Review: Darkest Knight (City Knight #5) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Darkest KNight coverMarcus Prater and his lover Benjamin Danvers have never been happier.  Marcus has reconciled with his brother Frankie and now Frankie and Frankie’s kids are now frequent visitors to his home.  His own wounds have healed as has Ben’s and now they are preparing for their first Thanksgiving as a couple.  What could go wrong?

Well, that would be everything.  Wick Templeton is missing along with his boyfriend Ned.  Archer calls, asking if Marcus has read that morning’s paper. Young, gay men are still turning up tortured and dead, including the twins mentioned in the headlines this morning.  Twins wearing medallions that hold a special meaning for Archer, Marcus and, of course, the missing Wick.

And when one of Marcus’ old contacts on the street, an underage prostitute called Brady,appears bruised and bleeding before Marcus with a startling request, one connected to Ben’s dead friend Travis.  Well, Marcus can’t say no and ends up bringing Brady home with him to keep him safe and to attend to his wounds.   So many painful memories arising, so many hidden secrets starting to come out.  Where will it all end?  Will this truly be the darkest night for Marcus, Ben and all those they love?

Just when I think this series can’t get any better, it surges into a whole new realm, expanding the storyline to incorporate more mysteries, hidden depths to characters we have already met, and exploring the new connections in old established relationships, adding texture and layers to already terrific characters and their bonds with each other.   Of all the books, Darkest Knight is the one that brings all the other men and their lovers together in one place, all but one.

Everyone has gathered together at Marcus and Ben’s place for Thanksgiving.  It starts out as a time of joy and  reconciliation then it turns  painful and bitter with one phone call.  Every  the buried emotions and old pain rushes out, first in Marcus and then in the others, leaving the new lovers to handle the situation.  I loved how  the author brings Jeremiah, Rory, and Ben into their own in this story.  Each demonstrates a new found strength and depth of character that is not only surprising but disarming.  It’s unexpected and finally grounds each man not only in their relationships to their lovers but with each other as well.  It’s wonderful in so many ways.  It redefines how we look at all the relationships present, it exposes old past histories while providing a new avenue of thought with regard to the mysterious deaths of young rent boys in the city.

I loved that T.A. Webb chose Thanksgiving as the occasion to bring them all together.  Its our traditional family holiday and these men have been each other’s family for over 15 years.  And the fact that one of them is not only missing but has kept secrets from some of them all that time is doubling their feelings of hurt and betrayal.  It’s a marked contrast to the new found love that most of the original members  have now found, with those lovers present and now incorporated into that tight band of men.

Then Webb adds Brady, an resilient, underage rent boy and Frankie, Marcus’ brother, to the mix and things really start to bounce out of control.   Brady is a wonderful little portrait of a kid thrown away at a hauntingly young age but has who succeeded in surviving the streets and the predators that hunt there, if only just.  I love Brady and want more of this amazing kid.

Here is a small excerpt as Marcus comes across Brady on the street:

And in every face, every kid standing there with all the false bravado, in every potential target, he saw his love.

He had to focus on their job tonight, though. One young man hadn’t made it, and it broke something in Benjamin when Travis had been murdered. Oh, he still went to school, and made love with Marcus, and joked with Jeremiah. But he’d tried to help the boy and it blew up in his face. And Wick…he’d said he would help and the boy slipped away and now he was dead. Goddamn it, Marcus needed Wick and that crazy Bayou or Banyon or whatever the hell his name was to help him find Travis’s killer.

The feel of his heart racing in his chest and the tension in his jaw from grinding his teeth made him stop, close his eyes, and take a couple of deep breaths. Getting mad at Wick wouldn’t do him any good right now. Now, his Benjamin needed him. So fuck Wick, he’d deal with him later. But that made him feel guilty for being mad at his brother, and then he was right back in the same loop.

“Mister Marcus?” He almost didn’t hear the small voice and walked past the kid hanging outside the alleyway leading up to the Zesto’s and McDonald’s. Glancing around, Marcus stepped in the space and nodded for the young man to walk with him.

“Brady. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. I was worried about you, son.” The boy—he was one of the younger ones Marcus had tried to keep his eye on before he’d been shot, and he’d lost track of him—was skinnier than he remembered, and his hair hung in greasy hanks around his face. He walked stiffly and slightly bent over, and all of Marcus’s red flags went off.

