Title: A Forced Silence
Author: Cate Ashwood
Narrator: Scott R. Smith
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 5 hours and 47 minutes
Category: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: Scott R. Smith does an amazing job with the material he’s been given.
Reviewed By: Mike
Blurb: For paramedic Adam Carson, his world is lights and sirens and saving lives. Pressures at work keep him firmly in the closet, and life is too busy to contend with the complications that come with dating and relationships. When a familiar face from his past turns up where he least expects it, Adam starts to question whether or not there is room in his life for those complications.
The last person forensic pathologist Sam McKenna expects to see at pub night is Adam, the guy who made his life hell in high school. The attraction is instant, but Adam isn’t gay and Sam has no interest in pursuing him. Still, the leftover animosity from their teenage years isn’t enough to extinguish the lust growing between them. After both are called to the scene of a horrific murder, Adam admits he’s not as straight as he led Sam to believe and they seek comfort and distraction in each other’s arms. One night becomes many as the murder investigation intensifies, but when Adam is faced with losing Sam, he is forced to make a choice: to break his silence, or to give up everything for the job he loves.
Review: Sam is a Forensic Pathologist and sort of out. Adam is a paramedic who is firmly in the closet. They knew and hated each other in high school, and meet again by chance in a local bar that caters to the police and medical communities.
Regular readers of M/M fiction and romance will find this story difficult because it relies on tropes and clichés that are best left in the past where they belong. The author clearly did some research to get terms correct, but must have stopped at a very critical phase. The men in this story are believable to a point. There will always be homophobes in the real world. But, in a large city and in a profession that has largely left that homophobia on the trash heap of history, the basic premise of this story is stretched a bit thin. Then by chapter three, the man in the closet and the other, who is always very careful, begin a make out session in the back of a cab, riding through streets close to where they work, that anyone can see into. They take multiple risks while trying to maintain the closet—and they constantly break those rules, but no one ever sees them and they are never caught. This is just a so-so story, but it is saved by a very good narration.
Scott R. Smith does an amazing job with the material he’s been given. It is the one thing that saves this story from being very forgettable. His voice work here is good, the characters have individual voices, and though a few minor characters seem strained, they are easily overlooked. The major action of the story is played over a “mystery” that gets short shrift in the course of the book.
There is also a random act of violence that leads to the outing of the couple, the fallout of which is given precious few words in the book. The “mystery” seems to be a minor bridge between scenes in the story, until the very end where it is used as a cliffhanger indicating there will be a second book. This is something I have come to detest as a reader. There is nothing wrong with book series, but using a book as a marketing tool has had its time and that time is gone. Readers of romance and genre fiction can tell you the names of a dozen series that tell complete stories while giving you a series that you come back to and look forward to.
Again, the story is just OK, the narration is better than this book deserves, so if you’re a fan of Scott R. smith, you may want to pick up this book. Let’s hope, if there is a book two in this series, the author gets over the hump and gives us a much better story next time.
You can buy A Forced Silence here: