Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
If you are a fan of Dr. Spencer Reid of the TV show Criminal Minds, you will love Corbin Friel, one of the MCs of this book. He’s got the same inability to speak normally, and the same need to tell people esoteric trivia. I’m not much of a fan, and it’s one of the reasons I wasn’t able to get into this book.
Corbin was a medical student who had only ever wanted to follow in his parent’s footsteps and be a doctor. His beloved sister Malala had osteogenesis imperfecta, or “brittle bone disease”, and Corbin was more than a little overprotective of her because the disease made her incredibly fragile. Perhaps because she had to be so careful in her own life, Lala loved violent sports, and pressured Corbin in to going to an MMA fight. It was everything Corbin abhorred – dirty, bloody, violent, loud, low-class, and that was just the audience. Lala goaded him into a pathetic attempt at trash talking her favorite fighter’s opponent, and that was how Keon first noticed Corbin. When Lala won backstage passes to see Derek, Keon was there too, enjoying how uncomfortable Corbin clearly was. Lala and Derek started dating, and Corbin got drawn unwillingly into the amateur fighting world. Corbin was very attracted to Keon’s body – and who wouldn’t be? Those fighters are ripped! – which turned out to be good for Keon because Corbin noticed minor symptom that he cleverly diagnosed correctly and treated, allowing Keon to continue in his quest to be a professional UFC fighter.
The bone infection might have been what brought Keon and Corbin together, but their passions for their chosen careers – and their mutual admiration of that passion – was what deepened their connection. Having that kind of passion is rare in the first place, so I was very pleased that both men recognized what a precious commodity it was, and chose to support each other for it, despite their initial reservations. I liked Keon from the very beginning, but it took seeing Corbin come down from his high horse and support Keon even though he personally didn’t agree with fighting before I liked him.
I can’t speak for the details of UFC fighting, but those seemed to be fairly well researched to me. Of course, I know literally nothing about it (other than those fighters are ripped!) so I am not hard to impress on that front. Medical details however…. well, let me just say that my medical colleagues and I got a few laughs out of it. Did I subtract stars for that? Oh yes I did. A few minor mistakes I can handle, but there were A LOT. I am sure that I am significantly more critical than the average reader in this area, so others might not be bothered like I was. More than the medical details, however, I was bothered by the stupidity of the villains and their evil plot to take Keon down. And Corbin’s stupidity in not even noticing what was happening WAY before he cottoned on, and his gullibility in almost letting the bad guys get away with it. That part of the plot was a little too scooby doo for me. And finally, the book is written in present tense, which just irritates me. Again, a personal pet peeve that others may not mind.
Cover art by Kanaxa – buff naked torso with chains – definitely fits with the fighting theme.