Reviewed by Vicki (Tori)
SERIES: Accidental Roots #1
AUTHOR: Elle Keaton
PUBLISHER: Dirty Dog Press
LENGTH: 308 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 10th, 2017
They say you can’t go home again, Adam Klay doesn’t intend to until the death of his father, a famous artist, forces his return to Skagit, Washington. Cleaning up his father’s chaotic life was never on Adam’s bucket list. Worse, Adam finds himself inexplicably drawn to the elusive, terminally-clumsy, gorgeous, Micah Ryan. No way is he getting involved with someone from his hometown; he’s always insisted the best view of Skagit was in his rearview mirror.
Micah Ryan has been coasting on auto-pilot since his family was killed in a car accident a decade earlier. He runs a web business and has an irritable cat. He hardly leaves his house, unless it is for his afternoon espresso. His world tips upside down when Adam Klay rolls into town. For the first time in years, he feels alive. Unfortunately, Micah’s return to the living has been noticed and is not appreciated.
Someone has a secret. Someone is exploiting the vulnerable youth population in Skagit. Teenagers are disappearing, young women turning up dead, the dirty secrets of Skagit are surfacing.
Adam and Micah are both from the same small town of Skagit Washington. Adam is older, and has left home, Micah hasn’t left yet. Both have issues, Adam was raised by a reclusive older artist father, and Micah has lost all of his family. Both are loners, both are gay. They meet when Adam returns to Skagit after his father has died, as he is dealing with the nasty house his father left behind. Adam is a federal agent, and left in the middle of a case to come to Skagit. He can’t resist a bit of investigating, or at least thinking about the case, and as he is hanging out at the local coffee shop, he begins to notice a shy and bumbling younger man, and eventually begins to speak to him. The two tentatively begin a relationship, but both have such trust issues, it’s a hard thing to work out. They are also tangled up in a mystery. A couple of people are found murdered, and Adam is trying to sort out what is going on, and how Micah has become a target. Adam’s boss eventually gets involved, when it becomes clear this is not just Adam interfering with local police.
I picked this book up for review because I live in the pacific northwest, and I love reading books set here. I’m always impressed when authors get the feel of the area right, and Elle Keaton does get it right! She’s either from here or did some great research. She nailed the physical descriptions, the locations and such, the weather, the drippyness, the beauty when the sun comes out, but also the feeling of the area. The quiet, the peace, the sense of community in the small town, those sorts of details. All of that worked very well for me. I liked Micah and Adam as characters, and I liked the developing relationship between them. They do have issues, both with what is happening to them now, and also their past, but they work through it all.
What I had issues with was the plot. There was a lot going on here, and I had trouble following it and keeping track of all of the side characters. There is the mystery of the dead girl that Adam first starts working. Then there are dead people showing up in Skagit. Micah is being targeted by someone. Adam is dealing with a bunch of people working on his dad’s property. There are some asshole local cops (which I hate to see as I am a cop mom and I don’t like to see them portrayed in such a negative way). All while the two of them are falling in love. I wish something had been cut out, or at least simplified. This book is on the longer side, at over 300 pages, and I would have liked it better if 50 pages had been dropped, and the plot tightened up. That’s not to say that I didn’t like this book, for the most part I did, but it could have been better for me.
The writing was different, I’m not really sure why, I don’t have the words to describe it. It wasn’t bad, but it took me awhile to get a feeling for the flow. It seemed to be well edited, there were no typos or things like that, and the dialogue flowed well. I like to see an emotional connection between the characters, and I did get that in this book. I liked the differences between Micah and Adam, and how well they began to function together. The sex scenes were well done, and just the right amount. The side characters were interesting, but there were a few too many for me to keep track of.
I liked this book mostly, it did meet some of the requirements I look for in a book. Good characters, good connection both emotional and physical, good details, good writing. But I had issues with the plot, and the ending was left open for the next book. So I can’t say it had a happy ending, as the story isn’t done yet. I do have the second book and will pick it up soon, to see where Adam and Micah go from here!