Reviewed by Donna
SERIES: Shelter #1
AUTHOR: Kate Sherwood
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 177 Pages
Noah Reed has his life planned out. There was that one glitch, years ago, but he’s back on track now and determined to reach his goal of becoming a veterinarian and building his own practice.
Shane Black’s hard life has taught him there’s no point in looking forward and even less in looking back. He takes life as it comes, and his only real need is medical care for his young pup, Dodger.
When Shane stumbles into the clinic where Noah volunteers, Noah’s instincts tell him to run away from the dangerous, unpredictable ruffian. But the puppy needs help, and maybe Shane does, too.
The young men soon discover that Dodger was poisoned, and so were several street people Shane knows. As they search for the source of the poison, Noah learns about the dark underside of the city where he’s spent his whole life, and Shane learns that there is light in the world, even when he’s stuck in the shadows.
But when their relationship begins to grow from a partnership to a romance, new challenges appear. Their worlds are so different—can they ever make sense together? Is there any room in Noah’s carefully planned life for someone as unpredictable as Shane?
First things first, I need to confess my love of Kate Sherwood’s mad writing skillz. And that’s skillz with a “z” because it seems much more legit that way. I will instantly buy any m/m book that this author releases, and even though I may not like every story, there is no denying that they are some of the best-written books in the genre.
Shane Black knows not to expect anything good from life. In fact, if anything good ever does happen it pretty much terrifies him, because in his experience the bad always outweighs the good. The only bit of happiness in his life is his puppy, Dodger, so when Dodger seems to be dying, Shane plucks up the courage to seek out a vet who will help. Which is where he meets Noah.
Noah Reed is studying hard, his sights set on becoming a vet. He volunteers at a clinic to gain some experience but it’s not only the animals that he needs to learn about. Although, as the blurb mentions, there was one glitch in his happy life a few years ago, he still tends to move through life wearing rose coloured glasses. Getting to know Shane, and starting a community project through the vet clinic, opens Noah’s eyes to some harsh realities.
So, we should probably have the “sex talk” right about now. Well actually, with this book, it’s a lack of sex talk, and you know what – woofuckinghoo. This story didn’t need sex, it made sense to not include sex, and I hate nothing more than when I read a sex scene that feels out of place, like it was simply added to keep the readers happy. But this author writes with enough confidence that she obviously doesn’t need to cede to that type of pressure and thank god for that.
What I’ve always loved most about this author’s books are the characters that she creates. Junkies, prostitutes, billionaires, priests – she takes any of these people and she makes them real. You hate them or you love them, you cheer for them and you cry for them and somehow, she makes you relate to them. It doesn’t matter that Noah is a sheltered student or that Shane is homeless, you feel like you know what these boys are going through.
The setting of the vet clinic worked perfectly. There was enough information about the goings on around the place to make the clinic more than just incidental, but not so much that you felt you were studying to become a veterinarian yourself. Nothing pulls me out of a story more than when a well researched author feels the need to share all of the information that they’ve learned about a topic. I can assure you that that didn’t happen in this story.
The plot itself was twisty and engrossing. There were several different things going on and the story took an interesting turn when it switched from “damaged teen with a cute puppy” to “murder investigation”. But…I didn’t just spend the last five hundred words flinging praise at Kate Sherwood for nothing. The plot is executed with this author’s typical talent and everything melds together seamlessly.
This won’t be the end of Noah and Shane (ok, I say that as though I know for sure, like the author confided in me or something, and she totally didn’t but it just CAN’T be all there is). The next book in the series has two different main characters but Noah and Shane will be turning up in that book, and I’m guessing that they will eventually have another story of their own. If you’re a fan of Kate Sherwood then you know that she can’t let her characters go that easily, and I for one am never going to complain about that.