Author: Lloyd A. Meeker
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: DWS Photography
Shepherd Bucknam hasn’t had a lover in more than a decade and doesn’t need one. As a Daka, he coaches men in the sacred art and mystery of sexual ecstasy all the time, and he loves his work. It’s his calling. In fact, he’s perfectly content—except for the terrors of his recurring nightmare and the ominous blood-red birthmarks on his neck. He’s convinced that together they foretell his early and violent death.
When Shepherd’s young protégé is murdered, LAPD Detective Marco Fidanza gets the case. The two men are worlds apart: Marco has fought hard for everything he’s accomplished, in sharp contrast to the apparent ease of Shepherd’s inherited wealth—but their mutual attraction is too hot for either of them to ignore.
Shepherd swears he’ll help find his protégé’s killer, but Marco warns him to stay out of it. When an influential politician is implicated, the police investigation grinds to a halt. Shepherd hires his own investigator. Marco calls it dangerous meddling. As their volatile relationship deepens, Shepherd discovers his nightmares might not relate to the future, but to the deadly legacy of a past life—a life he may have to revisit before he can fully live and love in this one.
I really don’t like labeling a book I’m reviewing as a DNF (Did Not Finish) but in the end this was one story I just couldn’t go all the way with.
The writing style was one reason I just couldn’t get into The Companion. Not that it was written badly, because it wasn’t. It was extremely well written, but it wasn’t the style usually seen in M/M or romance. The book was a finalist in the Lamdba Literary Awards, which should’ve been a clue I probably wouldn’t enjoy it.
Some people love literary works, but I’m not one of them. I often feel like I’m being talked down to as I read a literary book. And that was a problem here. Shepherd Bucknam is described as a Daka—someone who coaches men in the scared art of mystery and sexual ecstasy, though he really seems more like a prostitute to me. His words describing his job are rather new agey and hoity toity and don’t convince me he’s anything special.
“Somewhere under his skin, stored in some guarded place, like a prisoner, lies that memory, or maybe a dream—a longing I can awaken, excavate with my touch, my body, coaxing out stories aching to be heard. We become allies, then—brother in some ancient tribe, preparing for a sacred ceremony of spirit and flesh.”
There are pages of Shepherd talking about how he views his work in new agey, ten dollar words. But it did nothing for me and didn’t make me see him as anything more than a hustler.
The story involves a mystery when Shepherd’s friend and protégé is murdered. That puts him in contact with Detective Marco Fidanza and sparks fly immediately, of course. The two men become involved quickly which seemed realistic when they were just having sex. After all, Shepherd hasn’t been in a relationship for years, since he’s focused on his career. However, before you know, Marco is introducing Shepherd to his family. I see that as a big step in a relationship and didn’t feel the conflict that Shepherd should’ve been feeling if things were moving that quickly.
I started skimming a lot around the fifty percent part and before I realized I was skimming almost all of it. That’s a sure sign the characters haven’t hooked. I just didn’t care. Not about the relationship or about the murder or even the past trauma that sends Shepherd into therapy.
Like I said I hate not finishing a review book, but I just couldn’t force myself to finish it.
I have no doubt lots of people love this book. If you like literary fiction I would suggest you give The Companion a try.
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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