Apologies for posting this a little late. Good luck to Chris with his book! You can win an Amazon gift voucher and read and excerpt below. My review is at the end of this feature.
This was a murder mystery story with a gay teen (Connor) and his bully turned secret lover, Liam, trying to solve the death of Liam’s sister. There were a few things I struggled with, although the writing was generally good. And this may have been more down to the editing and formatting than the actual writing. There are no gaps between scene switches, so a few times I had to take a moment to back track and see if I’d missed anything. I don’t think the publisher has done this book any favours, if I’m honest, as the resulting read is uneven and confusing in places.
That being said, this is an unusual story of a likeable lead (Connor) and his frankly unlikable secret boyfriend who uses him for sex when he feels like it, then denies he is gay when he doesn’t. Connor seems to be surrounded by unlikable people, which I’m willing to forgive as frankly, most people in high school can be, but the result is a read that isn’t quite as convincing as it should be, giving the serious subjects; bullying, homophobia, abuse, possible murder. Liam seems to show no grief at his sister’s death, joking and laughing as if nothing has happened. And Connor’s other friends are almost as bad. Connor’s mum also gets a bad rap, although I had some sympathy for her. Holding down a career, trying to understand her son, being unbelievably tolerant when Liam is astoundingly rude to her for no reason. It’s hard to empathise with someone like Liam, and if they are one of the main characters, that’s bad news.
The result is a book that could have been improved greatly with a bit of finessing, some good editing and tightening of the plot. It felt unwieldy without offering much of substance or suspense. That being said, I would definitely check out more of this author’s work. With some strength in the writing, there is hope for the future.