Description from Goodreads:
The Good Guy: Haint-working runs in Dan Miller’s blood. Not everyone can help the restless dead cross over, especially when the haunting threatens the Living. But the death of his parents six years ago forced Dan to give it up in exchange for raising his brother and sister, all the while struggling to keep their rural NC farm afloat.
So when the flamboyantly goth Leif Helsvin shows up on Dan’s doorstep looking for help with an evil necromancer named Runar, Dan’s first instinct is to turn him down. With two teenagers to look after, he’s already got all the trouble he can handle. Besides, the sexy Leif is too much of a temptation, and Dan is firmly in the closet.
The Bad Boy: Pierced, tattooed Leif never has sex with the same guy twice. It keeps things simple, especially since his oath to stop Runar has him constantly drifting from one town to the next.
But this time, it looks like Leif is going to need help, in the form of the very down-to-earth Dan. Since Nice Guys are off the menu, Leif just has to keep his hands to himself for as long as it will take to stop Runar’s latest scheme. But as Leif finds himself drawn deeper into Dan’s life, he quickly realizes he’s not just in danger of breaking the rules, but breaking his heart as well
I don’t usually use star ratings on the blog. But I think it will help me explain my indecision on this one. If I were to star this book, I would be stuck between a 3 and a 4. It’s not quite a 4, but it’s better than a lot of books I’ve given 3s to. I think my seesaw-opinion comes from it being a fine book, but grating on my personal nerves.
It is well written and well edited; no complaints on that front. I’ll definitely be looking for more of Hawk’s writing, but Dan and Lief just annoyed the living daylights out of me almost every-time one of them opened their mouth.
I did appreciate the twist on the characters, on who’s the strong one and who needs the healing. Well, they both need healing, but the bad-boy character isn’t usually the one written as fey-like and fragile and it gave the book a bit of something different. And I did like both characters. I also thought the side characters were very well done. Taryn was awesome, Bea was stable and dependable, Virgil gave everything a little friction, even Corey and Marlene added a little something to the mix.
However, the book is repetitive. We’re told the same information multiple times, very close together. I think if Dan blamed himself for not saving his mother one more time I might have tossed my kindle over the back of the couch. (This also made his sudden repressed memory and the strength he garnered from it at the end unbelievably convenient.) Similarly, Lief’s constant ‘if he knew the truth’ mantra grew old pretty quickly.
I was also absolutely sickened by the sex=love and instant endearment laden relationship—you know, the way the characters instantly start calling each-other baby and sweetheart and saying things like ‘I’ll love you forever.’ Especially since Dan simultaneously held onto the ‘he’s leaving next week.’ It was pretty clear that had fallen off the table. Plus, if I’m honest, Lief’s ex-prozzie, ‘I’m into toys and plugs and everything else’ attitude didn’t really fit the tone of the rest of the book.
Then there was the fact that I was confused about the haints. They’re supposed to be ghosts, but lets be real, they’re zombies. And I didn’t set out to read a zombie book. This wasn’t help by the fact that I found the action scenes fairly mild and almost always brief.
The whole set up also felt a little wobbly because Runar seemed to discover what he came to Ransom Gap for after he came to Ransom Gap. I can’t really explain this without a spoiler, but once he arrived he discovered something he wanted to find and went about searching it out as Dan and Lief tried to stop him (that’s the non-romance part of the plot). So, what brought him there in the first place?
So, in the end, it was a fine book. It really was. I didn’t even dislike it. I liked a lot of it. But there were just so many small annoyances that they started to reach a bit of a critical mass by the end.