Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Wake Up Call
SERIES: Porthkennack #1
AUTHOR: J.L. Merrow
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 320 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 17, 2017
South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour–including a habit of collapsing in the street.
Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy–a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality–the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easygoing acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.
When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional–and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.
Set in the small seaside tourist town of Porthkennack, England, Wake Up Call by J.L. Merrow is the first in a brand new Riptide Publishing shared universe series.
Devan Thompson, Dev to his mates, has spent most of his life in foster-care. And while he is now grown up, working as a mechanic and sharing a rather grungy flat with his mate Mal, he has always wondered about the people who put him up for adoption as a baby. So when he finds out that his mother is a prominent member of the town of Porthkennack, he takes a three-week vacation and heads to the seaside to meet the woman who gave birth to him. That the woman has no clue that he is coming–and the fact he has no idea what to even say to her when he shows up unannounced at her door–is that last thing on his mind. He just wants a chance at finally finding a family.
It is his run-in with the supposed new-to-town drunk on his first day in town that really changes things for him, however. Kyle Anthony–who is not actually a drunk, thank you very much–has moved himself to Porthkennack after being diagnosed with narcolepsy. Fleeing from his job as a criminal lawyer and his failed relationship in London, Kyle has moved into a small rented cottage and plans on doing nothing more with his days than trying not to make too much of an idiot of himself around town. When Dev approaches him after Kyle has an attack in the middle of the sidewalk, Kyle believes Dev to be just another tosser who will crack a few jokes and then leave. He doesn’t expect to find someone who can see past his illness. And he certainly doesn’t expect Dev to stick around. But against all odds, Dev does…
I am a huge fan of what Riptide Publishing has done with their several shared universes. And I was thrilled to find out that this next one was set in England, because that is just right up my alley. Add in the fact that J.L. Merrow is probably sharing a number one spot as my favorite English author, and there was little chance that I wasn’t going to jump all over this book.
This book ended up being everything I wanted it to be as well.
There is no doubt that Merrow can write great characters, but I’ve yet to come across anyone who can bring to life the various regional accents and cultures the way she has been able to in her stories. Dev was another excellent example of this. Not only was the way she wrote him great because it made it really easy to tell which pov that chapter was in, but there is just something about the way she is able to make you buy a character and their backstory with only a few sentences. Like, I’ve never been to England (more’s the pity) but Dev didn’t even have to be on page long before I got him. But it wasn’t like it was just a bunch of stereotypes thrown together…no, he is so much more than that. The way he flows so easily with people, the way he loves hearing stories (whether made up or not) made me love him more with each page.
And the slightly posher Kyle worked just as well, if for different reasons. I pretty sure I’ve never read about a character with narcolepsy before, and after this I can’t wait to find others like it. Not only did it make me really think about how I react to hearing someone has this illness (much to my chagrin, before reading this I have to admit that I was totally the kind of tool who found it amusing), but I never once felt like I was being preached or lectured at. I came away from this book determined to do better. And that? That is fucking awesome when a book can make me do that.
I really cannot recommend this book enough. It was so well written and it had an unique and entirely entertaining cast of characters. It was also a great story to set up this world. I can’t wait to see what the other books have to offer about Porthkennack. And since I have requested the next three in the series, you’ll just have to come back in a few months to see for yourself.