Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: Rhino Ash
SERIES: Saturday Barbies #2
AUTHOR: Lindsey Black
PUBLISHER Netherwood Press
LENGTH: 278 Pages
RELEASE DATE: October 23, 2017
Ashley Jameson always tries to do the right thing, but that’s hard when your nephew keeps eating crayons, your niece is dressed as a pudding and your obnoxious older brothers crash the church’s Sunday brunch with the guy you’ve been crushing on for five years. Going to work to fight fires is a welcome relief from family obligations, until the Riot Squad arrives to investigate and Ashley once again finds himself dealing with his siblings. Oh … and Finn Hale.
But Finn’s dark past continues to haunt him. As work gets increasingly busy with a string of arson attacks on illegal immigrants, Finn steps in to be the shoulder Ashley needs to lean on, but Ashley struggles to do the same for the man he loves. Juggling family and work can be difficult, but Ashley soon discovers that the real challenge is when it’s not a struggle at all … because you’ll do anything for the ones you love.
This author is clearly nuts. I have no idea how she comes up with the shenanigans that play out in this book. But thank god for her, because she’s my kind of nuts. I enjoyed the previous book in this series, Fishy Riot, but this book took the series to a whole new level. Rhino Ash was obviously written just for me, because I couldn’t have possibly enjoyed it more.
Once again the author drags us into the lives of the Jameson family, and this time it’s Ash’s turn to find the love of his life. Only Ash already knows who that is. He’s known Finn Hale for years, he’s a friend and fellow riot squad officer of Ash’s brothers, Clay and Taylor. Ash is bisexual, though he’s never bothered telling his family because the only man that he’s ever been attracted to is Finn. And as far as Ash is aware, Finn thinks of Ash as the kid brother of his friends. If Finn even thinks of him at all.
As with the previous book of the series, getting our two leading men together was the easy part. Dealing with their personal demons, the criminal activity plaguing the city, and of course Ash’s hilarious-as-all-fuck family, well, all of that is much harder.
I love the thought that the author seems to put into her plots. They’re not only interesting but topical and always include a subtle (or not so subtle) jab at Australian politics. To that end, the books are very “Aussie” and I think readers from other countries may miss some references, but not to the detriment of the overall story. In Rhino Ash the focus of the plot is the exploitation of illegal immigrants, and I think the author did a brilliant job of adding some honestly painful and emotional scenes into a story that is skewed more towards hilarity that sobriety. Finn’s backstory is another great example of this author’s skill at spinning a tale. It should have been over the top and ridiculous, but the author somehow made the shit storm of his past credible and fascinating.
I mentioned Ash’s family? Really, the Jamesons are the stars of this series. I NEED to get an invitation to one of their Saturday barbecues, though I’m not sure that any outsider would survive it. If you love a story with an overly large, meddling, opinionated, overachieving family, then you simply MUST pick up this series. I can’t recommend this book enough, but I suggest you read Fishy Riot first, only because the family is introduced more gently in the first book.
I’m so excited that the author chose to turn these into a series, and I have my fingers crossed that Ben might be going to get his own story, but really, I don’t care who’s next, I know I’m going to snatch up a copy!