Friday, 3 April 2009

Review – Wanted Dead Or Alive– Jenna Byrnes

 

 

 

 

The Blurb

Dan Radisson has been released from Corcoran State Prison and never intends to go back. He's working his twelve steps, minding his own business, and trying to resume some degree of normalcy living in the home of his sister and her family.

Trey Wallace knows what he likes and isn't afraid to go after it. When he meets Dan at an AA meeting he sees exactly what he wants, but questions whether the newly freed man is ready to dive into the type of sexual relationship Trey has in mind.

Dan's ready for the sex, but not so sure about life on the outside. When he stumbles upon a homicide and runs from the scene in the same way he did in the past, suddenly he's a wanted man. Dan must either solve the crime or risk returning to the place he dreads the most--the prison that changed his life.

 The Review

 

The Characters

Dan Radisson, brother to a sister who just wants the best for him, brother-in-law to a cop who thinks he’s clearly a waste of space, uncle to a little dynamo who just never slows down and he’s also an ex-con.

Trey Wallace, go getter and not afraid or ashamed of doing things his own way. He also the guy who once his mind his made up he gives one hundred percent trust – and he has made his mind up about one - Daniel Radisson.

 

The Plot

Newly released ex-con Dan Radisson is not clear on the path he intends to take now that he was out of prison. One thing he knows for a fact is that he is never going back. Trying to get some normalcy back into his life, he does what he has to do and keeps his head down. 

Meeting Trey at an AA meeting makes Dan feel more normal than he has felt in a long time. Trey is unlike anyone Daniel has ever met, he’s only fault in Daniel’s eye is his insistency on taking things slow.

One of Dan’s first attempt at following the twelve steps program finds him standing in the middle of a homicide with blood on his hands. He goes with his gut instinct and runs. Only one thing can save him, he needs to solve this one on his own – he’s forgotten however that he is not on his own and the man who trust him above all else, is with him every step of the way.

 

 

He drove around Camille’s neighborhood, the Montclair district of Oakland, California. It was a nice suburb with decent houses and plenty of shopping. Dan had never spent much time in Montclair, though it was only ten or fifteen minutes away from where he grew up in the suburb of Laurel. He intended to visit Laurel soon, once he felt ready. All part of the step nine thing.
He cruised the streets slowly, finally admitting he was looking for Trey’s motorcycle. If the man was true to his word, he might not be back to another AA meeting for a week. That’d suck. It would also mean Trey wasn’t as interested in him as he hoped.
When the afternoon sun was setting and Dan’s gas tank approached empty, he pulled into the parking lot of the community center. No motorcycles. He hadn’t really expected one but had to admit, he would have loved to see Trey again.
There was approximately the same number of people at the meeting as had been there the previous day. Dan saw a few new faces, but many were the same. He listened, perfunctorily, and spoke when it was expected, but his heart wasn’t in it.
The meeting was almost over when a voice from the row behind spoke quietly in his ear. “You heard enough? I’m ready to get out of here.”

Wanted Dead or Alive (c) Jamie Hill

 

 

Surprise Element

The level of detail of what Dan went through during his time in prison, was a definite surprise to me. We all read books about prison and it’s dark underbelly – but it’s for all intense and purposes normally gloss over – especially in romance, however Ms. Byrnes has given us a view into the going on behind bar and it’s some kinda scary.

Another surprise was for such a short story, the emotional upheaval that this book created was enormous. This shouldn’t have been a surprise to me after reading so much of Ms. Byrnes work, however first timer – be prepare she knocks your socks off.

 

Predictability

When you hear the word ex-con in a story you just knew the usual suspect were going to come out and play. I knew something would happen but not what. To say Ms. Byrnes, pull off a surprise would be an understatement. One minute you are thinking – you know what’s coming next, but –  oh no that was right where the predictability stopped.

 

Smut/Ick Factor

One thing i  have always admired about this author is that she actual writes a story.  It’s not all smut and it is just so with WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE, there was enough there to make it worth your while, as both men i thought were, probably from life  experience conscious or conscientious enough to know how far was far  enough.

 

Positive

I am a big moaner of a little bit of a back history to characters, i think it’s does make a difference to the story – with WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE we are given the bits that are important to the story and it worked.

In this rather dark tale of murder, mystery and misdemeanour there were a few rays of sunshine with just the everyday things we take for granted – that were so unexpected, yet they made a difference.

While there were some rather disturbing issues dealt with in this book, I like the fact that they were. Nothing was glossed over – Dan dealt with it, he wasn’t traumatised, he just knew that he’s passed that time in his life – understood the code of the prison brotherhood and you can only respect the men making certain decisions once they are on the other side of those gates.

There’s a level of humanity to this book that is indescribable, forgiveness, humbleness and even the fact that pushing you does not mean pushing you away is wonderful to see. 

I also like the fact that all the lose ends were tied up, you weren’t left wondering what happened to or if that happened, all the important areas were addressed.  

  

Negative

I am thinking what did i find off putting about this book. I knew the books was a short story so i can’t moan about that, there were some moment that were real eye opener – but they only made the story. The story was by no mean perfect but i liked it. 

Cover

The cover come as part of Phaze’s “Slippery When Wet” series, so  i would imagine we will see it again. It feels very process and it did nothing for me, for the mere fact that i  thought the story was a better story that the cover that was attached to it.

 

An update from Jenna about the covers:

The four books stand alone but have a common thread running through them. (The four heroes are the guys from Dan's shower scene memory in prison- that same memory scene is in each book.)
We had some say in the covers and thought the artist managed to get quite a bit of stuff on each one. I know they aren't traditional romance covers, but they fit the series. You can see the other three here:


Erotic Design


Jude's Livin' on a Prayer comes out in May
My Never Say Goodbye is June
and Jude's I'd Die for You is July

See comments for the respond….

 

 

6 Speak To Me:

Lea on 3 April 2009 at 12:52 said...

Thank you EH for once again offering your honest thoughts about what sounds to be an interesting book.

I don't think this one is my cuppa - but that is why reviews are so great, right?

Warm Regards
L

Erotic Horizon on 3 April 2009 at 13:27 said...

Hey Lea,

Good Morning..... I know this isn't your cup of tea but I will tempt you yet. Jamie has a F/F book - the one I have been dragging my foot on, and she does write contemporary romance - which are so good - you'll love them.

I will review the F/F (I'll jump over the bits I am squirmish about) and I know I will get you reading.

Thanks for the support as always...

E.H>

Jamie Hill on 3 April 2009 at 13:27 said...

Ah, another great review EH.

I love that you get what I'm trying to say and do. Makes it all worthwhile!

Thanks so much!

Jamie

Erotic Horizon on 3 April 2009 at 13:30 said...

You are welcome... I always get your books...

Congrats on the release..

E.H>

Jamie Hill on 3 April 2009 at 13:45 said...

Shoot! I should have mentioned that Jude Mason and I created the Slippery When Wet series for the Phaze Rocks line. Each of the four titles is from Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet Album. (We liked that play on words, with the guys in prison, LOL)

The four books stand alone but have a common thread running through them. (The four heroes are the guys from Dan's shower scene memory in prison- that same memory scene is in each book.)

We had some say in the covers and thought the artist managed to get quite a bit of stuff on each one. I know they aren't traditional romance covers, but they fit the series. You can see the other three here:

Erotic Design

Jude's Livin' on a Prayer comes out in May

My Never Say Goodbye is June

and Jude's I'd Die for You is July, followed, we hope, by a print edition containing all four stories.

Anyway, thanks again!

Jamie

Erotic Horizon on 3 April 2009 at 13:53 said...

Hey Jamie,

Thanks for giving us a bit more info on the cover...

Now that I look at them all individually they do now make a difference...

I thought it would be like "Nothing But trouble" - where the cover got so common after a while, but the story was truly spectacular....

I'll update the post with this.

Looking forward to them all -

E.H>