Downpayment by A.J. Mars ~ Book Review by Karen

Downpayment-coverTitle: Downpayment

Author: A.J. Mars

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 02/15/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Contemporary


Mike Barrow and his friends are among many boys in Manchester who think the city will be their chance to improve themselves. But for now Mike is living in a damp flat with his friend Callum, and they’re both making ends meet by working the streets. When Mike meets Chris Wildsmith, a late-twenties entrepreneur, he thinks he’s hooked a job that will pay his rent for several weeks—a windfall already.

But his connection with Chris quickly goes beyond what’s normal between rent boy and client. Mike meets Chris’s friends, goes to Chris’s parties with him as his “boyfriend,” and finds himself swept up in a world he’s never known. He’s sure it’s all going to go horribly wrong, and when Chris’s work colleague figures them out and becomes violent, he’s almost proven right. But Mike isn’t the only one who has confused professionalism with something else. The breakup that follows gives Mike the impetus he needs to relaunch himself as somebody else, a man who will hopefully be someone Chris very much wants to be with.

My View:

I’ll be honest, this wasn’t the book I was after, the two books I actually fancied reviewing had been snaffled up, and I decided to read something by someone I had never read before.

This is classic romance story, and for me if that’s what a book is going to be then we all know the formula, so it’s about how you get to the HEA/ HFN as opposed to the ending itself that’s important. It’s all really about the relationship and the characters, if there isn’t any crime, paranormal activity or fantasy elements that’s where , certainly my, focus is.

As a general rule I am not a fan of sex worker books, because – and I know this is sweeping genralisation, they are portrayed as damaged and vulnerable and then due to a magic penis their issues are resolved.  Mike, our rent boy, isn’t like that at all – he’s quite a cheery guy who ran away from home due to his step father’s active fists and drifted into sex work. He’s smart and has no real hang ups about his sexuality and kind of likes the work, he lives with another rent boy and life is OK. Mike picks Chris up in a bar, and Chris needs a plus one for some events and decides that Mike can be it . Mike moves into Chris’ hotel suite for the week, gets bought clothes and is outed as a rent boy by a rotten colleague of Chris’ who actually wants Mike for himself. Hold on I hear you cry – that sounds very familiar- isn’t that Pretty Woman ? Actually yes it is, and there are many similarities between that film and this book – but Downpayment is a lot more than just a copy of a film where the sex of one of the characters has been changed.

Mike is a lovely character, he’s honest and because he’s young he struggles with finding out who he is, and what he really wants, Mike’s impact on Chris who is jaded and lonely is as deep as Chis’ impact on Mike. I thought this book was romantic, funny and real, I don’t mean realistic because the actual situation is a bit far fetched, but real because of how Mike and Chris interact and learn about each other. Mike writes his thoughts in a diary and we get excerpts from this interspaced between how the story unfolds. I really liked this way of showing how Mike felt.

A lovely romantic read.


Downpayment on Goodreads
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

I would like to thank the publisher 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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