Reviewed by JustJen and Susan65
Author: Tal Bauer
Heroes: Tom Brewer/Mike Lucciano
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 672 Pages
Publisher: Tal Bauer
Release Date: July 12, 2017
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: A federal judge running from the truth.
A U.S. marshal running from his past.
A trial that can plunge the world into war.
Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for twenty-five long years, he’s climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, U.S. Marshal assigned to his DC courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can’t erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago.
But a devastating terrorist attack in the heart of DC, and the subsequent capture and arrest of the terrorist, leads to a trial that threatens to expose the dark underbelly of America’s national security.
As Russia beats the drums of war, intent on seeking revenge, and the United States struggles to contain the storm before it races out of control, secrets and lies, past and present, collide in Judge Tom Brewer’s courtroom. With the world’s attention fixed on Tom and this case, he suddenly discovers he may be the only person who can put everything together in time to stop the spark of a new world war.
JustJen’s Review: What a great story this was! It’s long though, which requires a bit of a time commitment that gave me some hesitation. But, I’ve been hearing so many good things about this author, I figured I would give it a try when the opportunity arose. I’m so glad I did. I was captivated from the first few pages where we meet Judge Brewer and his often assigned Marshal Lucciano.
This had such a realistic feel to it with Tom’s closeted issues, what transpired to force him to do so, and what kept him there. Mike was so understanding and never pushed Tom, allowing Tom to take steps on his own as he felt comfortable. Not only did they have that issue to contend with, but their respective positions did not give them much leeway as far as being in a relationship were concerned.
Just as these two started to move past the initial friend stage and seemed to be going in the right direction, all hell breaks loose when the Russian President is shot on the Capitol steps. Let the intrigue and mystery begin! Unfortunately, Tom is the judge assigned to the case against the shooter which places him right smack in the middle of public scrutiny and basically puts the weight of the world on his shoulders. Still fearing his being gay and in a relationship with his Marshal coming to light, they have to be more cautious than ever, but thankfully, Tom has realized a few things about his life, what he has sacrificed, and what he wants for his future – to finally come out and to have Mike by his side.
The mystery, politics, corruption, etc. were interesting, informative and very well done. I work in the legal field, so it wasn’t too difficult for me to follow along with all the proceedings, etc., but I don’t think anyone else would have trouble either. It was never boring, kept my interest and had me on the edge of my seat more than once. My heart was breaking for these two and their circumstances over and over, but it is well worth the ride when you get to the end, rest assured. This reminded me of a Tom Clancy story, and I was fully invested in the lives of these two characters. I’m definitely a fan of Mr. Bauer now, and look forward to reading more of his work.
P.S. I was also a fan of Tom’s friend Kris, who was quite intriguing and most definitely has a story to tell. Perhaps we will get to see him again one day.
Overall Impression: I loved it!
Susan65’s Review: Now this is how you write a story. It was well-rounded, had complete characterization, a strong plot, and a drama so completely evolved that you never had to fill in the blanks. It was all there in black and white, but not all is at it seems. And it was so intense, especially near the ending, that I could hardly find time to catch my breath. Sometimes I like a little shorter story and little less description, but this is a book that you didn’t want to miss a thing. It is long, yes, but I finished feeling like I’d run a marathon…and won.
Mike is a popular, out and proud, hottie U.S. Marshal tasked with protecting the federal courts…and the judges. Tom is a deeply closeted, older but lonely federal judge who falls for Mike. Tom has legit reasons for running into that closet, and staying there for twenty-five years, but just maybe Mike will be worth walking back out for.
I liked how Mike didn’t allow Tom’s age (9 years older) to stop him from reaching for his fairytale. Spending all his time on twenty-something twinks who didn’t want to settle down was getting him nowhere but lonely and depressed. The interactions between Mike and Tom seemed so authentic to me. Their inner musings contained fears that were legitimate and realistic, and dreams they felt were out of reach. I understood where both men stood because this book give multiple points of views.
In addition to the secret love brewing between the judge and his protector, we are watching an international crisis unfold that could cause World War III…and Tom and Mike are right in the middle of it. Along with other judges, marshals and attorneys. The inner circle of this group kept me spellbound. I was always one step behind who was the mole, who was good, and who was bad. It wasn’t until the near cataclysmic end that we get the full picture. As in-depth as this book is written, there are still parts that leave the reader stunned after a few unexpected turns of events. I know I was.
One of my favorite secondary characters was Mike’s best friend Kris, the snarky, lipgloss wearing man who has a secret job that surprised me when it was revealed. Here’s hoping our fun loving, but still a little sad, enigma finds a new beginning. I really wanted to know his and his deceased husband’s story. Maybe we will get a follow up. Fingers crossed. So, in addition to highly recommending this book, I’m also putting out a plea for Kris’s story, too.
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*We received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*