Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: A Fugitive in Grass Valley
AUTHOR: I.M. Flippy
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 196 Pages
RELEASE DATE: June 24, 2017
A former Marine turned mercenary, Ernie has a trail of tragedies behind him that he’s barely begun to deal with, and that’s not to mention the little matter of some corporate espionage in the name of blowing the top off a major international scandal going all the way up to the Pentagon. The last thing Ernie wants to do is involve a sweet guy like Lev in his disaster of a life.
Lev is happy enough in Grass Valley, living with his best friend and her husband, working as a barista, and teaching art classes part-time. It’s been four years since a bout with cancer led to an ugly break-up that shook his confidence, but he’s getting by now if feeling a little stuck. Enter Ernie, the gorgeous stranger who arrives in town with a shadowy past and a boatload of issues. Everything in Lev’s head says that Ernie is a bad idea, but everything in his heart wants to reach out to this mysterious man in black with intensity in his eyes.
I bought this book on Amazon for $1. I’d never heard of the author before, so I was a bit wary (I haven’t had the best luck with new authors lately), but hey, $1. I figured it was worth the risk. So now here I am writing a review for Love Bytes, because I loved it so darned much that I figure I owed the author more than a measly dollar. Hopefully I can convinced a few other readers to go and check this book out – can’t guarantee that it will still be the same price, it may have just been a promotion. But seriously, I think it’s worth more than that anyway.
Ex-marine John (aka Ernie) spends much of his days in a daze, losing himself in painful memories that he has yet to deal with and agonizing over what to do with his most important possession, a flash drive that he carries securely in his pocket at all times. From the moment he meets Lev, the young man drags him out of his troubled thoughts and John starts to come back to life. John has no idea what sort of trouble the information held on the flash drive might bring down upon him. But he has no idea how he could possibly cut the floppy haired artist from his life.
Plot wise, I really enjoyed what the author did with this. We are fed small bits of information at a time, and I spent much of the story anxious to find out exactly what the information was that John was carrying around on that flash drive. Some readers might find it a little unsatisfactory that there is an unexploited potential for some action (John is taking on a company of mercenaries and some top government officials). But although I was expecting a little violence I wasn’t disappointed with how the author instead let the story play out. Just because John was ex-military and ex-mercenary it wasn’t the sort of story that required blazing guns and action heroes.
So, while I enjoyed the plot, what made this book a winner in my eyes was the banter between John and Lev. Actually, most of the characters got in a few fist-bump worthy quips, but it was our two MCs who stole the show with their personalities. The author nailed the balance between the flashes of angst (there were but a few) and the delivery of her characters’ very relatable humor. It was never too much, but even after the sadder moments inevitably left me smiling, because Lev and John would start insulting each other to lighten the mood.
I am absolutely telling people that they should get acquainted with this author’s work. As far as I’m aware, this is her first published book, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more.