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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-01-06 01:08
This should have been one of my favorites...
First You Fall - Scott Sherman

Well, CRAP...

 

 

Bear with me. Let me tell you, why this book should have been a solid 4 or 5 star read for me.

 

1. I love mysteries. I love the mysteries with a romance sub-plot. I like romance with a suspense sub-plot. I like the investigation, I like whodunnit, I like thrillers, I like cops, I like amateurs, I like PIs. Just put me in the suspense/crime section and leave me there for the rest of my life. I'll die a happy little camper. And this book fell smack in the middle of it all. Amateur rent-boy with a broken heart tries to solve the murder of an old friend, who officially commited suicide. It was amusing and interesting to see his murder candidates fall one by one, but all come back together in the end.

 

2. Love me some amateur sleuthing. There is a special kind of writing required to pull the sleuthing off in the first place, and I'm a sucker for it. Make it at least a tiny little bit believable, and I'll gobble it up. Extra cookies if I can imagine parts of the story happening like it, but that's really just a bonus. If you're going for that kind of trope, you're not interested in the accurancy or realism of the facts. If you do, you'll be very disappointed every time. And let me tell you, this story will never get an award for it's probability. But like I said, you don't pick up the story of a rent-boy playing detective when you're hung up on realism. You just don't.

 

3. Throw in a little steam, a little romantic entanglement and feelings, and I won't put this down until I'm done. Again, this story didn't disappoint. The romance is not on the fore-front, but when it's on page, it's nicely done and pulled me in. Except for maybe the second "triangle" between the parents and the neighbor. But I'll come back to that. But the "main" romance between out amateur/rentboy and closeted detective was good.

 

 

And now let me tell you why in the end, I started to despise the book.

 

 

1. Some of it got to the point of being more cartoonish than actually readable. The mother. The MOTHER! Oh my lord, what was that even? The whole storyline with the parents made me shake my head and irritated the crap out of me.

 

2. The end. MILD SPOILER ALERT! I have no problem with far-fetched solutions to far-fetched crimes during amateur investigations. Again, it's not about realism so much. And while I could get behind it in a weird and twisted way, it was still all kinds of crazy. Maybe a little too off the rocker for me.

 

 

3. The fat shaming. I read an interesting article about the likability of characters in correlation to the likablility of books. The truth is, I don't have to like a character to enjoy a book. And the MC also doesn't have to be politically correct all the time in order for me to enjoy him and his actions in a book. But. It has to be done in a certain way. That was not the case here. The first time, a hateful comment on the weight of a side character came up, I didn't think much about it. It was mean, yes. But it was also about the alleged affair of the Mcs father, made by the "scorned" woman. So I thought "What the hell." and moved on.

 

But it happened again. And again. And again. In a miserable, hateful way, completely out of context and for no acceptable reason whatsoever. And to be honest, in the end it just felt very cheap. It wasn't funny, it wasn't put into perspective, it was just plain bad taste. And soooo cheap. I couldn't get over the cheapness of it all! If you want to slam overweight people because of their weight, educate yourself first. Think first! Write and judge later - or not at all - especially not if it's only done for cheap laughs or out of ignorance! Every main character was slim, gorgeous and attractive, which is something I'm used to in this genre, or in books in general really. Doesn't mean you have to hate everyone who isn't, does it? That is NOT the core of this genre, and I refuse to leave it uncommented, because yes, it was that bad; and it was wrong, plain and simple.


So all in all, this should have been a 4 star read easily, maybe even more. But it wasn't. I'll give it two, because the core of the story was good, and I enjoyed it. The rest of it? Not so much. In the end, everyone has to decide if he is bothered by this kind of thing. I was pissed off royally after finishing. 

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review 2014-04-16 16:24
First You Fall by Scott Sherman
First You Fall: A Kevin Connor Mystery - Scott Sherman

I got bogged down in this book for a while, but picked it back up and finished it yesterday. 

 

What I liked:

 

- It was a fun mystery, and suitably scary (though the final upshot went off the rails a bit)

- Kevin's TSTL moments made sense because he had a good reason not to call the cops

- Some great characters - I especially loved Marc, the geeky friend who never leaves his house (he even orders in sex)

- Michael was scary as hell

 

What I wasn't crazy about:

 

- As I said, it bogged down in the middle for me.  Every time Kevin's mom showed up the story came to a screeching halt for me.  I didn't care about her and didn't want to spend time with her.  And the Dottie thing wasn't funny for me - just icky.

- the love interest was bland and boring - Kevin had a lot of intriguing and fun possibilities and he picked the least interesting among them.

 

Upshot:

 

I was able to borrow this book from Amazon Prime.  I liked it enough to look for the second one, but it is $9.99.  Way too much.  So I guess I liked this book about $3.99 worth?

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text 2014-03-06 21:29
First You Fall by Scott Sherman
First You Fall: A Kevin Connor Mystery - Scott Sherman

Progress = 14 pages out of 253

 

I was warned about some nasty comments about people who are fat, so I am conscious as I read of references to weight.

 

- The first was where the narrator, Kevin, is talking about how he has to look good for his job as a rent boy, so he works out four times a week and luckily has a fast metabolism, so he can eat what he wants. This seems quite reasonable and not-weird. He's 5'3" and weighs 125 pounds.

 

- The second was quite weird indeed.  Kevin is talking about another rent boy he works with named Randy, and Kevin states that he has a body that could only be shaped by back-breaking workouts, steroids, and the appetite suppressing powers of crystal meth.  (!?!) Yeah, I'm sensing some fat phobia here!

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review 2014-01-20 21:45
First You Fall
First You Fall: A Kevin Connor Mystery - Scott Sherman

This is one of the most frustrating books that I’ve read in a while.

What I liked – I’m a big fan of mystery/romance. I love mixed genres, and First You Fall is a good mystery (and more mystery than romance.) Kevin, our cute young male escort MC finds himself adding “amateur sleuth” to his repertoire of skills (alongside being the receiving end to a gentle, wannabe sadist and delivering comfort for a hot hacker agoraphobe). A friend has fallen to his death, but Kevin is sure it wasn’t suicide, and once he starts digging, he starts finding a mess of connections, ones that gets dirtier and more twisted the further he investigates.

The mystery was good and had a lot of potential paths. I did not guess the truth, which is always a plus. Kevin is an appealing, funny, upbeat and resilient presence, and his escort job is more colorful and humorous than other dreary rent-boy stories. (Kevin’s profession is born more from the easy money and amiable clients than from an abused past or a broken home.)

The side characters are also colorful, amusing, and fun—especially Kevin’s sleuth partner Freddy, a guy who always has his radar up for the next hot man who might be in reach, and Marc, the shy, genius hacker who Kevin visits, but who is so sweet, their “sessions” never feel like part of his escort job.

Sherman is also very adept at characters and their voices, and everyone had their own distinct voice. I was super impressed when he made one character so scarily persuasive, it was like watching one of the scenarios spin out from The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence. (People, if someone won’t take “no” for an answer, at all, it’s a good sign to back away.)

What was harder: Sweet Jeebus, I don’t think I could give a shit less about Kevin’s love interest than what I felt for “his” Tony, a closeted, married cop who had been his first teenage love, but who had left him, only to reenter his life when Kevin’s friend was killed, still carrying his back-and-forth attraction for Kevin. “You’re so cute.” “Oh, but I’m married.” “I’m not gay. You know that, right?” “Oh, but the *things* you do to me, Kevvy...”

The irony is that Sherman is VERY CAPABLE of creating likeable characters. Pretty much every other guy, except the suspects, are all better choices for Kevin’s attentions. (Freddy! Marc! Romeo!) I don’t understand why he centered on drab, colorless Tony, who felt more like a stereotype of the “straight?” cop love interest than anything else. It was like…someone pointed him to Josh Lanyon, and said, “This guy sells books. Look at all those law enforcement MCs! Look at Jake Riordan! People fell in love with him, even though he jerked Adrien around for multiple books!” That or Sherman really wanted to work out his own thing for “straight?” love interests.

Well, I will tell you--Tony is no Jake Riordan. Even in book 1 of Adrien English, where nothing super-sexy progresses between him and Adrien, the back-and-forth that he was struggling with was way more raw and evident. Whereas here, following Kevin’s forlorn love for Tony was so innately unsatisfying. At one point, I left a reading status of “I feel more sympathy for a wet load of laundry that has been left in the washer overnight than I feel for Kevin’s thing for Tony.”

I honestly don’t understand why Sherman picked Tony to be Kevin’s love interest. Was it because Tony might help “straighten” Kevin out from his escort job? Was it to hold on to the theme of “first love”? I don’t know, but I did not give a shit about their relationship, and I mostly felt that Kevin was missing out by holding on to his Tony dream. This pretty much lost the “heart” in the story for me, so only the mystery was left.

I also agree with the points in Emma’s review. There is some anti-fat/women humor in here that was absolutely not necessary for the story’s progression. Making fun of heavy women and how they’re considered unattractive (and here, posited as unfit to be loved at all), It’s what I qualify as “cheap laughs”, like having a visually impaired person walk into a wall. “HA! HA! They walked into the wall ‘cause they can’t SEE!” The humor is very base-level, is not at all clever, and really dragged things down. There’s also the appearance of the villains,

both are [women, and one is the over-used Evil Homophobic Wife, the bane to m/m mysteries.

(spoiler show)



You can say that being from 2008, maybe that cliché villain still felt “fresh”, but I doubt it, and it’s one that doesn’t age well in a growing genre.

So, mad props to Sherman for creating a fun main character in Kevin, excellent side characters, a twisty mystery, and a terrible romantic subplot. On the plus side, I have no desire to read further in Kevin’s journey to redemption/love, which will save me some moolah since both book 2 and book 3 are more than $9 for the ebooks.

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review 2013-06-24 00:00
Third You Die (Kevin Connor Mystery #3) - Scott Sherman I got this from Lendle...But from the reviews here, not excited to read this anymore...
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