Reviewed by Susan65
Title: You Can’t Go Home Again
Author: Michael Murphy
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 200 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 18, 2014
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: In work and in love, life has taught seasoned police officer Jack that closeness only leads to pain. But Jack is wracked with guilt when his rookie partner Kevin is shot during an undercover assignment and dies in his arms. Why didn’t he take the time to get to know the rookie a little?
At the funeral, Jack takes a liking to Kevin’s brother, Devin. But Jack knows making a connection can cause more hurt, and living on opposite coasts is an added obstacle.
With his brother dead, Devin feels a responsibility to Kevin’s pregnant widow, Marie. He packs up and moves east, only to have Marie, outraged that he’s put his life on hold, slam the door in his face. Devin turns to the only other person he knows in town. As much as it goes against his philosophies on life, Jack takes him in without hesitation.
Their tentative exploration into romance is interrupted when Devin is mistaken for his dead brother and taken captive. Just as Jack opens his heart, reality slams into him. But he can’t lose anyone else. More than the need to simply save a captive drives Jack to find Devin and bring him home.
Review: The story literally starts out with a bang and was all action. That, I loved. Jack and his new partner, Kevin, are heading into a dangerous situation and almost immediately their covers are blown with Jack left holding his dying partner on his lap. It was very fast paced, very sad, and grabbed me in immediately. I couldn’t wait to see where it was going.
The romance is between Jack and Devin, Kevin’s identical twin brother. They meet at Kevin’s funeral, and Jack is left reeling trying to separate his dead partner from his twin brother. I can’t even imagine what that is like. The one major disadvantage of having an identical twin, I guess.
You also get to meet the prominent secondary characters. One being Marie, Kevin’s widow, and the other being Devin and Kevin’s evil mother. Both female characters were off the wall; one was a badass, foul mouthed cop, like her deceased husband, the other was the homophobic mother who has lost her damned mind.
On the one hand, I really loved a lot about this story, but some of the other parts drove me nuts. The premise, the characterization, the world building, and the twists and turns made for a great story. The issue I had was the excessive details and wordiness. I prefer lots and lots of action and dialogue (and it started out that way), but it tended to bog down a bit in the middle. I understand setting the stage, but I ended up setting this one down for a while and coming back to it later. I’m glad I did, because it really is a great story once you get into the writing style.
I loved the action at the beginning and the end. The middle, dealing with the pregnant sister-in-law/dead partner’s wife was really annoying. It was probably because I really didn’t like her, and I really don’t like when strong female characters take over my gay romance books. I can’t stand bossy people in real life nor in books, and she was just an ungrateful know-it-all for most of the book. She changed a little bit at the end, but by then, I was done with her and wanted her to move on.
The slow-burn romance between Devin and Jack was really sweet, but it moved way too slow for both me and Devin. I completely get that Jack had to separate his dead partner from his twin brother, that makes complete sense, but come on!!! I wanted a little loving-action, and there is very little in this book.
Excellent premise, plot, and characterization. A little wordy in places, but once it started moving, it moved fast. A highly recommended read for those who like slow-burn romances. This is a story that I would also recommend to my fellow reviewer, Nikyta, because she loves her books with little to no sex, and she would love this one.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*