Title: Arctic Absolution
Author: Lynn Kelling
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 240 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: In the frozen expanses of remote Alaska, Dixon Rowe is a good man and a good cop who keeps finding himself in bed with the enemy. After he picks up a young ex-con named Jaye Larson for stealing food, Dixon gets seduced by the possibility of helping someone truly in need. Though he tells himself he’s assisting young Jaye out of the goodness of his heart, not because of how sexy Jaye is under all of the tattoos and defiance, the temptations of sin entangle them as their hostile environment threatens. Both of their pasts are filled with malicious ghosts that haunt every step, and while Jaye’s demons are less tangible that Dixon’s, they are all powerful enough to put both of their lives in danger.
Review: As I sit down to write this review several days after I finished reading this book, I’m hoping I can do it justice. People who know me know I love damaged characters, and want them to have a HEA. I love going along with them on their journey to recovery, to finding happiness after all the ugliness they’ve endured. It gives me a sense of hope that people, whether they are fictional characters or real, can come back to life and find love, peace and contentment.
Jaye is twenty-one, recently released from prison, where he’s spent the last two years. Things this young man had to endure during his incarceration are hard to digest, but he’s a survivor in more ways than one. Living in a cabin he inherited, he’s all alone with no job, no money and no friends.
Dixon is thirty-two, a town local who also happens to be a police officer. He’s got his own demons he’s dealing with. He’s been in an abusive relationship for years with his ex boyfriend Marcus. Marcus, a fisherman who is out of town, doesn’t know he’s an “ex” and isn’t going to be pleased to hear this. So, on the outside Dixon’s got it all together, but mentally, he’s a mess. Jaye and Dixon meet under undesirable circumstances, and from there it begins. The one who wants to save the other is actually the one in need of saving.
I loved how the author approached this story. We have two men, one who appears weak and helpless, and another who, while on the outside is strong and robust, is actually the weaker of the two. Seeing them help and understand one another was at times very sweet. And even though the nightmares, past and present, continued, they weren’t as scary anymore, they had each other now. Watching Dixon and Jaye discover each other was beautiful, but the darkness was always there and lying in wait to rear its ugly face.
At first I was a little put off by the age difference, but as I kept reading I was thinking, these two need each other. No matter their ages, they are so right together. It worked for them. After awhile I never thought about the age thing again, it just didn’t matter anymore.
Getting both POV’s was really important for this one. I’m so happy the author thought so too. I got a clearer picture of what each character was thinking, and why they were behaving the way they were at certain moments in the story. We got to know their personalities and why they did what they did. While they aren’t in a rush to share every detail of their past, eventually they do begin to trust enough to share some tidbits. The majority of their past is told to us through flashbacks. There was no long drawn out explanations of the why, what and where. We, as readers, already knew. It made the pacing all that much better, and the story could keep moving forward.
The story is set in Alaska. I believe the author did this for a reason. It definitely set the tone of the story. Even though it’s not described word for word, I got the gist of the cold, frigid, bleakness and isolation of the landscape. These were the characters. The setting was very befitting of the storyline.
I can’t leave out the secondary characters; they were great. Dixon’s sister and brother-in-law were amazing. Loved them. Dixon’s ex, Marcus, was a real piece of work, and I hated him from the first introduction. Cash, although not on page and just in Jaye’s memory, I didn’t know whether to stab him or hug him. I still haven’t made my mind up. Love them or hate them, these secondary characters shaped Dixon and Jaye into the men they are today, and without them they would never have met.
Overall, I absolutely, without a doubt loved this book.
A warning to those who are sensitive to non-con stories, it’s in the flashbacks. Hard to read but essential to the story.
You can buy Arctic Absolution here: