Rating: 3 stars out of 5
After being dishonorably discharged from the military and disowned by his family, Evan Day turns to the world of porn. For Trevor Hardball, Evan’s porn persona, everything comes easily. He can focus himself, knows the way around a good scene… things as Evan aren’t so easy. He’s still dealing with the scars war left internally, not to mention to pain of losing his family, lover, and job all at once.
One night, Riley literally falls into his lap. He’s not Evan’s typical type, but somehow he just intrigues Evan, and after a night of steamy sex, Evan can’t seem to get him off his mind. But life is full of surprises, including his mom reaching back out to him, and Riley’s cold exterior after a hot night…
Their paths may have been different, but they’d ended up much in the same place: isolated, so alone in so many ways, and yet here, together, sharing desire and intimacy.
When I read the blurb for this, I was pretty excited. With porn stars, military, and a loss that’s sure to be gut wrenching, what’s not to love? It should’ve hit all the right buttons, but I’m afraid it was pretty much a complete miss for me.
There was quite a bit of “honey” and other little phrases that just became overused very quickly. It even had me rolling my eyes when a third character started to use them too. It was just… too much. That takes me to another point, which is that I don’t think the characters had enough of their own personality. They all seemed to come from the same template with some slight changes, but I didn’t feel like they were different. For me, it was at times like reading different versions of the same person.
On top of that, the book tries to tackle a lot of issues. Evan had nightmares, sometimes has some conflict between himself as Trevor and Evan, lost his lover and his brother, was disowned by his family (who are now trying to win him back), then you have his best friends in a large part of the story, and then we take Riley who also has family issues and who knows what else – we don’t really get to know, as we hear very little about Riley as a person. I understand that people in general have a lot of stuff happen in their life (to put it mildly), but this was just too much for the author to try to tackle.
I was also very uncomfortable toward the end when there was a BDSM scene that went very wrong, and we knew it would from the very start… but Evan still went into it. We never do find out what happens with that – or Riley’s family.
Having so many issues in one book made it easy to forget to resolve things, or to resolve them too quickly. Besides just the two things I mentioned above, the issue with Evan’s family is fixed super nice and neatly, but then the issue of his nightmares and all the other issues in his life are not paid much attention to.
All of these things got to me, but I think that even if those were all resolved, I would still have a problem in that I did not connect with the characters, and I certainly did not connect with their relationship. I honestly felt more connection in Evan’s porn scene with Adam than I did between Riley and Evan, which made me quite dissatisfied.
That being said, I think the author has potential. The writing wasn’t terrible, and she certainly doesn’t lack for ideas. It’s just a matter of knowing when and how to use them, and making sure that everything is actually treated with the time and respect it needs. If that can’t happen, it probably shouldn’t be in the story at all.
The cover art by Paul Richmond unfortunately did nothing to add flare to the book. I’ve seen Paul do a lot of really great work and praised it, but this isn’t necessarily one of those. Sure, it’s fine, but it’s pretty bland. There’s nothing particularly special about it, and as someone pointed out, it appears that the flag, if considering the height of the model and the way the flag is positioned, is likely touching the ground, something seen as taboo in normal society – so having a model who is meant to depict an ex-marine hold a flag that could be touching the ground is a bit unsettling. To put it simply, I’ve seen Paul do far better.
ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: January 12th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
original titleUnfortunate Son