Incoming, the beginning of Wasp’s Veterans Affairs series, is a terrific book marred by poor editing and continuity issues, things that unfortunately continue into the next story, Christmas Outing.
Released in 2016, it dates itself with elements that I regard fondly. Music, a car with actual paper road maps in the passenger seat, be still my heart. And while I’d like to chalk up the editing errors, that for some readers might send this novel flying across the room, to inadequate technology at the time, I suspect that’s just not the case.
Most of the glaring mistakes concern switching important names sometimes within paragraphs. Whether it’s between the main characters or even towards the end, the adorable but vastly different canine characters, it occurs often and throughout the story.
How does an author not have noticed something so major that it takes a reader out of the narrative because they are trying to make sense of who’s talking? Or a canine acting out of character? A super intelligent border collie who’s lived in the house for years can’t figure out a door while the new recently ill dog is racing towards a ball already in the backyard. Uh no. Pls edit.
It’s a shame because the core story and the characters are quite wonderful. Especially Troy Johnson, ex Army, who’s issues include untreated PTSD, the stress of being a closeted gay man to his religious family in WV, and internalizing all the pain, suffering, and loss of his recent campaigns in Afghanistan. Troy is so beautifully written and painfully detailed a person who’s trying to figure out a new life and not quite succeeding.
Less immediately likable but just as realistic is Dimitri, a research veterinarian* (because he couldn’t stand to cause animals/their owners pain) who’s let his fears of pain overwhelm him to the extent he’s walled himself off emotionally and physically from life, except for his best friend. He’s more than a bit self absorbed, a tad cowardly, and reactionary. Unrealistic. How did the author explain him getting through vet school?
Did I believe in him? Yes, sort of. In a where did his degree come from kinda way. Did I like him? Hmmm, maybe. More so as I started to see the men together. It was their dynamic and relationship that sold me , as well as his relationships with his best friend, Sugar, that connected me with Dmitri.
Excellent work with his less than stellar personality and character growth.But his profession needs work.
The characters that support them are amazing. Whether it’s the bar owner, Vincent, a vet himself, and the best friend, Angel. The dogs too, like Sweetie the service dog and Dmitri’s border collie, Moby.
So read the this book and it’s companion, A Christmas Outing, a sort of epilogue to this couple’s relationship, if you’re a fan of the author’s and extremely tolerant of editing errors and continuity mistakes.
However, if those things are book stoppers for you, I’d suggest you skip these. Not even the diminutive shortcut for Dmitri remains the same throughout the novel. SMH.
*some scientific researchers do tend to use animals in their experiments so I do wonder how much research herself Wasp did here. Just a thought.
Books in the Veterans Affairs Series
Incoming – Troy & Dmitri novel
A Christmas Outing – Troy & Dmitri novella
Paper Hearts – Mikey & Benny novel
Paper Roses – Mikey & Benny novella
Bronze Star – Jay-Cee & Chris novel
A veteran and a veteranarian walk into a bar.
Army veteran Troy is everything Dmitri’s ever wanted in a guy: gorgeous, smart, and funny. He likes dogs, he has the sexiest trace of an accent, and his kisses set off fireworks in Dmitri’s entire body. Too bad Troy is looking to stay in Red Deer Dmitri is getting the hell out of this small town as soon as he can.
Still, they might be able to work it out, but Troy has secrets he won’t tell, and the demons he’s running from are hot on his heels. When sparks fly on a hot Fourth of July weekend, both men find that the past is not easily left behind, and the future is never as clear as you hope.