Book – Jeff Woods Mysteries
Author – Chris T. Kat
Star rating - ★★★★☆
No. of Pages - 609
Movie Potential – ★★★★☆
Ease of reading – easy to read
Would I read it again - Probably
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine
Warnings: BDSM relationship, danger to disabled children, sexual assault
1% to 32%
For the first 20% of this story, I seriously considered not finishing it. To start with, I wasn't fond of Jeff Woods as a person or as a main character. He's very close minded and egotistical, with a very small minded view of the world. The way he thinks about and treats disabled children is disgusting. And, quite frankly, as a disabled person myself, I felt seriously degraded and furious with the story, as well as judged and classified as nothing more than some mindless idiot, incapable of looking after myself.
Though I know this wasn't the author's intention, that's how it felt to read the first half of the story. Every instance of a disabled person was followed by the implication that they were deaf, dumb, blind or completely mentally or physically useless. There was no disabled person in this story who was considered by Woods to have a redeeming quality. They were all worthless wastes of space, that should have been killed “mercifully” to save them from existence.
As such, I found it really hard to like the story or get into it. However, I understand the point the author was trying to make. As I'm already aware of the genius of Chris T. Kat's writing, I was able to respect that this was deliberate, to show growth, changing perceptions and the true prejudice against a lot of disabled people that exists in the world. I know, as I've experienced it. People looking at you like you're something less than them, even talking to you like you're an idiot. It's not unfamiliar to me.
On another note, I'm not a fan of 1st person POV, but this one worked in some weird way. Maybe because the prejudice so freely expressed towards disabled people would have seemed like the author's own personal view, without it. Which I know it's not.
As a detective story, I liked the investigation and the solving of the crime. It wasn't tied up with a neat little bow, but I have to admit that I knew who the killer was very early on. To be honest, there weren't many suspects, which made it hard not to notice.
As for editing, I barely had any problems. The only thing I noticed worth mentioning was that in one sex scene Alex removes his clothes, then does it again two pages later. Nothing really that would cause a problem in the reading or understanding.
Without giving anything away, about the plot, I'll confine myself to this – I loved Alex and Sean, as characters and their ability to communicate with each other and Jeff. They were the only normal two people in the story, for me. I also really liked Parker and David, though Parker was a real pain in the ass for a while. He's just as judgemental as Jeff, but with good reason for it. He was a character I could understand much better than Jeff.
32% to 67%
This one will be quick.
Grammar wise, there were no issues that I could see. Not even a repeated action, like in the first story. The only things I spotted were a few mistaken word usages and a few sayings written out in a strange way. The plot made sense, there were no plot holes and the characters didn't wildly deviate from the personalities displayed in book 1. All of these are great things.
Thankfully, Jeff's personality took a major sky rocket in this one. Gone were the horrible displays of prejudice against disabled children, thanks to his growing relationship with Sean. Similarly, Parker vastly improved, thanks to David's influence and, although Alex became a little more clingy and cried more than usual, he was still the best character of the bunch.
This story also had more consistency, with equal parts action and romance. The case was a little more complex, but I still knew who did it much earlier than I should have. I can't say whether that's because it was as obvious as the case in book 1 or that I'm a big crime fan, so I notice the signs better.
The only plot aspect that irritated me was the constant bickering between Jeff and Alex. There was a lot of it in book 1, but that amplified in this one. As did the many sex scenes. Their relationship was in more turmoil now than in book 1, when they were fighting their attraction for one another. I don't think it made as much sense, in this book, as all of the issues could have been solved easily by just talking about them and being smart.
Other than that, I can't say much without ruining the plot, so I'll leave it at this – the romance wasn't as heavy, the action and crime was more equal and the characters were just as good as the previous story.
67% to 100%
As expected, all the small problems of the previous books levelled out here – the imbalance between home and work, as well as the progression of the characters personalities.
I really liked how Jeff, Alex, Sean, Parker and David became a full, proper family together, sharing a building while living separately. The personalities and relationships of the characters has really grown and shown the progression of understanding and acceptance of all the characters involved. Sean's conditions are never easy to deal with, but Parker and Jeff's prejudices fade away in light of his warmth and his slow acceptance of them.
Plot wise, the emotions that were flying around were well founded this time, without seeming overblown or under-reactive. Alex wasn't too clingy or emotional in this one. He didn't go looking for trouble either. The only problem I had was that, whenever they started reminiscing about all the bad stuff they'd survived and been through, they remember the gun-to-head incidences, but never Brok, who sexually assaulted Alex and totally terrified him. It makes no sense to me.
As for the mystery, I can admit that this one was much more developed and had so many suspects that it wasn't always clear who the killer was. There was no obvious killer, just because it couldn't be anyone else.
The character development was steady and well planned. The mysteries in the first two books could have used a little work, but book three was more thoroughly planned. I also liked the very clear attention to detail that the author put into Sean's care, every day abilities and conditions. I didn't really like the fact that his attempts at speech were treated like bird noises, but that's a word choice preference and not necessarily a problem.
Overall, the Jeff Woods Mysteries are good action, romance stories that remind me of Kaje Harper's Life Lessons series. The whole aspect of a closeted cop falling for a witness in a case, then having the package deal of a child thrown into the mix, is very similar to that series.