have committed this atrocity, but if not, who did?
Gabriel awakens to blood and horror—and to a total blank of who he is, what has happened, and how he got there. He finds himself charged with horrific multiple murders. Unless he can regain his memory, how can he prove he’s not guilty?
Protective custody soon assumes new aspects as Jax and Gabriel develop a strange friendship that wants to blossom into much more. Can someone be guilty by innocence?


Cheryl’s Review

Let me make it clear from the start, this is a very well written book. The story is solid, the story arc is sound, dialogue is good and the characters are potentially three dimensional and engaging.

My main complaint about this book is that it’s too short. There is simply too much story to tell in this number of pages. The first half is fairly well paced, but the latter part of the book feels very rushed and there are so many questions left unanswered – important ones.

Gabriel and Jax are delightful characters. Jax is a young police officer who already seems disillusioned and living in the shadow of his deceased father. Although hardened, he is sickened when he attends the scene of a heinous crime. An entire family, including their child have been savagely murdered, the only survivor being a baby. Another survivor at the scene was a beautiful young man, named Gabriel.

Gabriel is a character I would very much have liked to get to know more. He is lost and confused, initially without memories, but also strong and brave, facing an impossible situation with more backbone than I would have. He and Jax are an unlikely couple, especially when he is a murder suspect, or even when he became merely a witness. To Jax’s credit, the fact that Gabriel is being hunted by a powerful criminal doesn’t seem to play any part in his decisions toward Gabriel. We did need to suspend disbelief at times, but that was fine.

What wasn’t fine was the number of questions that were never answered, such as why the family were murdered and why they were harbouring an illegal immigrant in their home? Is there a connection?

There was a nice, steady build-up toward Gabriel being released into Jax’s care, building the pressure of the danger Gabriel is in from the killer. Then, turning a page, the killer is caught and convicted within a few paragraphs. That is the one thing that impacted most negatively on me. There is not even a mention of the trial. If you’re going to spend a lot of time building up to something you have to spend time resolving it.

Don’t get me wrong, the story is a good one, and the writing is flawless. Dialogue flows well and the relationship builds nicely, to a point when it went from 5 – 1000 in no time flat. The characters are likeable or at least understandable, and the supporting cast have a lot of colour and flavour.

My only complaint is the shortness and how rushed the story is. I would love to see further into both Gabriel and Jax’s mind and how they dealt with the aftermath and their budding relationship. So much has happened to Gabriel, he must have been traumatized, so how did he recover emotionally? What problems was he left with that he and Jax have to work to get over.

At the moment it’s a nice, slightly frustrating book, but it could be so, so much more. I hope that one day the author will consider expanding to a full length novel and if that happens I will be in the queue to buy on the first day and I’d anticipate at least a 4.5* rating.

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