Title: A Solitary Man
Author Name & Publisher: Shira Anthony & Aisling Mancy (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date: November 6, 2015 — 304 pages
Sparks fly when Chance meets tall, sexy Xav at a Wilmington bar and they have the hottest one-nighter of their lives. But Chance doesn’t do repeats, Xav seems detached, and they go their separate ways without a word. Two months later, when closeted Assistant District Attorney C. Evan “Chance” Fairchild meets Dare’s Landing’s newest deputy sheriff, Xavier “Xav” Constantine, Evan isn’t only wary. He’s irritated as hell.
Xavier is a former FBI agent turned deputy sheriff who is hot on the trail of a South American child prostitution ring. Evan is fighting to put an end to rampant cocaine trafficking and chafing under the thumb of an election-hungry boss. When someone tries to kill the thirteen-year-old witness who holds the key to both their investigations, they’re forced to work together as they put their lives on the line to protect him. As Chance and Xav collide in heat of a sweltering North Carolina summer, dodging bullets and chasing bad guys isn’t the only action going on.
Evan pressed the button on his phone to connect. “Freddy? What did you find out?”
Fred laughed. “For this, I’m going to exact a price.”
“You mean the keg I sprang for at graduation doesn’t get me a freebie?” Evan shot back.
“We’ve been out of law school for how many years now? Eight?”
“Nine this year,” Evan corrected.
“Credit’s no good anymore,” Fred answered. “I’m thinking dinner at Ivy at the Shore next time you’re in LA. On you, of course. Including a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.”
“For that,” Evan said with a chuckle, “this had better be good.”
“It’s good. And it was hell to get.”
“Okay, okay. Dinner on me. Assuming you and Margie put me up for the night,” Evan replied. “I’m looking forward to seeing your McMansion.”
“Deal. Took a little digging. Seems your mystery man did some undercover work for the “And?”
“My buddy in the US Attorney’s office wouldn’t give details, but word is Constantine got fed up with the bullshit after a case went bad somewhere down in South America.”
“Drugs?” Evan asked.
“No. He dealt with human trafficking. Specifically, child sex trafficking. My friend says the guy’s good. He tried a few cases where Constantine was the government’s key witness. Knows his stuff. Works his ass off and gets into his work. I got the impression sometimes he gets a little too close.”
Now that was interesting. “Why?”
“Seems the guy’s rabid about protecting kids.”
“Any idea why?”
“Nothing anyone would tell me,” Fred replied.
Evan leaned back in his chair. At least Xav wasn’t a slacker, but it didn’t make Evan feel any better about the prospect of bumping into him at work. “Anything else?”
“Constantine grew up in LA, went to school in Boston.”
“Boston?” Even more interesting. So much for his initial assessment of Xav as a broceanographer.
“Yeah, you’ll love this.”
Evan could almost hear Freddy’s grin over the phone.
“He did undergrad at MIT. Mathematics major. Master’s in criminology from U Penn with an emphasis in cryptology. The FBI was probably falling all over itself to recruit him.”
No shit. This just got better and better. “What the hell’s a guy with that kind of background doing in North Carolina?”
“I could ask you the same question,” Fred shot back. “Of course, if you decide you want your own McMansion….”
“You couldn’t pay me enough to come to work for you,” Evan joked. Fred was serious—they’d had this discussion a half-dozen times before.
“Try me.” Fred paused for a moment and then asked, “This personal?”
Evan had no intention of telling Fred he’d slept with Xav. “Not personal.”
“’Cause word has it he’s gay,” Fred said. “Out but not advertising.” When Evan didn’t take the bait, Fred added, “But you already knew that, didn’t you?”
Evan shook his head and sighed theatrically. “Don’t even go there, Freddy. You know I don’t mix business and pleasure. I just want to know what I’m dealing with. That’s all.”
“You can’t bullshit a bullshitter, man.”
“Thanks for the help,” Evan said, foreclosing the topic. “I’ll let you know next time I’m out your way. Tell Margie she’s a brave woman.”
“Always do. Laters. And make sure you get your sorry ass out here soon.”
“Will do.” Evan disconnected the call and rubbed his mouth. Mathematics major at MIT and a master’s from U Penn? No wonder the FBI had recruited him. And he’d pegged Xav for a surfer!
What the hell are you doing in Dare’s Landing, Xavier Constantine?
I absolutely loved this! haven’t read a suspense story this well crafted in a very long time. The characters are complex and perfectly developed. The southern setting is beautifully painted – the authors’ North Carolina manages to be both perfectly charming and eerily claustrophobic. The attention to detail is rare and thoroughly convincing.
This is a very powerful story. The subject matter is dark. Child abuse isn’t an easy topic and the writers don’t treat it lightly. The details of the investigation are disturbing, but the authors refrain from sensationalism or unnecessarily gratuitous content. I am thoroughly impressed by the research undertaken to craft such a realistic, compelling and sensitive story.
