Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Eli Bell is the only son of a police chief inspector and a forensic scientist. He’s grown up wonky in a world that only deals with the straight and narrow — and his new boyfriend isn’t helping.
Rob Hawkes is six feet of muscle, tattoos, and arrest warrants. A career criminal and a former guest of Her Majesty’s Prison Service, he’d rather hit Eli’s parents than sit down to dinner with them. One wrong move, and Rob could destroy Eli — and his family — without a second thought.
But this isn’t what it looks like.
Rob’s not in control here — and Eli’s the one to blame.
What It Looks Like by Matthew J. Metzger is one of those books that took a while for me to finish and even longer to write a review for. Why? Because I couldn’t figure out exactly why I couldn’t connect to the book and the characters.
Its well-written and the story certainly emotional and pertinent to the times. So why couldn’t I get involved?
It kept coming back to the characters. I’m just not sure I liked them very much.
The character of Eli Bell, which will hold a few surprises for the reader, has had a childhood that has been emotionally overwhelming at times in a family not always supportive and understanding. He’s realistically drawn as a character but…and here’s my but…I got tired of Eli quickly. He covers the same ground in his arguments, shows little growth as a person for the longest time. Kudos to the writer for making Eli real, but after a while…I wanted to put the book down because scene after scene I knew what was coming.
Rob Hawkes was a little more interesting but again not by much. A bad boy by history and now by his own choices (and need), he comes off as going over the same landscape as Eli does. He looks after his younger brother, comes from a troubled, criminal family known to the police. He’s angry that Eli’s dad hates him. He hates Eli’s dad. You know the drill. Its a pattern. Perhaps that’s the authors intent. Both are stuck in a pattern, even with each other. Unfortunately, so is the reader. At least that’s how I felt.
About 75 to 80 percent through the story, I started to care about them. Everything turned over for me. I liked their relationship. Things that felt needlessly tedious were dropped in favor of change and the story seemed fresh again.
There is considerable amount about Eli and his sexuality. Also Eli and Rob’s relationship includes a huge amount of bdsm content. As this makes up a large part of the story, if this is not your thing, I would take that into consideration when thinking about reading this story. Metzger does fold it realistically into Eli and Rob’s relationship, less so when its occurring at Eli’s house.
As I stated, I really went back and forth with this review in my head. There are some wonderful scenes and elements here, most of which I felt came towards the last part of the story. There the book became more concise, the narrative pared down to what mattered most (at least to me) and I could connect emotionally to the characters and their relationship.
You may feel otherwise.
Its the first book I’ve read by this author and I certainly look forward to reading more. What It Looks Like by Matthew J. Metzger is a well-written book that left me with a conflicted review. Maybe that’s as the author intended. Pick it up and decided for yourself.
Cover art definitely shows a inked bad boy. Nice but standard.
Published August 20th 2016 by JMS Books LLC