Title: Computer Lover (Men in Love and at War: Book Four)
Author: LJ Collins
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Length: 185 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Erotica
At a Glance: Though some may find this story entertaining, I’ll be honest and say I don’t think the author’s writing style and my preferences really sync up.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: After the distress of dealing with a failed relationship and business, life starts to look up for Berkeley when he finds new work and discovers the joys of gay chat sites. When he meets a captain from the US Army, based in Iraq, his hopes of love and a bright future rise. After several months, the captain asks Berkeley to do him a special favour, so he can retire from the army and spend the rest of his days with him. Berkeley reluctantly agrees, but when the favour results in him having to part with his hard-earned cash, he is left with no other choice, but to go to the police. Captain Frances comes to his rescue and what starts out as a professional relationship quickly turns into a lot more as they uncover a major internet scam and strive for justice to be served.
Review: When I first requested this book, I didn’t know, since it wasn’t part of the submission information or the blurb, that it is part of a series. That was my bad and I try to not jump into books this late in the game. Sometimes, even without the previous books, I can still feel connected to the characters and get an overall feeling for the story. Though it is possible I am missing some plot points, and I’ll even go as far as to say I may have been a little less confused about the random information dumps that came out of the blue—and only half formed—I still don’t believe this author’s style of writing is for me. There is obviously an audience who appreciates this author’s particular flair, and I even know of a few people I would probably give this book as a recommendation. But, me personally? I don’t think I am one of them. Even if I had read the previous books, I still don’t think I would have connected a whole lot more than I did. I tried. I really, really tried, though.
The premise had a solid foundation and the blurb had me completely interested. Unfortunately, expectation and execution did not hit the mark. I never really got to know Berkeley, or, for that matter, any of the characters beyond surface dialogue. Admittedly, had I read the prior installments in the series I may not have felt as disconnected with the characters as I did. Even so, the potential was there; for me it was more the writing than anything else. I noticed immediately the writing style, vocabulary used and the narration wasn’t working for me. I got more of a “tell-not-show” vibe from the get go, and my guess is the prior books probably have been written in a similar style. The exchanges, both e-mail and dialogue, dripped with sugary sweetness and seemed to wax poetic on everything and from every character. It made interactions feel stilted and unrealistic, especially for the age group and era, in my opinion. The vocabulary choices often reminded me of being more suitable to a “Swashbuckling Pirate of the High Seas meets Damsel in Distress” themed book. I am not knocking those books, because I have been known to read a few of those myself when the mood strikes, but in my opinion, in this story it seemed out of place and therefore made the story less realistic.
Berkeley gets ensnared by someone offering him a chance to realize his own desires for a lasting relationship. I really liked this premise because I can totally see how easy it would be for someone who is lonely and looking for that HEA to jump at the chance of someone offering everything they could want for the taking. Most of what I do know about Berkeley came from those messages. James says all the perfect things and seems to be everything Berkeley could have wanted. The time in between the e-mails, of Berkeley’s everyday life, felt so rushed, though. I wanted to just slow it down and get to know more about him, his job, his friends, his sister. But I felt that instead of getting to know them and their relationships, I was being told about them. Then things start to get weird and James’s behavior gives Berkeley a gut feeling something isn’t right. Berkeley pieces together information about the scam and, in turn, is threatened.
Captain Rick Francis, bi-curious detective who seems to respond in a very noticeable way to meeting Berkeley, enters the picture, and that’s where things get steamy pretty quickly. The last half of the book is very much consumed by the two of them as they get hot and heavy in all sorts of places. If you are into kink factors—especially that adrenaline of maybe getting caught—you just may like the last half of the book. Between scenes, they track down the scoundrels who made threats to Berkeley, but really, that was resolved quickly, and the focus was on the two getting it on and falling (very rapidly) in love. Once again, the descriptions used and choices of vocabulary during these scenes wasn’t really my personal style. Though some may find this story entertaining, and I even know a few who I totally think would, I’ll be honest and say I don’t think that LJ Collins’ writing style and my preferences really sync up.
You can buy Computer Lover here: