Reviewed by Caroline
AUTHOR: Ariel Tachna
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 256 Pages
RELEASE DATE: March 6, 2017
Some things crumble under pressure. Others are tempered by it instead. For three former soldiers, a tragedy might be the catalyst that binds them together—stronger than ever. Richard Horn and Timothy Davenport met in the SEALs twenty years ago and have been lovers ever since. Now running their own paramilitary organization, Strike Force Omega, they work in the shadows to protect their country and its people. When Tim falls for Eric Newton, a deadly sniper and strategist on their team, Richard accepts that Tim’s heart is big enough for two men. He respects, admires, and even desires Eric enough to accept him into their relationship—and their bed—but he’s never been fully a part of what Eric and Tim share. Then Eric is captured by terrorists and Tim is gravely injured in an op gone wrong, bringing Richard’s world crashing down around his ears. Even if he gets his men out alive, Eric must face the aftermath of months of physical and psychological torture—and without Tim to lean on, Eric’s PTSD is tearing him apart. Richard has to figure out the third leg of their triangle fast, or Tim won’t have a life to come back to.
Talking in Code, in theory, introduces us to an established trio. Richard and Timothy, or Dav to his friends, have been together for twenty years but they were joined by Eric four years ago and for all intents and purposes things between the three of them ran well. Only when they are hit from all sides and really have to take stock of their relationship just to survive do they notice the cracks – noticing them is easy but fixing them proves to be much harder. Richard and Dav own a company called Strike Force Omega which runs Black Op’s and takes on the jobs the American Government can’t. With jobs not going as expected, Eric being captured and held prisoner for four months and Dav being seriously injured their lives are turned upside down and suddenly their future together doesn’t look as certain.
This is a bit different from your usual menage as for most of the book it involves only two of the men where any routine or intimacy is concerned. With Dav laid up in hospital it falls to Richard to help Eric establish some normalcy after everything he went through at the hands of his captors. I liked that they had rituals for when one of them needed grounding after any kind of trauma. There was a deep intimacy to their relationship even though it worked more between two than three. The starkness of just how little Richard knows Eric, of how poorly he manages to help him through his initial trauma after being rescued, is a shock and leaves him flailing for answers. Eric desperately needs Dav as he struggles to vocalise what he needs from Richard which leads him spiralling towards a breakdown.
The mystery part of the story was almost irrelevant to me as a reader and also to most of the story. This is about their healing but it’s also a story about three men navigating their roles in an unconventional relationship that has been hidden from their friends and peers. It’s about relearning what they need and what they can offer their partners and remembering that all three of them are necessary to their relationship. I would have liked a bit more story with all three men when Dav was recovering rather than just an epilogue that jumped forward six months and felt a bit rushed.