Title: House of Cards (A Porthkennack Novel)
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 249 Pages
At a Glance: Another wonderful story to feed my addiction with. And, now I absolutely can’t wait for Garrett Leigh’s next Porthkennack book, Junkyard Heart.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Calum Hardy’s life has unravelled. Reeling from the betrayal of a man he once loved, he boards a train heading south, with no real idea where he’s going except a world away from London.
Brix Lusmoore can hardly believe his eyes when he spots one of his oldest friends outside Truro station. He hasn’t seen Calum since he fled the capital himself four years ago, harbouring a life-changing secret. But despite the years of silence, their old bond remains, warm and true—and layered with simmering heat they’ve never forgotten.
Calum takes refuge with Brix and a job at his Porthkennack tattoo shop. Bit by bit, he rebuilds his life, but both men carry the ghosts of the past, and it will take more than a rekindled friendship and the magic of the Cornish coast to chase them away.
Review: Hi, my name is Jules, and I’m a Garrett Leigh book addict. It’s an addiction I’m perfectly fine with, however, so we’re just gonna keep things exactly how they are. I’ll keep reading all of her books and reporting back to you guys about how great they are, and everyone will stay happy. Sound good? OK! So, let’s talk about House of Cards, the latest release in Riptide Publishing’s Porthkennack universe. You guys know I’m not a plot rehasher (it’s a word), and I’ve written so many reviews (ten, I think) for Leigh’s books, both e-book and audio, that I decided to go with a slightly looser structure, and just sort of list the things I loved about this book. So, here we go…
The Setting: Porthkennack is a pretty magical place, and Leigh does a fantastic job of bringing it to life here. I truly feel like I can perfectly picture the cliffs, the Sea Bell, the little street where Brix’s tattoo shop is, and Brix’s cottage, complete with hen run. I absolutely loved the references to the magic of the sea, and this bit, right after Brix tells Calum about his dad dangling him over the cliffs when he was born:
“Always knew there was legend in you somewhere.” Calum winked, then turned to the view—the grey sky, the misty clouds. The crashing waves below, and the miles and miles of moody-blue ocean. It was like nothing else on earth, and Brix wondered if Calum could feel the Cornish magic Brix had been born with. The fabled histories that were still sung out loud by the choir of old-school fishermen who hung around the Sea Bell.
The authenticity of Leigh’s stories, whether it be the place, the people, or the food, always draws me in.
The Guys: Calum will have you in his corner right from the prologue. The COMPLETE DOUCHEBAG—sorry, but that deserved shouty caps—who drove him out of London and to the Cornish coast, basically stripped him of everything, and then blamed him on social media. He’s a real peach. Thankfully, though, Calum escapes Rob’s nasty bullshit, and finds himself in Porthkennack. I loved how we got to know both of the guys over the course of the story, both in the present and through each other’s eyes when they talk about their time together back in Camden. And, it’s clear from the beginning that Brix is a man with some baggage. He also ran away from London, without telling anyone where he was going, and never looked back. I loved Brix so, so much. He has a massive heart, and despite the shady dealings of his family, he doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. Brix was my favorite thing about the book.
The Romance: When Brix finds Calum at the Truro train station, he is a shell of the man Brix knew in London. And, Calum seems to have completely forgotten how strong and capable he is. Luckily, his old best friend, and first male crush, is there to remind him. As with all of Garrett Leigh’s stories, the relationship happens so organically and smoothly. There is never any question that these guys should be together. Both Brix and Calum seem like natural caretakers—which is great, because they both deserve a bit of being taken care of! And, when they find their way together physically, their chemistry is amazing. I loved, loved these two together.
The Story: There is so much here to sink your teeth into. All of the characters are so well-developed and multi-dimensional. Calum’s growth throughout the story is fantastic. Brix’s backstory is gripping. I loved both the audacity and charm of the Lusmoore clan—mainly Brix’s dad, John, and his Aunt Peg. They were quite entertaining. All the scenes and at the tattoo shop were fantastic. I adored the supporting characters there, and I was so taken in by all the talk about dotwork tattooing, which was both Calum and Brix’s specialty, that I had to go look it up. And, finally, probably my favorite part of the story…The chicken rescue operation that Brix has going on. So many great moments in the book were wrapped up in those chickens. Such good stuff.
Definitely go pick this one up. You needn’t have read any of the other books in the Porthkennack series to enjoy this one; it can absolutely be read as a standalone. Another wonderful story to feed my addiction with. And, now I absolutely can’t wait for Garrett Leigh’s next Porthkennack book, Junkyard Heart, due out in December. Kim is one of the colorful characters at the tattoo shop, and this will be his story.
You can buy House of Cards here: