A handsome naked man. Unconscious on a bathroom floor.
He’s lost his memory, and someone’s out to kill him.
Who is the mysterious Luke?
British TV anchor and journalist Rupert Pendley-Evans doesn’t do long-term relationships. Nor does he do waifs and strays. But Luke is different. Luke is a talented American artist with a dark secret in his life.
When Rupert discovers Luke, he’s intrigued, and before he can stop himself, he’s in love. The aristocratic Rupert is an ambitious TV reporter with a nose for a story and a talent for uncovering the truth. As he falls deeper in love with Luke, he discovers the reason for Luke’s amnesia. And the explanation puts them both in mortal danger.
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine
For the Love of Luke
POV: 3rd person, multi-POV
Would I read it again?: Yes!
Genre: MM, Mystery, Suspense, Romance
Content Warning: homophobia, conversion therapy, torture, mental health, suicide, mention of MS
I happily admit that I asked to read/review this book based on the fact that it was written by David C. Dawson. Full stop. I'd read/reviewed The Delingpole Mysteries earlier this year and loved them, so it was no question that I'd enjoy this one too.
Right from the start, I got the feel of a long, slow suspense. It had that James Patterson “Murder Games” vibe, with a distinctive British flavour, and the promise of so much more to come. We jumped straight into the action, with Rupert returning home after a long day to find that his apartment had been flooded by the upstairs apartment. Going to investigate, he finds his new neighbour, hunky Luke, lying on the bathroom floor unconscious and naked. After seeing that he's taken care of, the pair allow their immediate attraction to draw them closer, with Luke offering Rupert his spare room, since his apartment's only bedroom was ruined by the flood.
Thus begins a steamy and intense romance between Rupert and Luke. At first, I wasn't sure how advisable it was. I wasn't sure if Luke had been attacked, if he'd genuinely slipped and fallen, or if the amnesia he confessed to would reveal a dark secret. Six months ago represented the beginning of the only life Luke could remember, leaving more than twenty years unaccounted for. That is a lot of potential history to uncover, with no knowledge of whether he had a boyfriend waiting for him, looking for him, or if he was straight/bi/demi and his attraction to Rupert was his first attraction to another man. At least, that was a possibility until things heated up in the bedroom and Luke seemed to be more than adept at proving otherwise.
I'll admit that the previous books I'd read by this author were full to the brim with fast-action and life-or-death scenes that I assumed this book would be the same. It's not and that's not a bad thing. For less than 200 pages, it gives a really amazing quality of storytelling, characterisation and plotting. The romance is, primarily, the dominating plot point, which makes sense since it's through their relationship that Rupert helps Luke rediscover his past. Without that bond, that building of trust, Luke would never have been able to untangle the shadows clouding his past, so the 70/30 split between romance and suspense, leaning in romance's favour, was logical. It did make the story drag a little, before the 30% mark when things kicked off for real, but during that time we got to know Rupert and Luke a little better, so it wasn't too bad. I loved the organic way that Rupert explored his past through their dinner date conversation, then the drop-the-bomb reveal of Luke's amnesia. A typical reporter, Rupert was suspicious and wanted to dig deeper.
When it came to secondary characters, I liked the snarky coroner, the bitchy boss, and the intrigue of Ty, the NCA best friend and his husband. I got a bit frustrated with fag-hag Sandra, who wasn't my cup of tea at all, but that's mostly down to personal taste.
Quite honestly, I'm in editing mode at the moment and, for an ARC, I was expecting at least half a dozen niggles to pop up. It happens to everyone in the ARC before the final pre-publication edits. I noticed two things. Two full stops missing in one paragraph. That was it. In the entire book. I can only applaud the author and whatever editor(s) worked on this book, because that is seriously immaculate condition for an ARC.
Overall, I enjoyed the slow building suspense, the trickle of revealed secrets and the hints that this was one big story waiting to be exposed. I liked the main characters, loved the chemistry between Rupert and Luke, and how Rupert's family situation developed, that Luke had finally found someone to trust and confide in. It was a great story, with great characters, and an intriguing plot. I'd read more, if there were further books with these characters.
Last, but not least, I absolutely love the impact of the cover/title and how it makes more sense, becomes sweeter and more perfect, once I'd finished the book. Both are a perfect representation of what this story is about, and the love that you'll find within the pages.
“However equal the law now makes us, the reality is, outside the metropolitan areas, they still don't give a damn.”