Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Eric doesn’t know where else to turn when his daughter is kidnapped, so he calls on his powerful ex-lover, Brock. Brock never expected to hear from Eric again, but he never got over the man, either. When Eric comes to him to help find the three-year-old Josie, there’s no way Brock can turn him down. He has the money and the contacts Eric needs, and he can’t let Eric walk out of his life again. Not after all these years.
Brock has no idea what he’s letting himself in for. Together, Eric and Josie turn Brock’s world upside down while they work with police and private security to find the people who took Josie, and to keep Eric and Josie safe while they do. Even as they get to know each other again, Brock has to fight the feelings he still has for Eric, at least for time being, which just makes it all that much harder. Can Eric and Brock find out who wants to hurt them before it’s too late, or will Brock fall off his pedestal as Eric’s hero?
I had read Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael when it first came out and thoroughly enjoyed the story then so I was curious to revisit it in audiobook format.
It had been some time so the audiobook made the story fresh again. I love tales with ex lovers getting that second chance at love and Unlikely Hero certainly has that with Eric turning to Brock for help after nine years because his daughter has been kidnapped. We get an extremely emotional setup that eventually leads to their breakup details later as they work on getting Josie back.
Brock is all big, strong, hugely rich, and gorgeous man…he all but has the word hero written on his chest. Eric is the more vulnerable high school teacher who broke it off years ago because he wanted a “normal life”, read that one outside that of a multi-millionaire, with a house in the burbs with kids. He now has that child who has been kidnapped for no reason anyone can understand.
The rest of the novel seeks to unravel the mystery behind Josie’s kidnapped and watching Brock, and Eric reconnect, and try to figure out how to move forward as a couple, and then as a family with Josie. Josie, a three year old, is a major character here. I found her far more successful in the novel than here in the audiobook. That’s due primarily to the narrator.
Narrating the voices of children accurately is incredibly tough. You either nail it or you don’t. And imo, Jeff Gelder just can’t get a child’s voice right. Josie comes off sounding more like a elderly woman than a three-year old, which is very disconcerting. Not only does she sound “older” than she is., but it comes dangerously close to being portrayed like a comedy routine because of the disconnect between the voice and the character. That’s too bad because Gelder’s other voices are just fine for the men he’s playing.
Other factors that seem highlightered here that perhaps I didn’t notice in the other format? The length of time it took for the police to put all the clues and details together to catch the perpetrator seemed odd and too long. I can’t remember. Maybe the book was written back in 2009, so forensics was less advanced than now and that’s hard to remember when the audiobook comes out in 2018. But when you start to focus on things that annoy you like a badly done child’s voice, then other elements start to pop up as well. Funny how that happens.
Still, Unlikely Hero is a sweet contemporary romance with a child firmly at the center. Love that element? Then you are sure to love this story. You might want to read it, however, instead of listening to it. Jeff Gelder’s “Daddy B, Daddy B” after a while was downright irritating instead of endearing as it was in the story. What a sham
Cover art: LC Chase is just adorable and perfect for the story.
Audible Audio, Second Edition
Published March 2nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published September 2009)
Original TitleUnlikely Hero