Title: Shutdown Pair
Author: V.L. Locey
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Length: 93 Pages (Kindle)
At a Glance: Shutdown Pair was my first book by V.L. Locey, and though this one didn’t turn out to be my favorite, I can definitely see her appeal.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Slinging burgers in Minnesota in the dead of winter isn’t exactly the Hemingway lifestyle aspiring writer Heath has dreamed of. About the only thing the quick-witted wordsmith has going for him is his pick-up hockey league games every Saturday. Now it looks like even that’s gone south, along with the team’s AWOL goalie.
That is until mysterious Wyatt Dickenson skates into town and announces that he can tend net. Heath isn’t the type to turn down such a generous offer from a Greek god with impressive equipment and all the right moves.
Heath offers to share his rented room with the enigmatic drifter, and soon begins to suspect that Wyatt is harboring a secret. Can Heath get Wyatt to open up about his dark past? Is there a dark past? Or is Heath’s writer’s mind just spinning sexy, shadowy scenarios about the mystery man who has him so infatuated?
Reader Advisory: This story has graphic sexual language and scenes—no closed bedroom doors (or other rooms) here!
Review: The first page of this book had me laughing out loud; I thought it was going to be love-at-first-sight for sure. But, unfortunately, that loving feeling, though not entirely lost, turned into much more of a like. The blurb had me all, ‘Quick-witted, aspiring writer?? Mysterious stranger?? Beer league hockey team?? YES!’ And, as I said, it did start off with a bang. Laughing in the first paragraph is great. Comedies are great. I think the issue here, though, was a lack of balance. The author immediately turned the dial up to eleven, but then didn’t back down. It felt like she was trying too hard to be cute and funny, nonstop, making some of it feel forced.
Heath is a seemingly intelligent, wise-cracking, quick-thinking man-child. He did crack me up a couple of times, and had me chuckling a handful more, but he was just a bit much a majority of the time as well, a little too over-the-top for me. I also had to shake my head a few times while reading, particularly over a double reference to Harry Hamlin. The author uses Harry Hamlin as the reference to describe Wyatt’s sexy mouth, and I just had to question whether any twenty-something (or, in Wyatt’s case, nineteen) year old man would even know who Harry Hamlin was, or would reference him as a heartthrob if he did. I was so perplexed that I asked two gay friends their thoughts! (They agreed with me.)
All of that aside, there were also things I liked. First, the characters themselves—I did like Heath, and I really liked Wyatt. Their chemistry wasn’t off-the-charts, necessarily, but they were good together. The guys on the team were fun. I loved Don as Heath’s bullshit meter. Ha! And, the hockey stuff was great. I would have liked even more of it, though not more references to how smelly the gear is. That was definitely covered!
And, finally, I really did like the story itself. There were a few times where the author did slow things down, giving a few more substantive moments to the story; those were the parts I thought were the best. Wyatt’s backstory was really good, and Heath’s care of him once he found out Wyatt’s secret was really nice. The subject matter surrounding his mysterious appearance in Frost Lake was actually pretty heavy, though, and required a delicate touch. Again, I love comedy, but you need those moments in between chuckles to take things down a notch. I would have loved to see more of these moments mixed in with the nonstop hilarity.
Shutdown Pair was my first book by V.L. Locey, and though this one didn’t turn out to be my favorite, I can definitely see her appeal. I would probably try something else by her at some point…maybe it was just a timing thing for me with Heath and Wyatt. 😉 I imagine fans of her other books—she has two other hockey series, one M/F and one M/M—will also love this one.
You can buy Shutdown Pair here: