Author: Jack Byrne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Rating: 4.00 of 5 Stars
New South Wales, Australia, 1876. As captured outlaws, Jim Kelly and Mark Turner face the gallows. Help comes from an unexpected quarter, but their hasty escape goes wrong and now Jim’s life hangs by a thread. Mark is driven by desperation to form an alliance with an infamous bushranger who may hold clues to his mysterious past. But as Jim and Mark’s relationship intensifies, it is also tested. Their secret is discovered, tempers fray, and jealousy flares.
This story opens in 1876 New South Wales and tension is already running high. Also jumping off from page one are the lovely juxtapositions Jack Byrne manages to make a part of his stories: fear and major uncertainty mixed with quiet tenderness. Sucks me right in every time.
Mark and Jim’s personalities are becoming more and better defined, refined really, in this third installment of the Bushrangers series. I found myself smiling, I just couldn’t help it. They both have their moments of consternation with the other and it feels natural as written.
We also have a mystery on our hands (though, it turns out there is more than one), along with one character being reintroduced and a brand new one who seems to hold some secrets, or maybe the secret. Yeah, there’s one of those, too.
The focus of this story is the relationship that continues to build between Mark and Jim. Time has allowed their feelings to not only grow but wind their way around each of them. They’re finding it difficult to be separated at any point and miss each other when they are. It’s new territory for them both. As are the worry, emotional ups and downs, and the sense that doors they didn’t even know to exist have now been thrown wide open. Yep, I’m going there: not even the huge expanse of the Aussie Outback can contain these two. 😉
I had to!
Ahem, now then, moving on.
Back to the supporting characters I alluded to above: logically, I understand each of their roles and the possible future uses for them, but it added a disjointed feeling to the story for me during some of those scenes. It’s like I was missing certain pieces of the puzzle, concrete pieces that do indeed exist but weren’t in the box. (I know, I know, what’s with the lame metaphors?) Anyway, you all know that I like surprises in my books, I like to not be spoon-fed the obvious, but that wasn’t really the case here. What I do know is that my trust that I’ve put with this author has been proven an enjoyable investment, even with a choppy flow here and there.
There’s something about this story, the writing, the characters… I can’t quite put my finger on it yet. It’s sensual and rugged and hot and tense and tender. So despite any imperfections, I simply find myself feeling relaxed and satisfied when reading all of the stories so far in this series. The closest I can come to explaining it is this: the settings and characters are so richly layered and intriguing to me, it feels like they’re being shortchanged in a novella as opposed to a lengthier work. The writing talent is undeniable in my view and deserves to have all of the space and time in which to properly and deeply wallow around in a story rife with potential like this.
Maybe if Byrne will write more, I’ll be able to figure it out? Ya see what I did there, don’t ya. 😉
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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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