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Past Hurts (Sizzling Miami Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 342 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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What I loved:
The two main characters, Davin (SVU Detective) and Alaric (wealthy, runs the family's successful high-tech business) were lovers eight years ago, when "Past Hurts" opens. They have not spoken a word since then. Something terrible happened that forced these two lovers apart, and each thinks the other left him. At the same time, a serial killer is loose in Florida, killing young gay men on a nightly basis. One of the victims turns out to be Alaric's brother, and Davin is the detective assigned to the case. Now they have to talk - something they should have done eight years earlier.
Much of the rest of the book revolves around two crimes - the serial killings, and a serial rape ring run by the brother who was killed by the serial killer. Two crimes need solving and one relationship desperately needs patching up.
It is a testament to the author's writing that I couldn't put the book down - and I didn't. And for that, alone, I recommend it.
What I hated:
Obviously, Jessie G hasn't yet found her editor (I assume Jessie is a woman, there's no info on her), and although she is great with words, plot and dialogue, she sucks at spelling and punctuation. Not to mention the "little" words like "the" or "to" that she leaves out, resulting in a number of sentences that are essentially unreadable.
Now I admit I have a thing about buying authors' rough drafts. If I'm going to buy a rough draft, I want to be paid for editing, or get a discount for buying a "beta" book. It is nothing short of disrespect for the authors' own art and the readers' good faith, to publish a book as poorly-edited as this one.
I never fail to be amazed that so many writers just don't seem to have gotten past Junior High School English. Ms G, obviously, has no clue how apostrophes are used. She really broke the record on this one - almost every single appearance of an apostrophe in "Past Hurts" is simply wrong. And it's not typos, because she repeats the same errors over and over again:
"How do you know the Bennet's?" [Plurals do NOT have apostrophes, ever!]
"David turned to see the Hargrove's entering..." [Same.]
"You're handiwork?" [Another inappropriate apostrophe - "Your handiwork?".]
"You're submission to me made you strong." [Same.]
"Wondering if he had a snowballs chance in hell?" [And doesn't use an apostrophe when she should - "snowball's chance".]
"...and your saying he was high..." [Now it SHOULD have an apostrophe - "you're saying he was high"!]
"Wow, your back, is it for good this time?" [Same - "you're back"]
"I went to your fathers when I realized you had packed your things." [Missing, again - "father's"]
Ms. G obviously doesn't have a clue what the difference between "your" and "you're" is. Her commas are just as bad, often leading to incredible run-on sentences. Jack Kerouac did that, intentionally, as part of his "stream of consciousness". This author (and her editor, if there was one) did not do it intentionally:
"That everyone was going to die him and his parents included" [Missing comma after "die,".]
"As promised Elias was waiting for him." [Comma missing after, "As Promised,".]
"It was unattractive if Davin were being honest..." [Comma missing before "if".]
Sometimes she manages run-on sentences without even omitting commas:
"Not that he hadn't cared in the past it was just different."
Missing "little" words, like "the". "it" and "to" made complete gibberish out of too many sentences:
"I'll find that passion and craft into a business." [and craft "it" into a business.]
"...pulling under even strongest and most stoic." ["the" strongest and most stoic.]
"but think that her generosity often abused" ["is" often abused.]
"Davin had the look of well f**ked man." ["a" well-f**cked man (2 errors, including the missing hyphen).]
"Put dinner warmer and meet me in the bedroom." ["in the" warmer...]
But there's even worse. At one point, she actually attributes the wrong dialogue to the wrong character, with Davin regretting the hangover he's going to have and moving to the front door to set his house alarm. The problem is that Davin didn't drink anything and they're not in Davin's house, they're in Alaric's. It was Alaric who polished off two bottles of wine while waiting for Davin to finish his run, and it's Alaric who has the hangover in the morning. I had to read that paragraph three times to try to make sense of it, never wanting to believe that the author could forget her own character's name. That's a pretty serious mistake, and again, it was no typo, as the name continued to be used, erroneously, throughout the entire paragraph.
Then there's the constant misuse of "to" and "too" (I did mention Junior High School English, right?), but enough is enough. I'm sure, by now, you've gotten the point.
What makes this such a big deal to me is that I really loved this author's writing - when I wasn't being constantly distracted trying to figure out what she meant. It devolved into a sort of guessing game: "For three points, guess what the author meant by this sentence!".
In addition, if Ms. G is to become a successful writer in this genre (and she certainly has the talent to do so), she's going to have to be more careful about falling into the hoary Gay Romance memes that can make this genre, at times, almost unbearably trite.
Start with names. I swear the names of certain Gay Romance characters just make me laugh out loud. For example, "Davin" and "Alaric" (is he an Elf, or what?). She's just missing "Gavin", "Creed", "Creel" and "Trevor" to hit the trifecta. I just read a very funny parody of Gay Romance novels and Ms. G's names sound like they're ripped directly from its pages.
Not to mention the amazingly trite "Fifty Shades Of Grey" meme that has been infiltrating gay fiction over the last year. I suspect that more than a few Gay Romance authors sit down and ask themselves "what do I need to do to sell lots of copies on Amazon? I know, I've got it, that Fifty-Shades domination/submission thing is really popular, right now, let's throw that in!" This is hardly a BDSM book, but that doesn't mean that at least one of the two "heroes" doesn't demand to be bent over and "spanked", and get all hot when (and this is a quote), "You're [sic] submission to me made you strong." Puhleez, this is just embarrassing. The big, successful, powerful cop has to get on his knees and beg his businessman boyfriend for permission to have an orgasm? And these two are lovers? Give me a break.
What do these authors think, that because gay couples' roles are not pre-determined by society, one has to be the master, and the other one is the "girl"? It's insulting, unnecessary and, quite frankly, more than a little embarrassing.
What makes this so frustrating is that the writing, the characters and the plot were so good that the author didn't need these pathetic gimmicks to make the book good - and they just came off as tacked-on and self-conscious.
If Ms. G ever gets an editor (or takes a remedial English class), and becomes self-confident enough to eschew the cheap and easy gimmicks, I'm convinced she'll make a great writer, someday.
I don't regret reading this book. It was a good read. I can, however, live without the frustration of wrestling with its spelling and grammar while trying to read it. Sadly, it might have been a five-star book without all the extra effort required to slog through it.