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"We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate."


~Henry Miller

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Gavin - Russell (Russel Madajewski)
WARNING: This book contains graphic scenes, explicit language, and violent, sexual situations.


MORE WARNING: This book contains also rape and child abuse. AND It is NOT a ROMANCE. If you look for a sweet emotional relationship drama, with a little bit mystery in a background, then it is not for you. I'm not even sure that I can recommend this book to a vanilla mystery reader, because this book IS BRUTAL.

I am glad that I gave this book one more chance, because I was VERY closed to give up at 10% . I actually HAD given up, but this decision left me feel rather uneasy, and after a bit more deliberation I picked it up again.

The book starts with a crime scene (yes, with a graphic and brutal one). When Detective Gavin Nolan and his partner detective Derrick Williamson arrive at the scene they find two men brutally murdered - I will spare you the details- and a message, written in blood upon the mirror: Gavin, you could save me.

My main reason why I wanted to give up at around 10% was a presumption that this book was solely about a hate crime. I was not in the mood for a serial killer who hates gay men, hunts them and carries out his sick fantasies killing them in a especially perverse way. Homophobia/bigotry is not my thing.

However, the main character, Gavin Nolan got my attention from the very beginning: recently divorced, he’s just moved into his new apartment in downtown. It was something mysterious, enigmatic about an attractive athletic and smart detective by the Homicide Division in Chicago that kept me on reading.


Does Gavin have something to hide, from the world? Was there something in his past that he does not want to recall and tries to forget? What kind of connection can have a CPD cop and a murderer?. The victims didn’t know each other, they have various age ranges, different backgrounds, social circles, but it doesn’t look like the killer chosen them randomly. It has to be a connection between all the victims. Though what can they all have in common? And how Gavin could fit in this schema?

It is a tough (because of the topic, see the warning) but extremely thrilling read. After my initial difficulties to get into the story (mostly because I misinterpreted it), I couldn’t put it down, and swallowed almost 500 pages in three days (it is a very unusual reading speed for me).

I normally do not like when flashbacks take a lot of place in the plot, but here exactly the interplay between past and present, memories and actual places made the story.

I found the writing became also better as the story unfolded. I would describe it simple but fluent and entertaining. There were some really shining moments, but there was also some parts that appears amateurish. To say it in other words, this book is not perfect, it has its issues, but all in all I honestly enjoyed it (I know that to talk about enjoying sounds a bit perverse, considering the topic), and I am looking forward to the next sequel.

A horror fast paced mystery full of surprises, a provoking and gripping story-line, complex and unusual characters.

***ARC provided to Gay Book Reviews by the author in exchange for an honest review.***