Friday, March 27, 2015

Light from the Dark by Mercy Celeste


Title ~ Light from the Dark

Author ~ Mercy Celeste

Published ~ 5th March 2015

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance



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After a year of picking up the pieces of his shattered life, former US Marshal Micah Beasley takes a job as bodyguard for a spoiled rich kid who can’t leave his house. It’s supposed to be a cupcake assignment. He just needs to get back in the game. What could possibly go wrong?
Brilliant and incredibly talented, Christopher (Kit) Auberon wears tragedy as a second skin. Kit is all that’s left of a powerful family. Seemingly forgotten, he’s spent his entire life in seclusion at the family estate, and he likes it that way. He’s free to play his games and create worlds without ever having to set foot in the real one.
Kit’s past is anything but forgotten. When death threats become real threats, Micah and Kit are forced to put their differences aside to discover who wants Kit dead.
But there are monsters in Kit’s closet that should never be disturbed.
Warning: Dark subject. Violence. The usual stuff.
110,000 words


Alan’s Review

"Light From The Dark" is a book that should have been better, and might have been, with a competent editor. This is a compelling, creative story with engaging characters and a lot of hot (and sometimes long) sex scenes.

It's a love story between the hideously damaged Kit (Christopher) Auberon and the equally damaged Micah Beasley (AKA "Beastly"). Micah is hired to be head of security for the mysterious, agoraphobic, but gorgeous Kit, the final heir to a huge family fortune. His parents were murdered right before his eyes, when he was only eight, his house set on fire and Kit, himself, kidnapped. He has not spoken a word since that day, and has been locked away in his palatial (but terribly lonely) estate out in the middle of nowhere. He's also a genius, the secret power behind creating some of the most popular video games of his time. "Beastly" suffers from PTSD, and has spent the last year hiding out from family, friends and work in a tiny apartment on the beach. He's hiding out because his last mission as a U. S. Marshal ended up with the death of his partner, the young girl he was protecting, and the girl's mother - who was actually the murderer. To hush up their incredible incompetence, the Marshals Service gave him a fat check to keep him quiet and cleared his name. Once over his injuries (his face is terribly scarred on one side), Beastly drops out of life. That is, until a summons comes for an interview as the head of security for Chris (Kit), who has been receiving repeated threats to his life, not to mention the break-ins that baffle everyone, since it appears that the perimeter security was always turned off, and the attack dogs locked down. Some security.

Reluctantly, Beasley takes on the assignment, after quoting a huge fee that he thought might get him out of what he considered a high-paid babysitting job. At first, Beasley and Kit are like oil and water. But, of course, this is a romance novel, so the inevitable happens, they fall in love. It's particularly intriguing since Kit had never had sex, couldn't have an erection, appeared to be asexual and uninterested. Beasley, on the other hand was intrigued with, and attracted to, the brilliant, gorgeous young guy with the pure-white hair.

The plot of "Light From The Dark" is dramatic as can be. There are break-ins, lost memories, distant family members appearing out of the woodwork, as that night, eighteen years ago, comes back to haunt everyone and immerse the estate and its inhabitants in an endless miasma of terror and violence.

Unfortunately, there are also some pretty obvious plot holes. Beasley is supposed to be a highly-trained military and law-enforcement veteran. Yet he doesn't even investigate why the perimeter alarms aren't working and the dogs never seem to be around when needed. When Kit identifies an armed stalker through his sanctuary's bullet-proof windows, Beasley runs to check out the intruder, unarmed and unprepared. At the crucial climax of the story, he races out to rescue the once-again-kidnapped, hapless Kit, gun-in hand, but gets so distracted thinking about Kit that he (get this) forgets to fire it. Twice. Some bodyguard. The guy he's guarding has to rescue him!

And, although the book is basically really well-written and the dialogue believable (and sometimes even charming), it is so poorly edited as to leave me scratching my head, wondering if either the author or editor (if there was one) suffers from dyslexia. There are pages in this book that read like a Junior High School essay, in which grammar and spelling errors abound. There are other places in the book, in which the author seems to forget who the characters are. "Beastly" is the nickname Kit comes up with for Micah. So it's perfectly normal for his dialogue to refer to him using that name. It is not quite normal for the author to forget and use it herself, as in "This is not good, Beastly thought". I also suspect that whoever edited this book had a missing hyphen key on his or her keyboard. There's not a single hyphen in the entire book, so the reader is treated to a bizarre take on compound adjectives and nouns, some missing a dash, others single words broken into two: "other worldly", "sound proofed", "live in maid", "button down shirt", "data bases", "by passed". These were legion throughout the book. Even more dismaying is the abuse done to "little words", like "to" or "of": "rested his forehead to Micah's" (on Micah's), "Was I supposed too?" (supposed to), "on a data base" (in a database), "if they didn't have too" (have to), "point me in the right place" (to the right place, or in the right direction). There was a constant misuse of words: "courser beard", "a very interesting fete" (feat or fate?), "I'm ass hurt over it too". Those types of errors were endemic, as were the usual misuse of apostrophes and verb tenses.

Some sentences were so messed up the result was an unintelligible mangling of the English language: "There were no words were in the mix of hoarse grunts" and "That's date asking like a boss, Chris."

And one last gripe - it's important for writers to get at least their geography right. As the two men stand on the West Side of Manhattan, and gaze at New Jersey, Kit asks "what's beyond that". Micah answers "France, England, Italy...". Umm, what's beyond New Jersey is Ohio, Indiana and the Midwest. Turn around boys, you're facing the wrong direction!

Enough. I know I have a tendency to be particularly critical about badly-edited self-published books. I hate being ripped from an engaging story by obvious and annoying errors that should and could have been easily caught. And I hate being insulted with the cavalier attitude toward me, as a reader, who unwittingly pays money to read an unedited rough draft.

I'm often alone in my complaints about bad editing. In this case, there are quite a few other readers who apparently agree with me that this book was dreadfully edited and made their feelings abundantly clear in their reviews.

If you don't mind tripping over the language, I recommend this book, enthusiastically to you. The plot and characters were unforgettable, the growing love between them beautiful to behold. It's a long book, but it covers a lot of territory and moves along with speed and excitement. Were it not for the editing, I might have given "Light From The Dark" four or five stars, but Ms. Celeste is an accomplished and successful author, from whom I expect more.

If this book is re-edited and re-released, I will be happy to reconsider my rating.

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1 comment:

  1. I hope the author hears your comments about editing. It always frustrates me to run into that dichotomy between a story that has such promise but is so difficult to read that I think that the author was unwilling to work at polishing the delivery. That has always made me sad, because I don't think that some authors realize how important it is to make a good first impression to a reader, especially given the volume of titles competing for readers' attention. Thank you for the thoughtful review.