Duo Review by Kat and Vicki
TITLE: A Solitary Man
AUTHOR: Shira Anthony & Aisling Mancy
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 304 pages
Sparks fly when Chance meets tall, sexy Xav at a Wilmington bar and they have the hottest one-nighter of their lives. But Chance doesn’t do repeats, Xav seems detached, and they go their separate ways without a word. Later, when closeted Assistant District Attorney C. Evan “Chance” Fairchild meets Dare’s Landing’s newest deputy sheriff, Xavier “Xav” Constantine, Evan isn’t only wary. He’s irritated as hell.
Xavier is a former FBI agent turned deputy sheriff who is hot on the trail of a South American child prostitution ring. Evan is fighting to put an end to rampant cocaine trafficking and chafing under the thumb of an election-hungry boss. When someone tries to kill the eleven-year-old witness who holds the key to both their investigations, they’re forced to work together as they put their lives on the line to protect him. As Chance and Xav collide in the heat of a sweltering North Carolina summer, dodging bullets and chasing bad guys isn’t the only action going on.
This is not a typical read for me. I have devoted my life to educating and protecting children. Reading a book with children-in-peril is way out of my norm and I would have not read it if I had not agreed to do this review. However, I am so thankful that I was pushed onward to read and finish this amazing book. Was it comfortable to read…at times, No! Was the back plot of the story, child abduction, cocaine dealing and child sex slave trafficking very dark and hard to stomach, a resounding yes! Did I get so drawn into the story that I literally could not put the book down until I was ready to drop at 5:30 am, Yes!!!
The authors wrote a story that, in the foreword stated: “Author’s note: The drug trafficking, child abuse, and child sex trafficking described in this work of fiction are based on real events.” This was not taken lightly by me and shouldn’t by you either. This book includes some pretty raw, graphic and gritty material. I also agree, it was necessary to make the book authentic and real. But, if I can make it through it, and be thankful that I did read it, I’m hoping that you will too. Will it make you hold on a little tighter to your loved vulnerable ones? I know it has for me. This book showcases some pretty darn amazing people, the law enforcement of our country. I know that the press loves to sensationalize when a police officer goes bad or does something wrong, but they forget to show off our every day heroes that risk their lives to protect the citizens of this country.
The story of Xav and Chance was heartwarming and genuine. Being gay in the south is not an easy road to follow. Being “in the closet” tends to be the safest route, especially if you are in the public eye. Chance’s demons made this case even more real to him. His heart was there to protect the citizens of Dare’s Landing from the evils of the world. Xav moved there to get away from the bureaucracy of the FBI. Following a “hunch” has landed him smack in the center of the case he had worked so hard on. The one that was the final push to get him to leave the Feds. Fate put these two together and twists and turns along their journey held them together, whether either man wanted it or not. I struggle to say that this book has an HEA that is needed in a romance book. The children’s stories make it hard to do so. Yes, there is a HEA, but at what cost is the grit of the book.
The fabulous writing of the team of Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy did a superb job of entwining a tale of mystery, suspense and drama that will not leave you for any time to come. This is not your mama’s cute little, easy to read, romance book. It is a well written, thought-provoking look at the underworld at it’s most depraved and disgusting level. I have no problem recommending this amazing book. A huge 5 hearts for me!
Wow. What a fantastic book. That is an odd thing to say considering the subject matter, but the writing is so good, and the story so intense, I loved it.
Yes, as Kat says, this is a dark story. The plot that gets our two main characters together is the hunt for a bunch of missing boys and the tie in to an increase in drug use in the county. We start with Xav in South America as he is trying to rescue a couple of kidnapped boys. The mission goes bad and the boys don’t make it home. This almost, but not quite breaks Xav. He does decide it’s time for a change, and he happens to notice a job opening in Dare’s Landing North Carolina. One of the boys had a bus ticket from Dare’s Landing in his pocket… seems like this might be what he needs. Small town, a change of pace, and maybe it ties in to his old life in LA. Off he goes. Where he meets and has a hot night, with a man named Chance.
Who turns out to be the Assistant District Attorney for the county he’s now working in. Chance, or Evan as he goes by at work, has some real issues. The title of the book works so well for both of these men. Chance lives a solitary life, surrounded by people. He’s had no one in his life that he can trust for a very long time. In his personal life, and currently in his professional life. The DA he works for is a douche bag. With a capital D. He is all about his own career, and really doesn’t give a shit about the citizens of is county.
So Xav begins to settle in, meeting his co-workers and hunting for the missing boys. Chance gets pulled in to the same hunt, and the two begin to work together. Both are closed off, Chance more so, but Xav has his out set of baggage. They are able to sneak a bit of time together, and a relationship develops. As Kat mentions, it isn’t much of a “romance”. We don’t get hearts and flowers, or declarations of undying love. These are two busy men, they don’t have time for that crap. There is also a lot of trust that needs to build between them.
This is the kind of book I like. Meaty and gritty, with lots of action and suspense. Yes, I like me some fluff too, but I always find myself getting pulled back in to stories like this. No, there is not a lot of romance, but that isn’t needed in this book. This is all about the story. The hunt for missing boys. It’s not petty at all. There is no on page abuse of the boys, we just see the after affects. I want to stress that. There is some violence, shooting and such, and a death or two, but it didn’t freak me out.
I was totally in to the story. The details are amazing. The additional characters are perfect. The southern phrases, the location, the mugginess, it all worked so well. Damn. Just a fantastic book.
I’ve read a bunch of books by Shira Anthony, and I’ve liked them just fine. I tend to like her contemporary books better than her fantasy or paranormal. But she has outdone herself with this one. I have not read any books by Aisling Mancy, if this is how he writes, than I certainly will be.
So I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone. Even though I’m giving it five hearts. It isn’t for everyone. It’s not fluffy, it’s not pretty, it’s not happy, it’s not romantic. If you can handle a gritty, realistic story of two men finding there way together, in a dangerous situation, then you SHOULD read this book. I did see the ending as a HEA. I chose to interpret it that way.
This one will stay with me for a while.