Author: A.C. Burch
Publisher: *Not Listed
Cover Artist: Cover Design by Adrian NIcholas with Art Work by Madeline Sorel
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 10/15/2016
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Almost-billionaire Vaughn Kreisler has vanished without a trace. So has his money, save the few million he left behind for his wife. When his yacht, the Last Chance, arrives in Grand Bahama, only one person is aboard—a feisty blonde who seems unconcerned about Kreisler’s disappearance. Detective Lieutenant Paul Beston’s investigation is hobbled from the start by the lack of a corpse and his growing infatuation for the prime suspect. When an ex-lover outs Beston at work, his colleagues abandon him, and an old rival exacts a violent revenge. The disgraced detective has only one person on his side—the alleged murderer.
I struggled to come up with the right rating for this review. Because on the one hand this book was technically well written and showcased the author’s grasp on beautiful language and structure. But on the other hand, I found parts of this story borderlined offensive and incorrect. In the end I gave this one a 2 star rating because the inconsistencies and lack of development left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Last chance was a “murder mystery” in the barest sense of the term. Yes, there was a mystery about a potential murder, but that was only important in the fact that it is the basis for the MCs meeting. The main focus of this story was really around the characters coming to terms with their true selves and how their lives would have to change now that these people know their core truths.
The author really did a great job with the self discovery, and the way this story was written only served to emphasize the tension and the emotion as these struggles for growth took place. Up until the mystery was revealed, I was on the edge of my seat imagining all the ways this would play out and how the romance would surface at just the right moment to bring this story to a satisfying culmination.
Only, once the secrets were out, this story fell apart. Badly.
First off this is genderfluid story. One of the main characters is a biological male and for part of the time he feels like a woman trapped in a man’s body, but he also feels like a man in a man’s body sometimes. Yet, this was treated almost more like a case of split personalities with the detective often throwing those very words back in the face of the person he supposedly loves. This story could have been so great if the author had not gone to such great lengths to make Amanda/Vaughn feel like they were inferior.
Second, detective Beston turned out to be a horrible person and I hated him and how he treated Amanda/Vaughn. He blew up at them and called them a “transvestite,” a freak, an it. He shamed them for their truth and basically refused to admit his prejudices. Then in one conversation with a native, he changed his evil ways and become Amanda/Vaughn’s perfect lover and life mate. With NO APOLOGY OR EXPLANATION. And Amanda/Vaughn accepted him back with open arms less than a day after being torn to shreds and shamed. Um nope, nope, nope, nope. This DID NOT WORK FOR ME. I understand that Beston’s reaction was organic and raw and probably reflects a lot of reality. That is not what bothered me. It was the non apology and total acceptance by those he belittled. Nope, the author needed to add some serious word count and ACTUALLY TAKE THE TIME TO HAVE BESTON APOLOGIZE AND CHANGE, before I could accept this book as anything resembling satisfying.
I also felt the author’s views towards masculinity and femininity are a bit stuck in the past. He spent the time to try to tackle a non mainstream sexuality and yet failed to try to counter the stereotypical attitudes towards what makes a man masculine and a woman feminine. He wrote this as if only men can be masculine and only if it meets certain ideals. And only woman can be feminine and men who are feminine are obviously lesser than. Maybe I read too much into this, but I felt that thread of misogyny throughout this entire book and it made me sad. Because this author seemed to try. But again, failed to give me what I needed.
I can see the potential here if the author did a bit more study and had a bit more development before the forgiveness and resolution. But as this one stands, I felt offended on behalf of Amanda/Vaughn and never got what I needed to even begin to believe Detective Beston was worthy of their time.
I do want to end on a positive note and mention that I LOVE this cover. Very well done and eye catching.
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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