The characters in this book are complex and perfectly developed. Xav is a brilliant leading man. I love his complicated history, the surfer looks and the maths degree from MIT. By starting the story with Xav’s final FBI case, readers get to see his action man side, as well as the slightly broken Xav as a Sheriff’s Deputy making a fresh start in North Carolina. Chance is the perfect partner for Xav. I love the way the investigation forces him to slowly reveal his personal experiences and become more than a suit. Together, Xav and Chance are a formidable crime fighting duo and I’d love to see this book developed into a series.
My only issue with the book is the marketing of it. The blurb was for an m/m romance. I expected relationship angst, closets and troubled pasts. In reality, this reads like a collaboration from Karin Slaughter, Patricia Cornwall and Michael Connelly. Politics, federal agencies, human trafficking and murder.
Yes, Xav and Chance are gay – but it is much more difficult to find brilliant suspense writing than to find a decent m/m romance. There are a few sex scenes and a few relationship moments in this story – but almost every suspense story includes a little romance. Hell, even Kurt Wallander and Harry Bosch have love interests – and I’d much rather imagine Xav and Chance together than geriatric alcoholics enjoying younger women.
Anthony and Aisling are a brilliant writing pair and they have created a story that will appeal to a mainstream audience far beyond the traditional m/m romance market.
Wow! I absolutely LOVED this story. It was well done, crafted with the utmost care. The characters were both well developed, but not so developed that you couldn’t use your own imagination as well. The secondary characters were just as developed and helped in the story so much, that I didn’t really feel they were secondary characters at all.
You have Xavier, who decides that he has had enough of the politics – he wants to solve the case that has been plaguing him. He moves to North Carolina and heads a task force set to find missing boys who have been abducted to be sold in to child sex trafficking rings.
Then you have Chance Evan (Chance) who is struggling to figure out how he can change the world. Despite his ability to work in a lucrative area, he chooses to work for the DA. His own past has dictated his present life and when they collide, he has some difficulty figuring out how to endure.
When you put these two together, not only are they explosive in their ability to work with each other, but they have a slow, simmering chemistry that is nurtured and cared for throughout the story. Anthony and Mancy did an amazing job at showing a real, unrushed courtship that, even without the most ideal circumstances, wins out. So, while this story was blurbed as a romance, I would say this is more of an action book, with a little romance thrown in.
The mystery was carefully developed and despite my guessing the ending a little more than half way through, it in no way diminished my ability to enjoy the story. I love story’s that allow me to think I know what happened, only to make me read through the whole thing, just to make sure. There is nothing I love more than to guess, keep reading and have that “fist in the air, Ah-Ha, I was right” moment.
This was an amazing story and I would love to read other stories by these two amazing authors.
OMG This book was so good!
I will admit at first I was not sure how I would feel about it but these authors blew me out of the water with this book!
This is where I will give a warning that there is abuse described in this book that may be hard for some to read. I know it was hard for me to read but I felt the way the author handled it was very good.
In this book you get Xavier who has been working to find and help children that have been kidnapped and trafficked. Something happens on a mission he is on and which makes him decide to go somewhere different and help them there were a lot of children have gone missing.
Chance or “Evan” depending on his mood is a DA who is working on the sudden influx of drug trafficking and fighting demons from his past. After so resistance he decides to help Xavier and just wow!
There was so much action in this book and some angst too! There was also steam between these two MC’s too. I felt these authors did a awesome job with this story and bringing to light what happens with children trafficking that we may not hear a lot about but which really needs to be stopped! I also loved the way these authors wrote these characters between Xavier’s need to help this children who are victims of something terrible to his caring nature. Then there was Chance with so much pain in his past which keeps him from opening up to his need to help and his opening up to caring for these children who have been hurt to caring for Xavier and wanting him in his life. You also meet a lot of different characters in this book.
I have to say the way these authors grabbed me with this story and I could not put this book down until the end! This book honestly blew me out of the water and any doubts I had were gone as soon as I started reading this!
All together I 100% loved this book!
I would recommend this book!
If you like your M/M books with a lot of romance and love scenes this is not the book for you. The story line was good but there were a lot of details and at times I found myself skimming. I didn’t feel any chemistry between the two main characters either. I was waiting patiently for a spark and for more of a deeper connection between them but it never happened. The “who done it” was obvious to me right off the bat but it just took forever for the story to unfold.
This book was excellent and I loved it but that comes as no surprise to me as I love Shira Anthony’s Blue Notes Series. The characters were well thought out and very complex especially Chance. This book had mystery and suspense, it also had references to child sex trafficking. The authors brought this to the forefront and handle it with care. The authors seemed to write really well together and I would definitely like to see more from this collaboration of authors.
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