REVIEW by Alexander
SERIES: The Protectors, book 1
AUTHOR: Sloane Kennedy
LENGTH: 7 hours, 16 minutes
NARRATOR: Joel Leslie
After four years abroad, artist Jonas Davenport has come home to start building his dream of owning his own art studio and gallery. But just as he’s ready to put the darkness of his past behind him forever, it comes roaring back with a vengeance.
The only thing keeping ex-cop Mace Calhoun from eating his own gun after an unthinkable loss is his role in an underground syndicate that seeks to get justice for the innocent by taking the lives of the guilty. Ending the life of the young artist who committed unspeakable crimes against the most vulnerable of victims should have been the easiest thing in the world. So why can’t he bring himself to pull the trigger?
After years of fighting in an endless, soul-sucking war, Navy SEAL Cole Bridgerton has come home to fight another battle – dealing with the discovery that the younger sister who ran away from home eight years earlier is lost to him forever. He needs answers and the only person who can give them to him is a young man struggling to put his life back together. But he never expected to feel something more for the haunted artist.
Cole and Mace. One lives by the rules, the other makes his own. One seeks justice through the law while the other seeks it with his gun. Two men, one light, one dark, will find themselves and each other when they’re forced to stand side by side to protect Jonas from an unseen evil that will stop at nothing to silence the young artist forever.
But each man’s scars run deep and even the strength of three may not be enough to save them.
I was worried about Absolution at first, the storyline was frustrating at first, and took a bit to smooth out, but when it did, I really started to get into it. I think my issue was that we didn’t find out things until later that would have paved the way earlier, but in the end, it worked (and may have shown my impatience).
Kennedy skillfully developed the main characters, giving each of them a unique personality, strengths, fears, and weaknesses. Of note would be Mace, who let his gut rule his actions more often than not, and Jonas, who underwent such horrors and grew tremendously in the course of the book. The way that the three of them, Jonas, Mace, and Cole, came together and how they navigated the initial stages of their threesome (for lack of a better word) flowed well and felt authentic.
I must admit that the vigilantism sub-plot wasn’t exactly my cup of decaf tea, and caused some of my frustration at the beginning, but as a vehicle for getting the guys together (and setting up the second book, btw) turned out to be the right choice, as was the liberal use of secondary characters who helped to advance the plot.
I have to say that the best voice was that of Jonas, not only did it suit the character, but it was the most natural sounding of the many characters Lesley undertook. I found that there was such life and vibrancy in the narration, such as when a character whispered or raised their voice in anger or surprise, the feeling translated so well from the page to the audio performance due to Lesley’s skill. There were times when Mace and Cole sounded the same, but not enough to detract from the performance, and Lesley’s portrayal of Casey and the kids was well done.
My final thought: worth the listen and I will most likely do a “re-listen” of Absolution in the future.