His head nodding as if he heard music no one else could hear, Marcus saw the sideways glance Brady gave him, and then looked around like he was scared of either being overheard or seen. Part of Brady’s twitches were affectations, so people would leave him alone or think him helpless. The fact of the matter was he’d been on the streets since he was twelve, and was alive now at the ripe old age of seventeen only by the grace of God and a buttload of tricks he’d learned over the years. If he was patient, Brady would tell him what he wanted or needed.

What happens next is both heartbreaking and startling in its intensity.  You really have to read it all to get the full benefit of Webb’s realistic descriptions and spot on dialog that brings this young man and his pain so vividly to life.  More than a few tissues will be needed before all the mysteries are solved and bonds can be knitted back together.

City Knight, of which Darkest Knight is the fifth book,  is one of four interconnected series.  The others are Triple Threat by LE Harner, Chances Are by Lee Brazil and Wicked’s Way by Havan Fellows.  You can read each series by themselves.  But read together, you will enter a rich world inhabited by strong, intelligent men, a gritty band of brothers and their lovers.  Grab them all up, and read them one after the other, starting with book one in each series.  Each is remarkable in their own right, but together form a Pulp Friction universe you will never want to leave.

Here are the books in the City Knight series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the men and their relationships and the events that occur:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)
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Book Details:

ebook, 60 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by A Bear on Books
edition language English

Review: Knights Out (City Knight #4) by T.A. Webb

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Knights Out coverMarcus Prater and Benjamin Danvers are having a wonderful morning when they are interrupted by a phone call.  It’s Zachary and he needs their help.  An old friend of Jeremiah’s, NIck, has gone missing and Jeremiah wants to know what has happened to him.  Since Ben also knows Nick from his time as a rent boy, Marcus and Ben are quick to agree to join a growing search for a young man known for his kindness and help to those on the streets.

Their investigation takes a darker turn when more boys turn up missing. This investigation reminds Marcus that he also has someone he wants to find, his younger brother who Marcus hasn’t seen in years.  Their current search renews Marcus’ resolve to find his brother and make amends for all the lost time between them.  The shocking resolution of both investigations will change everyones lives forever.

Knights Out, the fourth story in the City Knight series, is a wonderful installment in this Pulp Friction group offering.  Here Webb continues to weave the clues to the mystery that runs through all four series, that of the increasing number of missing young men and the culprit behind their torture and subsequent deaths.  In Knights Out two more young rent boys disappear, both of which the readers became familiar with in other stories.  Now we are faced with uncertainty about their fate and the indication that a serial murderer is at work.  Webb builds our tension and anxiety in small but increasingly fearful steps.  Soon we are afraid not only for the missing men but for all the main characters that we have come to love, especially those like Ben and Jeremiah who fit the profile of the men the killer is targeting.  The fact that Ben and Jeremiah have just found happiness just increases our alarm.

But T.A. Webb balances that worry and concern with moments of laughter and love, especially when it comes to Marcus and his brother.  That is such a lovely element in this story.  It made me laugh as well as cry.  As much as I wanted to include that excerpt with Wick here, I just can’t bring myself to spoil the enjoyment of reading it as part of the whole chapter.  Trust me, you will love this moment for so many reasons, one of which is the rare scene of seeing the unshakable Wick throughly discomforted (in a funny way of course).

By balancing a man’s love for his brother and Ben against the horror that is coming., Webb shows just how fragile a state happiness can be.  Nothing is ever certain, nothing is ever guaranteed except death, so grab your love and happiness while you can.   It’s a message that some of the characters are just beginning to accept, however much they may fight it.  The author spreads tension throughout the series, like butter on bread.  Whether it is Marcus’ health, Wick’s relationships, the mens past histories emerging into the present day events, all bring a certain amount of tension and uncertainty to all the investigations and relationships.

All the other characters from the  other series are starting to appear with regularity.  Here Wick and Chance are an integral part of the search for the missing rent boys with implications for both men and their past histories.  And while there is not a cliffhanger to be found in this story, the path is laid for more investigations and more revelations to come.

Tom Webb is certainly bring his love of Pulp Fiction alive with this story and his City Knight series.  None of these books and related series are to be missed.  But you must start at the beginning with City Knight in order to understand the main characters backgrounds and relationships and the events to come.

