Title: The Chase and the Catch
Author: A.F. Henley
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Pages/Word Count: 192 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: After one of his fans committed suicide, John lost everything: lover, confidence, drive. When he is given a chance to get back on his feet, he is happy to take it—even if it’s just writing an actor’s biography. It might not be romance, or even fiction, but it’s something, and there are worse people to work for than the charming, successful Parker Chase.
That doesn’t mean working for Parker is easy, however. A staunch supporter of living for the moment, Parker goes against everything John believes in. He feels out of place in every moment of Parker’s Hollywood life, stuck in a game of wits that at times seems almost contrived…
Review: A.F. Henley’s The Chase and the Catch takes love and romance to task, not only as a genre of fiction but as a state of being between two people, contrasting its supporter and naysayer in a romance author, John Liege, and a jaded actor, Parker Chase.
Henley’s characterization of these two men is just deep enough for the reader to get dragged (and happily, I might add) into a fast paced and compelling story that has enough surprises to keep it from being predictable, even down to the characters’ last names becoming relevant to the storyline. The author parses out details and revelations about who they are and how they came to be where they are, as their chemistry together drives the story along, both when they’re playing antagonists to each other, as well as when they are both on the brink of giving into their lust. There’s a sensual aura developed around the predator/prey theme which morphs into a redemption story before the book’s end, a time for second chances and the time to prove that maybe love and romance truly do have the power to transform. Discovering why both of these men are who they are, have become who they’ve become, and to see their strengths and flaws laid out to each other in stark contrast–John’s ability to still believe in love, against Parker’s arrogant nihilism of the sorts of bonds John was at one time so famous for writing about–makes Parker’s Icarus-like fall all the more satisfying in the end.
While I’d have loved a bit more time spent with these two characters after the climactic scene (the ending does feel a bit rushed to wrap up after the journey we take with the characters to get there), Parker’s evolution from the predator who becomes caught in his own snare, to the willing and eager suitor who wants nothing more than to make amends for a betrayal is both believable and the embodiment of the romance that had once only earned his disdain.
All the more to this book’s, and the author’s, credit is that there are no fairy tale happily ever afters promised at its end. After what these two men had been through, to have tidied up their story so neatly without further exposition of them and their relationship would have been far too handy. No, this book ends with the promise of a happy beginning, which fits the tone of The Chase and the Catch perfectly and makes it a story worth reading.
You can buy The Chase and the Catch here: