Monday, 14 September 2009

Review – Beyond The Norm © Shawn Lane

Title: Beyond The Norm

Author: Shawn Lane

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Main Characters: Dave Johnson & Kyle

After closing his bar one night, Dave Johnson rescues Kyle, who is on the run after witnessing the murder of a federal agent in San Francisco. Dave knows Kyle is trouble but can't help falling in love; Kyle loses his heart but fears he's bringing danger to Dave's doorstep. When Kyle's pursuers close in, the two men are at an impasse. They can either separate and live in safety and loneliness, or find a way to stay alive and together.



When Shawn Lane introduced the new name of her latest release – I thought, what is she up to now?  From past experience anything this woman produces it is a winner with me and Dave and Kyle from BEYOND THE NORM, especially Kyle is now on my list of favourite protags.

The story begins with Dave meeting Kyle under the worst of situations but the man that he is man’s up and help as best as he can and ends up taking Kyle home. Dave is the owner of his own business and has life experience on his side to know that something is not right with Kyle and the situation that he is in, but along with that insight he also knows when to give the young man his space and wait for him to tell him in his own time what his nipping on his heel and how close that danger is.

Kyle is unlike anyone Dave has ever meet, Goth in every way shape and form and with the attitude to match he gives Dave as much grief as much as he put the cute little smirks on his face. Kyle is caught up in a web of secrets and lies and he is holding onto his secret until he figures out his next move. Dave however provides something that Kyle has never known and he is not willing to give up on that yet to move on – even if he has to spill the secret that he has kept for so long ..



From the beginning of this book, Ms Lane drags me in as a reader and right from the first scene I knew these are characters that I was going to love.

Straight off I loved the contrast between the main protags

  • Older – Younger
  • Clean Cut – Goth and proud of it
  • Plain Speaking – A bit on the secretive side
  • Squeaky clean – A bit of a slob
  • Tactful – Attitude to the end
  • Trusting – Not altogether mistrustful but knows when and how to look over his shoulder

I like the human touch that she brings out in this book, whilst the scenario might not be your everyday activity the people and their individual nuances are totally spot on.

I like the simplicity of her plot, no drama, no over the top performance – the book is geared for enjoyment and I really could not find anything to moan about.

Ms. Lane uses her descriptor very well and I really got to know the cast pretty well because of that. Dave is a hard working decent guy that has a moral code that just refuse to die. Knowing when to shut up and listen to what he is was not hearing, he makes an impression on everyone who meets him and I include myself in that as well.

Kyle is beautifully written, if he was not so argumentative, have an attitude a mile high – he would be just precocious, except he had all those things and an uncanny instinct to survive and that makes him the prefect half for Dave.

Not only has Ms. Lane mastered the art of building up a story line, she knows how to finish and answer all the little questions that are sitting at the back of my mind.  As short as this book was I was not disappointed with the ending – it wasn’t rushed nor was I let down in any of my expectation of where these two would end up.

The minimalistic feel of the book works in BEYOND THE NORM , with a handful of support cast and a whole lot of hindsight even the character development was geared toward a more rounded feel of the plot and making sure I had the chance to love or hate the cast presented.

Bottom line.

BEYOND THE NORM not only  hits the spot, but with surprising twist and turns that proves that Ms. Lane not only takes time to flesh out her cast but she love these people enough to present them  in a scenario that shows them up best to a wider audience. I for one am very pleased to have met them and I fell hook line and sinker for Kyle and Dave.

Ms. Lane made a statement that ‘She is unable to write a long book” and I can see why, she’s forsaken quantity for quality and BEYOND THE NORM is one of her best work to date.



There was smut and there was physical and emotional attraction, it took me a while to realise that as much as I enjoyed the time Kyle and Dave took with each other, the story was bigger than that. The trust, patience, acceptance and second chance on both side made the story more than just two guys getting their groove on.



Nope – simply, short and to the point with characters that hold their own. For me this was a wonderful read.



When I  saw the cover originally I thought, how dark and how odd but over time I guess the cover grew on me and after actually reading the book, I find the cover absolutely perfect for the story. Dave is actually the angel of the story and the reverse is reflected on the cover while Kyle comes with baggage, mood swings, bad habits and is no where near the angel that he appears to be, but he is the light of that relationship and his reflected as such on the cover. I love the contrast both literally and figuratively that the artist conveyed and I say this is an absolutely perfect cover for one of Shawn Lane’s best work.…



6 Speak To Me:

Shawn Lane on 14 September 2009 at 22:28 said...

Thank you most kindly, :)
Glad you enjoyed it.

Lily on 15 September 2009 at 03:33 said...

Fabulous review, EH :)
I've heard great things about this story and I can't wait to get to it on my never ending TBR.

Sassy Brit @ on 15 September 2009 at 07:21 said...

Oh, I love the look of this! The cover is great and sounds like a brilliant read, too. From your description, she (unusual name for a female) appears to have written some great characters! I'm very pleased to have found this. :)

Erotic Horizon on 15 September 2009 at 11:57 said...

@ Shawn...

You are most welcome - Once again you have given your readers a fantastic set of cast to fall in love with...


Erotic Horizon on 15 September 2009 at 11:59 said...

@ Lily...

I know about these list they are gettingo ut of hand..

But what can you do when a fantastic author just jumps out at you...


Erotic Horizon on 15 September 2009 at 12:01 said...


This a good one - and other author to add to your list....

I think I probably have gotten use to her name - we don't have alot of girls name Shawn over here...

This is a good book - give it a try..