Wrestling Demons by Xavier Mayne ~ Review by Caroline

So Brandt and Donnelly are back and I have to be honest and say I much preferred this to book 1.

: Wrestling Demons

Author: Xavier Mayne

PublisherDreamspinner Press

My Rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

A Brandt and Donnelly Caper: Case File Two

Jonah Fischer’s high school wrestling career has been stellar, but now he’s the unwilling star of a series of videos that have hit the web. The whole world may have seen the evidence that his best friend turns him on. Jonah’s conservative family wants him cured, and his conventional town and school want him normal. The only person who still wants him just the way he is is Casey Melville, the same best friend who turned him on for all the world to see. Meanwhile, Casey begins to wonder if there’s more to his feelings for Jonah than he thought.

Officers Brandt and Donnelly—lovers as well as partners on the job—have been assigned to find the culprit who posted the video. While investigating the case, they also help Jonah and Casey find their way through their feelings, and steer them toward refuge when Jonah’s family turns against him. But the mystery remains: who wants to hurt Jonah badly enough to post those videos, and why? Thank goodness Jonah and Casey have found friends—they’re going to need all the help and support they can get.

My View

This book is so much more than an MM romance novel and it deals with some very serious issues. The story highlights how much damage can be done by ‘small town’ bigotry, by misuse of religion and by closed minds following the crowd.

When a video is uploaded onto the internet showing a young man, Jonah Fischer, naked in a changing room Brandt and Donnelly are brought in by the local Police to investigate. You would assume the Police were worried about someone filming young adults naked and without their permission and the damaging effects this could cause, sadly you would be wrong and they are only concerned about the reputation of the local wrestling team and their chances at the regional finals.

When two subsequent videos are released the young man in question is suddenly forced to look at his sexuality and come to terms with the fact that he is a gay man under the whole towns scrutiny. More mortifying than that is that his best friend Casey learns how Jonah truly feels about him and has no idea how to deal with it.

This story is about Jonah in the main part and how he has to deal with a very public outing and the vicious response from his family and friends. The real hero in this story however is Casey who rises above and beyond in his absolute support for his best friend regardless of how he is feeling. His defiance, his cuddles and his sheer determination to see Jonah through shows just what sort of character he is. If every gay man coming to terms with their sexuality had a friend like Casey well maybe the world would be a little better! Not even getting topless in a book store could faze the boy!

Brandt and Donnelly seem to hit a brick wall at every turn in their investigation and feel uncomfortable in a small town with such huge homophobic views. The reason for the videos does eventually become clear and again shows the lack of compassion and understanding in a Police force that should be there to protect.

I loved the way Casey dealt with questioning his sexuality so easily and so very differently from Jonah. His upbringing was nowhere near as strict and conservative as Jonahs which proves yet again that what we say and the way we behave has a tremendous impact on those around us and it is not always positive.

This story will run you through a gauntlet of emotions but I hope it will also leave you with a little bit of hope that there are good people out there and things can and will get better.

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank Dreamspinner Press for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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