Monday, March 1, 2010

Private Dicks by Katie Allen

TITLE: Private Dicks
AUTHOR: Katie Allen
PUBLISHER: Ellora’s Cave
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 53k)
GENRE: Gay contemporary erotic romance
COST: $5.95

Though PI Isaac Rhodes has the hots for his partner, he’s never bothered to tell him that he’s gay. Until now. Nate Washington reacts angrily at the revelation, but their friendship is too strong to suffer for long, and when a new case forces them to go undercover at a gay club, Rhodes discovers that maybe his partner doth protested too much…

I hate writing reviews for stories where I can’t figure out why I wasn’t blown away. It’s even harder than reviews that are very middle of the road, because I can honestly say I liked this story. But I can’t tell you why I didn’t love it.

The storyline is very straightforward. Rhodes and Wash are business partners, both private investigators. Rhodes is an ex-cop who was fired for a shooting gone wrong, though he knows it was because of his orientation. He’s never told anyone he’s gay before he tells Wash, and he only tells Wash because he’s tired and pushed to his limits. Wash reacts poorly at first, but quickly comes around. Then, the two end up getting a new case of a missing teenaged boy, and their best lead aims them at a guy who owns a gay club. Cue posing as a gay couple.

The dialogue is sharp and realistic, sweeping the reader along at a frenetic pace. It’s helped along by near constant action. When I was done, I was shocked to realize just how long the story actually was, because it doesn't feel like it at all. This works hugely in the story’s favor, because I think engaging in the palpable friendship that the two men have is the key to enjoying the rest of it. At the same time, though, I believed the friendship far more than the romance. I bought into it at the beginning, but when Nate makes his announcement about why he’s actually okay with Rhodes’ orientation, I got stopped dead in my tracks. It felt ridiculously convenient, and I never got over it.

As far as characterization goes, Rhodes is more consistent than Wash, but then again, we spend the entire book in his head. I’m not convinced getting Wash's POV would have helped the book, however. I think it might have disrupted the flow of the friendship, and considering that’s the story’s biggest strength, that’s not a good thing. My problems with Wash likely stem from my inability to accept the revelation about his orientation, blossoming into an annoyance about his back and forth attitude. It’s understandable within the structure of the story, but irritating without the necessary depth to it.

These are the only things I can put a finger on as to why I didn’t fall in love with this book. It was certainly a swift and entertaining read. The sex scenes did their job. I don’t remember ever being pulled out for technical or continuity errors. I’m just not head over heels about it.


8/10 – Swift and humorous

Hero #1

7/10 – I liked him for the duration of the story, but I found myself struggling to remember him a day after reading it

Hero #2

6/10 – Harder to get a bead on, and I found the revelation about his orientation unbelievable

Entertainment value

7/10 – The comfort of their relationship and sharp dialogue provide cornerstones to enjoy this

World building

7/10 – Aspects of this jumped out – like the club – while others begged for more attention



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