What It Looks Like by Matthew Metzger ~ Book Review by Karen

what-it-looks-like-coverTitle: What It Looks Like

Author: Matthew Metzger

Publisher: JMS Books

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 08/20/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Contemporary


Eli Bell is the only son of a police chief inspector and a forensic scientist. He’s grown up wonky in a world that only deals with the straight and narrow — and his new boyfriend isn’t helping.

Rob Hawkes is six feet of muscle, tattoos, and arrest warrants. A career criminal and a former tenant of Her Majesty’s Prison Service, he’d rather hit Eli’s parents than sit down to dinner with them. One wrong move, and Rob could destroy Eli — and his family — without a second thought.

But this isn’t what it looks like.

Rob’s not in control here — and Eli’s the one to blame.

My View:

Since reading the Vivaldi in the Dark series I have wanted to read more Matthew Metzger, his voice is very authentically British without being ridiculously so, and this is a book about a transgender man, written by a transgender man, and the more that this happens with all marginalised authors the better. And it doesn’t disappoint on any level.

On one level it’s a straightforward story about a policeman’s son, Eli,  dating a former criminal, Rob, and the friction that causes to both men and Eli’s family in particular. The friction and difference in attitudes is depicted very well, Eli’s dad and Rob butt heads at every conceivable opportunity, and Eli is torn between wanting his lover and family to get on, and supporting Rob. There is also the family differences between the two men, Eli with his ‘traditional ‘ family love of law and order and fear that Rob will go back to prison, and Rob who is a product of  children’s homes and abusive parental relationships, with a strong resistance to the system in general and the police in particular. This part of the book,  while good and gritty, at times becomes repetitive. The arguments are very similar, and while Eli and Rob’s relationship develops and grows – the others don’t seem to change at all.  In fact this was a 5 star read for me on many levels, other than the ending and , mainly, resolution of Eli and Rob’s family troubles and the repetition.

What lifts this book much higher is the character of Rob, and then the relationship he has with Eli. The tags are for BDSM, but this is not a traditional D/S relationship, as both men are versatile, sexually and in terms of the power dynamic, I really don’t want to spoiler the book, but Rob’s acceptance , and ultimately love of Eli is lovely, and isn’t that really what we want – unconditional love ? The power that both share freely with each other, initially through sex then as the relationship develops in general is depicted so well.

I am generally not an epilogue fan, but I loved the epilogue here, and would recommend this book to readers who like their books real, with heart and a healthy dose of swearing.



What It Looks Like on Goodreads
JMS Books
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.

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