'A Dangerous Game' is a re-release of the book 'Rent' by Rick R. Reed and having never read this story under it's original title I can truthfully say I have no idea if there are any other changes.
I don't remember the last time that I read a book with an MC that I just didn't warm up to at all. I tried but nope, at the end of the day Wren was just not my cuppa'. Which made for one big, unfixable disconnect when it came to this story.
I liked the premise of the story a lot! it held a strong appeal for me. It was the reason that I wanted to read this one, well that and I've read 3 other books by this author and enjoyed them all. I read his book Orientation years ago and while I gave it 3 stars the same as this one, I'd honestly have to say that I liked it better and the other 2 books that I've read were definitely 4 star reads for me. Sadly my feelings about this story became very jaded by my feelings about Wren so while the story should have been at least a 4 star read for me. Wren at best got 2.5 stars and because of how central he is to this book the best I could bring myself to do was bump it up to 3 stars.
No matter how much I love a story in order for me to really enjoy it, I need to love at least one or two of the characters and that just wasn't happening this time around. Not only did I not like Wren but at best Rufus,, our other MC, was only ever ok and in spite of the fact that I will Wren's mother credit. While she may not have been the perfect mother, she seemed to try really hard to do the best she could for Wren and she definitely loved him. However, her actions at times also told me where Wren probably got his occasionally poor judgement skills from.
Sadly I knew as early as 23% when I posted a status update that indicated that I really needed Wren to stop whining...that this wasn't going to go as well for me as I had anticipated. I'm not sure that other readers of this book would agree with me that Wren was whiny, but that's ok, my review my opinion and to me Wren was whiny and a little bit self involved.
However, in fairness to Wren, I will also say he was not having a good life. Things started with Wren losing his job, then he stops off at a bar for a drink and loses his wallet and gets offered a job working for an escort company by a guy that even Wren is smart enough to spot as being a bit sleazy. Sadly Wren's day does not get better. In retrospect Wren's life seems to be one big crap dump on the poor guy. Which is why I was honestly a little confused by how I felt about him. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate him as in die in a fire or anything heinously bad. I just didn't care. For whatever reason Wren was just not able to find my heartstrings to tug on them and dammit, I'm a mother as a rule it takes very little effort to make me want to pull out the milk and cookies and I know this author is capable of tugging my heartstrings because he's reduced me to tears on more than one occasion in previous books. Sadly Wren's behavior in more than one instance crossed lines for me that only helped to reinforce my lack of caring for his plight.
Going onto Rufus's laptop and reading the folders and things he had written...nope, just not ok, no matter how he tried to justify it and then not telling him again...no, a lie, is a lie, is a lie. I don't care if it's spoken or an error of omission. Plus once he left the condo the constant attempts to get in touch with Rufus even after he repeatedly ignored them...can we say 'stalker'?
Ok, enough about Wren because now I'm starting to feel whiny. What I liked about this book, as I said before, basically was the story concept. A good looking down on his luck young man falls on hard times and ends up having to consider options for earning a livelihood that he had probably never really considered. He makes what he sees as his only viable choice but when things start to change and Wren realizes that there were things about being a male escort that he hadn't realized Wren does a reality check and recognizes that while the other options maybe weren't as glamorous as the life of a male escort the price he was going to pay for that so called glamour was pretty steep and he walked away.
The last half of this book was definitely the best part of the story for me. I started to see change and growth in Wren as he took control of his life and started to find his way to being truly self sufficient. Unfortunately for me too little too late.
Ironically while I wasn't sure that I totally bought the resolution around the mystery part of the story the ending that Wren and Rufus were given, which to me was an HFN with a strong promise of a future together was good, it was believable and for me it worked much better than it would have if we'd been given a wrapped in a red bow 'and they all lived happily ever after ending'.
So at the end of it all not the best book I've ever read and a far cry from the worst and definitely not the last one I'll read by this author. Would I recommend it...possibly, but I'd probably recommend 'The Ghost In Number 9' or 'A Journey of the Heart' first. Those were 4 star reads for me and the reason that I plan on checking out more by this author.
***A copy of this book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***