***COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED***
Ok, guys. I got an ARC of Keta Diablo’s Crossroads Shadowland and I have just three words: steamy, good times!!
I liked this book a lot, and, although it was the fourth in the Crossroads series, I was able to follow it as if it were a stand alone book.
Now, for the good stuff:
CROSSROADS: Shadowland, Gay Fiction Series, Phaze Publishing, http://www.king-cart.com/Phaze/product=Crossroads
Frank must travel to Louisiana to solve another missing persons’ case. This time, Rand insists on accompanying Frank to get a hands-on introduction to the PI business. Evil forces are at work in the bayou. Frank is pitted against a centuries’ old ghost and races against time to save two innocent young men from eternal damnation. Rand gets caught in vortex of prejudice when he encounters a sinister duo bent on violence against gays. Sinister machinations converge in a maelstrom of retribution and hate. Frank must pull out all the stops to save the young men and the man who holds his heart.
In this Crossroads adventure, Frank gets a P.I. job that will take him to New Orleans, LA, with his partner, Rand. While there they stay at the Provincial, a hotel with a spooky past. Frank’s job is to retrieve two missing boys, who made the mistake of pissing off a Civil War soldier’s ghost–it caught them desecrating its tombstone–and are taken in to the world in between the living and the dead to wander its halls for eternity as punishment. Frank is joined by Rand, his partner and lover. Rand is a mortal Adonis and is the light to Frank’s dark.
I enjoyed the introduction to main characters, in the second chapter. The shower sex scenes have always been my favorite (except for that one historical rom that I can’t name where they had hanging-from-the-chandelier sex [don’t judge me]).
Frank is an alpha, who tries to hide his feelings and true desires (non-sexual) behind a mask of implacability. He’s older, more experienced and has, what I thought, a chip on his shoulder. This makes him more gruff and rugged-like. He also can communicate with the other world, kinda like a ghost whisperer.
Rand, however, is a beta. He is Frank’s softer side. He wants to communicate feelings, thoughts, desires and wants. He is a truly beautiful man, both in form and face, like a mortal Adonis. He loves Frank and wants to share all the ups and downs of life with him.
Frank and Rand are aided by Sister Francoise Genevieve, an Ursuline nun who believes that with God, anything is possible. She provides an invaluable insight to the ghost’s motivations behind his malevolence, including his identity and his need to find peace. She’s small, delicate-looking old lady but has a fire in her soul, an unbendable love of God and is a true believer that nothing is impossible. She also is motivated by Rand’s impressive beauty.
Together, Frank and Sister Francoise locate the missing boys and bring them back, while providing the soldier with the peace he spent more than 100 years searching for.
However, Frank and Rand had a falling out before this, when Frank tries to send Rand home, for his own safety. It’s the last straw for Rand and he leaves, not just New Orleans, but Frank as well. Unfortunately, he accepts a ride from someone known to him only to discover it was a trap, a potentially lethal trap, and is beaten to within an inch of his life.
With the ghost’s help, Frank is able to find Rand, just in the nick of time and gets him to the hospital, for treatment. Frank goes after Rand’s assailants and leaves them in a humiliating pose in an extremely public place and makes his way back to the hospital and Rand. Frank also finally realizes and understands that Rand is his home, because Rand has his heart.
I truly liked this story, as the plot is well-developed and the story flows smoothly and the climax(es) (pun intended) are clearly defined. The interactions between all of the characters are well-thought and very clear. Frank and Rand’s relationship dynamics are also clear to the reader and people can easily identify with either and/or both.
The action sequences and Frank’s ghost whisperer-like qualities are well-defined and very believable (which isn’t always the case in some books). They’re not over-the-top nor circus-like–they’re also not used for most of the books, just the parts where Frank needs to channel the spirit world.
What I didn’t like about this story is that it’s so short. I know, I know, but still, come on, when you start off with a shower sex scene, please include more shower sex scenes.
I also liked the ending because it was poignant, but I would have rather seen a resolution between Frank and Rand, instead of Frank realizing on his own that Rand was his home–The End. I also would have preferred that Frank make his realization without Rand’s beating.
And who am I kidding, I’d also have liked for Rand to rub it in, just a little, and a declaration of undying love, on both sides.
All in all, this was a great book, starting off with a recap of the reason the boys were kidnapped by the ghost, the shower sex scene where Frank and Rand come in to the book (which promises a steamy ride (pun intended, again)), the wonderful Sister Francoise and the smooth flow of the story. I also enjoyed the HEA (happily ever after), although it could have been a bit more, but that’s just my preference.
In addition, I’m also having a contest!!!
Keta has been very generous and is giving two lucky readers each a copy of the first Crossroads books, CROSSROADS. Here’s the rules for the contest:
**This contest ends on June 26, 2010 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time (New York time)**
Brief overview of:
CROSSROADS,Gay Fiction series, Phaze Publishing, http://www.king-cart.com/Phaze/product=Crossroads
Handsome ex-cop Frank McGuire is on a quest to locate his dead partner’s missing son. Rand Brennan has an identity issue, exercabated since the death of his father. Hoping to find himself, Rand drops out of college, takes to the streets, and doesn’t realize he’s embroiled in duplicity and murder. In order to save Rand, Frank must confront the nefarious killers and…confront his long-suppressed feelings for Rand.
Elements: scenes of intense sexual activity