Here they are in the order they were written and should be read:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)
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Book Details:

ebook, 50 pages
Published August 15th 2013 by A Bear on Books
ISBN13 9781301563555
series City Knight
buy link All Romance, Amazon Kindle Books

Book Contest and Guest Post by T.A. Webb, Pulp Friction Author of the City Knight series

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Scattered Thoughts (that’s me) has loved having all the authors here this week.  And we still have another surprise day to go where I will announce the winners and the Pulp Friction authors will have one last post together.Darkest KNight cover

So, don’t forget to leave a comment, either at the end of today’s post or on the review post.  Either way, we will count that as an entry.

And now for our fourth and final Pulp Friction author, T.A.”Tom”  Webb and his City Knight series. *offers up a chair and a cup of coffee*:

TW: Thanks for having me, Melanie. Well, me and my guys Marcus and Benjamin. Now, these two men are rather mouthy and will tend to jump in and say what’s on their minds before you or I know it. So, bear with us and I’ll try to filter it all into something that makes sense for us all.

ST: *sinks into her chair, pets the pups*

TW: When Laura, Lee and Havan and I started talking about some kind of series that would be like the old pulp fictions, what immediately came to mind for me was the Doc Savage pulps I read as a kid. I loved Doc Savage with hathim, and always thought he was kind of like me, in that he was different. When I put a name to it—gay—I realized he never was with a person of either sex, but I could easily imagine him as mine.

So, when we put the series here in Atlanta, we talked about each of us putting out six stories. My first idea was to write two sets of three stories—a trilogy—for two sets of characters. Then Marcus whispered in my ear, and he was this mature cop who patrolled the area around his home. I asked him why, and the whole story came out about his doctor lover who was shot and killed senselessly, and how he made a promise to protect the neighborhood. Kind of Doc Savage meets Batman.

A man like that deserves a happy ending, so I imagined who would crack through a man like that’s shield? Because Marcus, he deserves someone who would make him laugh, someone who would light up his dark nights and make his heart beat again.

Enter Ben.

Now Ben, or as Marcus calls him, his Benjamin, isn’t a slam dunk. He has a past of his own that tried to keep him away from Marcus. He’s younger, smart as a whip, but so closed off from his own feelings because of his own soul-crushing experience—he was raped—that it was a challenge for him to connect to Marcus for more than sex.

But he does. And the trilogy follows how they two men circle each other and gently open up despite all the horrible things in their pasts, and the bad things coming after them in their present. But, they make it.

So, when it came time to write the other two men I had in mind, Marcus and Benjamin said they weren’t ready to step aside. Plus, we—Laura, Lee Havan and I—had started interweaving Chance and Zachary and Archer and Wick with my boys, so how could I leave them hanging?

ST:  You can’t, that obvious, plus it would make your fans cry. Not a good thing.

TW: Plus, slowly but surely, the fans caught on and would have killed me if I let them go. And we had to find out who killed Travis, and then Marcus’s brother Frankie showed up with little Marcus, and they have a loud voice too.

My plans, now that all five books are written as well as the final book we all will co-author, are to write a small holiday story for Marcus and Doc_Savage_plus_Five_by_SilvreBenjamin called “Christmas Knight”.  And at some point there will be a novella for Frankie and Brady, because they are screaming in my head that they need their story told.

ST:  I am so happy to hear that because I fell in love with Brady and Frankie!  They do need a story of their own. Oops,  sorry to interrupt.

TW: This has been such a fun process, and I have learned SO much about how to write from these three talented friends of mine. I almost hate to leave Atlanta behind, but Flagstaff calls and that makes my creative juices flow.

ST:  Hmmm. Flagstaff…..more stories perhaps?  Another secret for another day.

TW: Thanks to everyone who’s read City Knight, and it’s on sale for $0.99 for everyone on Amazon and ARe.

Please, leave a comment, and you can have your choice of any book in the series in a drawing especially for Melanie’s blog. She’s been so wonderful about reading all 20 of the books and reviewing them, and Marcus and Benjamin have her in a big hug for liking them. They have no words, and neither do I!

ST: Aww, shucks.   *hugs back*  Plus you mentioned Doc Savage.  I remember seeing plenty of those paperpacks on my dad’s shelf near his chair.  Oh that did bring back the memories.  Thanks for the great guest post and wonderful stories, Tom.

TW: Thanks all!  Remember to leave a comment and win!

Tom

Here are the books in the City Knight series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the men and their relationships and the events that occur:

City Knight (City Knight #1)
Knightmare (City Knight #2)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3)
Knights Out (City Knight #4)
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)
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