This is the third book I've read by Robert Winter. The first one, September, was 5+ star brilliant. But it wrecked me. It left me emotionally drained. I'm not the kind of person who can read those books often.
I had to give Winter another try. His brilliant writing called to my inner reader. I read Every Breath You Take. I enjoyed the story and was glad to find that this mystery/suspense romance didn't try to shatter my emotions. Yet I still hesitated a little with this new author. The two books were very different from each other.
When the third book, Lying Eyes, came out, I honestly thought I'd pass on it. I wasn't pulled in by the cover and the description mentioned a BDSM theme which I normally don't like reading. Then an ARC opportunity presented itself and I jumped off the fence and decided to try a third time. I kept thinking that the brilliance of the writing was worth another go.
It took less than two pages to suck me in to the story. There is something very smooth and compelling about Robert Winter's writing. It's the rare author who can take my mind completely into the plot so that I lose sight of the mechanics of the writing.
I'm convinced. I'm sold. I'm a fan!
In his latest novel, Winter let's us get to know Randy. We met him as a side character in the previous book. After reading this one, I feel I know Randy so well that I have to remind myself he's not a friend in real life.
Randy is big, strong and smart. His only weakness is a caring nature. He's been taken advantage of before and it cost him. So he's more skeptical now. He guards himself against trusting.
When Jack barges into his life, Randy shores up the walls of his reserve against the immediate attraction. He's not about to let himself be played for a fool twice in his life.
I found myself agreeing with Randy's impressions and actions where Jack was concerned. I respected his careful assessment of the situations. I admired his smart deductions about Jack's intentions.
If you would have told me, before I read this book, that I'd be interested in a plot theme revolving around art, I would have rolled my eyes. But Winter sold me on it. I bought in quickly to Jack's career as a museum curator. I was fascinated by his process in identifying and describing paintings. I felt Jack's yearning to solidly build his career and his self-worth by confirming the find of a lifetime. I worried that Jack could be capable of going too far in his aim to succeed.
I especially worried about Randy when his caring nature was fully revealed in the way he helped and sheltered a homeless teenage boy. Randy's relationship with Danny was the catalyst for my heart. I fell head over heels for Randy when I saw how caring and sympathetic he could really be. Danny served to clearly show the type of man Randy truly was.
I'm not going to post any spoilers. I'm not even going to hint at spoilers, because you should read this one blind to the plot. I'm only going to mention two things. One, this book can be easily read as a stand alone. Previous characters appear but previous knowledge of them is not needed to fully enjoy this story. Two, the BDSM aspect is barely there. We only get two small, mild scenes.
This is a mystery/suspense/thriller romance. More focus is on the mystery than the romance. The romance naturally evolves out of the plot.
Robert Winter is now an auto-buy author for me. Spectacular writing!!! You'd never believe he hasn't been writing for decades. It's really that polished.
This review ARC was provided via IndiGo Marketing & Design.