Title: Eden’s Past (The Edenwood Saga: Book One)
Author: Adam Carpenter
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 174 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Mystery
At a Glance: The complicated plot has me very intrigued and ready to find out what happens next, though I admit to having a hard time connecting to the characters involved.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Chad Singleton returns to his hometown of Eden to uncover secrets and scandals, including whether his homophobic father was murdered.
Chad Singleton, 29, and model gorgeous, works as a high-priced escort for wealthy men. When he gets a call telling him his father has died, Chad is torn about returning to his small hometown of Eden, Pennsylvania. After all, it was his homophobic father who banished Chad years ago. When he returns, he is thrown into the mystery surrounding how his father died. Fortunately, the sexy chief of police, Brett Ellers, has caught Chad’s eye.
As Chad and Brett submit to their heated attraction, forces from Eden’s underbelly threaten to undo their secret affair. In Eden, everyone has an agenda, their motives as dark as the night. Intrigue, murder, passionate love affairs – they all dominate the landscape in this picturesque world of horse farms and crumbling, once majestic estates.
In Eden, even the wealthy – especially the wealthy – play dirty.
This title is a re-release
Review: Mr. Carpenter is a very talented author, and the writing and pacing was on point. With the multifaceted plot line, different factors interwoven, a murder mystery, and a ton of secondary characters (all with their own motivations and machinations), this story definitely fits that of a saga. Holy crud, this plot was definitely interesting and complex. The unexpected passing of Chad’s father prompts his return to Eden, and he finds himself wondering about the circumstances of his father’s passing. It seems Silas’ death may not be as clear-cut as it originally appeared. The mystery of what really happened to Chad’s dad is entwined with his dealings with family members who are ruthless and greedy, schemers and manipulators. Not to mention there are past friends which have their own unresolved complications. All in all, it made for an interesting and a quite fascinating story.
My biggest issue, however, is that I really never connected with any character, and that made it a bit difficult. There wasn’t any one character I actually liked. Not a one. I didn’t like Chad. I wasn’t a fan of Brett. I couldn’t stand Elias. The Hartes and Singletons along with the Montroses were just unpleasant individuals. There is one character I think I could maybe like, but right now I am too scared to like that character because it could be just more plotting and games. So, I have one maybe character that I don’t fully trust, and a bunch that I absolutely dislike for a multitude of reasons.
Chad, for me, was a shallow individual. Perhaps over the course of the saga he will grow and mature, there were little signs of it here and there, but not enough for me to really like the guy. There are only so many times I need to read about how well-endowed and massive Chad was, from himself and everyone else around him. I get it. He’s packing and hot as sin. Truthfully, I found he fit in well with the wealthy of Eden, because he had no reservations about jumping in and plotting to get his way, like the rest of his family, and although his past with the elite of Eden makes some of his character traits understandable, in the end I found little about his personality I enjoyed.
Brett Ellers was a mystery. It’s clear Brett is hiding secrets of his own—his past, prior to coming to Eden; his relationship with Chad’s father; and being very closeted are only a few. There was next to no information about the man through the entire book. Chad and Brett fall into lust, immediately, and there is very little talking going on. The times Chad tries to get information out of Brett, Brett goes all weird and Chad drops it and they connect physically instead. There were just enough times that Brett dodged specific questions, and I really want to know what he’s got hidden in his past as well as how it will all play out.
No denying Chad and Brett had mad chemistry in the sexy times department, but there was a distinct lack of actual dialogue and emotional attraction solidifying a true connection between the two, so I had a hard time swallowing the relationship forming between them. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with a lot of steamy scenes (and there are definitely a lot of those), as long as it is balanced with a tangible connection made outside of the bedroom. Unfortunately, it never happened for me here, but I am hoping if the romantic element continues to be explored in future books it will be more present.
I find myself really wanting to know what happens next because this book does end in a cliffhanger, in a specific place which absolutely added to the intrigue. I have formed some theories, and I’m interested in finding out if I am right or not.
I will definitely be checking into the next book in this series, though I do hope I make more of a connection to the characters than I did in this book. There is certainly room for character growth and different directions which can be explored, not to mention a lot of questions and loose ends which are waiting for conclusions.
You can buy Eden’s Past here: