A MelanieM Review: Hard Contact (Guild Enforcer, #1) by Ali Atwood


Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5


Hard Contact is the first book in the Guild Enforcer Series, a sexy, action-packed gay romance with no cliffhangers and a HEA ending.

On the surface, Ty Lighthorne is a successful bounty hunter based in Boston. Undercover, he’s part of a covert task force regulated by the Fae Justice Guild. Ty and the team pursue paranormal criminals who’ve escaped to the human realm to avoid punishment. Since Ty is a hybrid, half human and half Fae, he’s totally at home in both dimensions.

Reed Harrison’s dream of becoming a piano soloist was in his grasp until tragedy ripped his world apart. When the justice system fails him, he devises his own method of retribution reinventing himself as a licensed bounty hunter.

Ty and Reed are polar opposites, but events force them into partnership and the sexual sparks fly. Reed maintains his distance because he’s all about the mission—hell-bent on revenge. Ty is a mix of toughness and devil-may-care with a strong allegiance to the Justice Guild. He knows better than to trust anyone with his secrets. A hot-blooded affair could threaten both their futures.

Hard Contact is the first novel I’ve read by this author so I’ve no idea if its representative of her other stories.  For me, Hard Contact shows promise but it just didn’t deliver on them.  So let’s start with the positives.

What drew me to pick up and read the story was the synopsis.  I loved the idea of a half fae/half human detective pairing up with a human partner to hunt down a murderer.  Even better when one has a personal connection to the case and said murderer.   Add to that a sexual attraction and evolving romance?  You have me hooked but good!

Atwood’s main characters are nicely done.  I liked Ty and Reed. Ty Lighthorne is given an interesting background (more on that later) as is Reed.  That they both end up working for the same bonds company?  Ok, and on the same job?  Alllllright.  But things start to break down shortly after that.  Nice central characters and great plot.

Which leads to insta love and other issues which I’m starting in on below.

Multiple povs.  Which I normally don’t have a problem if done correctly.  However here one (two others are Ty and Reed) is the killer’s and it really has no purpose other than titillation.  It pops up a couple of times but his character is never fully developed.  This element feels more like a narrative dud than a narrative do, if you know what I mean.

Then there is the world building here which is supposed to supply the novel (and therefore the characters) with a sturdy foundation.  Instead, its more like a shaky one.  You never get a good handle on the concept of Middle Earth here (flying cars? Werewolves?)  Plus there are huge holes in the author’s backstory for Ty and the creation of the Guild Enforcers.  So no one would notice a pattern of  children disappearing at certain age from good homes around the US?  Or the children themselves rebelling?  Wanting to return home?  That whole element is full of  narrative cracks that  need so much work and many more pages if not chapters.

So much that just doesn’t ring true.

And then there’s the important “non entities”.  Ty is a member of a trio of 3 enforcers who are legend.  We see the other two briefly and then not at all other than. Kapow! Look at them  go sort of thing.  Shakes head.

Secondary character development is important.  I can’t stress that enough.  You don’t want your main characters to live in a bubble.  Ty and Reed sort of do here to their and the story’s detriment.

And one last issue.  Having humans know about the Middle Earth is a huge “No”.  Apparently its cause for jail time, etc.  So what does our hero do?  Yes, of course, blithely take Reed through a portal without permission and show him Middle Earth. Smh.  Yes, there is no continuity here.  Just one big narrative crater after another.

Hard Contact is the first in a series but I’m leaving my reading at one book.  There’s just not enough here to make me want to continue.

Cover art:  Books by Khaleesi.  The cover certainly doesn’t say fantasy but could be for any murder/mystery story.  Interesting but a fail for this story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 178 pages
Published June 22nd 2018
Edition Language English

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