“Do not think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you.” – Horace Mann
Author: Anna Martin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Blurb: When paleontologist Nick Eisenberg learns that someone thinks they have found velociraptor bones in Alberta, his curiosity overrides his desire to stay in London. After all, he’s one of the world’s leading experts on prehistoric predators and has always wanted to look for the velociraptor’s North American cousins. There’s only one problem: eco-conservationist Hunter Joseph. While Nick supervises the dig, Hunter rallies support from the locals to oppose the way the team is destroying the landscape in their search for dinosaur bones.
Nick and Hunter just cannot get along. Hunter is self-righteous and pouty. Nick is narrow-minded and geeky. But they have to figure out how to work on the same site without killing each other, especially since someone else out there seems determined to cause Nick more problems than he could have ever imagined.
Review: Imagine, if you will, the summer of 1993, when an 8 year old BJ first discovered Michael Crichton’s epic dino-drama, Jurassic Park, which flew into the box office as a movie that would lead to a hefty stint of childhood fascination. In khaki shorts and a button-down, with a neckerchief poking out the collar, with thick walking socks and hiking boots, I was decked out for the longest time as the perfect little boy version of Laura Dern, and this love of everything prehistoric never left. So you can imagine I nearly wet myself when I saw some genius male/male author had written a book about love in the trenches of an excavation dig. Here, my white-haired childhood self sprouted a nerd-boner that didn’t fade until the final gripping page.
Nick Eisenberg was one of the strongest and most relatable protagonists I have read in quite some time. He was driven, motivated, comfortable in his own skin, a little damaged but not beyond redemption. In other words, I believed everything the author had him think or feel as if it were truth, and that is not an easy feat (so sue me, I’m a skeptic). Martin supplemented the cool palaeontologist with a cast of supporting characters who drove this story into the depths of my imagination with a creative flourish that made me feel like I was there. Boner was exceptional, confusing and loveable; a bisexual man with a heart of gold and a mind so open you could paddle in it. And a big dick, let’s not forget that. I was glad for the chaste relationship between Boner and Nick, former fuck-buddies and best friends. I was glad the romance was saved for the main event.
There is nothing I love more than a good love-to-hate character pairing, and Nick and Hunter were all I could have wished for. Starting with punching each other’s faces and then segueing seamlessly into a hot and heavy romance, it left me warm-hearted, sated and a little hot under the collar. The sex was intense, the dating was charming and the connection gave me the coveted HEA that all male/male authors aspire to deliver. Hunter was breathtaking; a solid muscular man who sought out his mate and claimed him. Gotta love the alpha-male character, right? His turnaround from nemesis to one true love was a treat to read, and I was rooting for the boys the whole way through.
The antagonist, though for the most part incapacitated, was also a character I loved. Loved to hate is more accurate. It wasn’t until the final pages that we found out who was behind the mystery of the sabotage attempts and that, in itself, showed the incredible skill and range of the author. Couple that with some excellent dinosaur trivia, and what we had here was a full on winner of a book. Read it. You won’t be sorry.
There was one thing that irked me however, and it was a small thing. It was a simple throwaway conversation between Nick and Hunter about fisting. It was not only irrelevant, but it came from left field, was in lieu of nothing and served no purpose to the story at all, being forgotten minutes later and never mentioned again. It seems this kind of hyper sexualisation bleeds into m/m romance books frequently as cheap titillation and actually should never have made it past edits. But that was a mere few paragraphs in the centre of a great book. I found myself thinking that either Nick needed to be worn as a hand puppet, or that section needed cutting, simple. Perhaps this got missed in editing after the removal of a scene where it bore relevance. I shall never know. Let’s not hold that against Martin or her editors. The rest of the story was stellar.
I loved this book, connecting with it instantly and enjoyed the ride the whole way through. The characters were loveable and charming, the story impeccable and the outcome was glorious. I need say nothing more except to recommend this novel to all readers of good fiction and dinosaur geeks alike.
4.5 stars for Anna Martin and her big, nerdy Jurassic Heart.