Read this on account of having read the book that precedes this one. I enjoyed it just as much as the first with its writing style similarly gripping and a particular page turner.
I would say the story of this book moves in a bit of a different direction to the first novel, as 'Strings Attached' was very Beverly Hills 902010 esque. 'Double Bound' moves away from the teen centred "California dreaming" life and explores slightly more intense issues of kidnap, infidelity, trust and betrayal.
'Strings Attached' familiarised us with the backstory of Jeremy while 'Double Bound' gives a better insight into the character of Arthur Blaufree who was a particularly likeable character from the first novel. Setting the story in Brazil is an interesting choice but seems well researched and works well. I don't want to give too much of the story away but I particularly liked the unique idea of using a bizarre religious ceremony as a central part of the story.
You would probably enjoy this without prior knowledge of the first novel but I would recommend 'Strings Attached' first to enhance your understanding of the characters and the relationships that are already established in this book. If you liked 'Strings Attached' you'll enjoy this one also!
This book is the sequel to Strings Attached, which you really need to read before this one in order to get know the back story of these characters and their relationship dynamics. Strings Attached had a lighter feel to it, which was entirely appropriate as the novel centred around young Jeremy and his exploits while taking vengeance out for his parents when he discovered the perfidy that had destroyed them and robbed him of his rightful place in his father's wealthy family. This time, the book is darker and heavier, reading much more like a spy thriller and that too is just fine. This time Jeremy and his young boyfriend Carlos are back, but the novel focuses more on the older Arthur. Arthur is not only his bodyguard and mentor, but the former lover of Jeremy's own father. Things are getting complicated however, as not only are they on a trip to Brazil trying to uncover some corporate espionage while cultish murderers are out for blood and killing foreign tourists, but a definite attraction is beginning to more than simmer between Arthur and Jeremy, leaving Carlos out of the romantic equation entirely. It is a coming of age story in more than one way: Jeremy's to recognise love vs crush, and Arthur to recognise that he is able to truly love again but having to fight against what he sees are his obligations to others even if it means denying himself and the one that loves him back.
As a thriller, it stands up well. The action is plausible and the villains chilling. As a romance, it also does quite well. We can feel the affection between the two youths, as well as the angsty feelings accompanying one's first true love, and the pain of a heart healing and feeling love again after a lifetime of regrets. The ending was not fairytale perfect in the way one expects in a romance, yet it was a perfect ending for the characters involved. It certainly did not satisfy me in quite the same way Strings Attached did, but I look forward to seeing what happens with these three men next and hope that they all do find their own measure of happily ever after.
It certainly helps to have read "Strings Attached", all the better to appreciate how the characters evolve. Little time has passed, but circumstances have changed - Jeremy not what he was since avenging the deaths of his parents; Arthur not what he was either. Once lover of Jeremy's father, he now pines for the youth himself. Then there is ex-schoolmate Carlos. How long before he realizes he may be the third that makes a crowd?
First of all, an assignment! The three are off to a luxury building complex in Brazil. Is "El Gigante" Dom Fabiano ripping off Aunt Katharine? Ahead lie adventures with a horrific climax.
The Arthur-Jeremy relationship forms the core of the novel, the details sexually explicit. Flashbacks interestingly flesh out the older man's character - the father determined to beat the "perversion" out of him; the homophobia rife in the Marines; the two loves of his life suddenly killed (one on 9/11).
Less impressive are those episodes in Brazil. They begin promisingly enough but become increasingly melodramatic and implausible. (Nolan himself refers to cliches when describing an escape.) It for long puzzled why the State Department did not delay by a day or so its pressure on Aunt Katharine when the three would have been safely home again. Eventual explanations (and surprises) do not entirely convince.
In short, a mixture. At its heart, a love story which often proved moving. Final sequences, however, seem dragged out as though the author is reluctant to let go. A particular highlight is that powerful, chilling first chapter with its macabre Sao Januario's Day religious ceremony. (It could stand on its own as a dramatic short story.) Most unexpectedly, there is also a little gem towards the end - that delightful scene in the coffeehouse, seemingly slight but to prove pivotal.
In the first novel Pinocchio allusions did not always work. Now Nolan seeks to draw parallels with Jack and the Beanstalk. Some may consider these self-indulgences not really needed.
Although "Double Bound" did not appeal as much as "Strings Attached", enough interest remains for one to look forward to what Jeremy does next.
Double Bound is the sequel to the first book Strings Attached where we are introduced to the beautiful young swimming hunk Jeremy Tyler and the rags to riches story of how he ends up living with his very rich Aunt and mysterious Butler, Arthur in a sprawling mansion in Ballena Beach, California.
Double Bound begins with Arthur Blaufee and his early years and how his first relationship with Jeremy's father influences how he feels towards Jeremy. Arthur is a multi faceted character and it is wonderful that Nolan can spend time in this second book filling us in on his background, his disastrous relationship with his own father and how this rebounded in him joining the US Marines.
The story itself revolves around a fated trip to Rio in Brazil by Jeremy, his boyfriend Carlo and Arthur as bodyguard to oversee a high security island resort being part financed by his Aunt Katherine for the super rich worried about terrorism. The resort is being managed by Dom Fabiano "el gig ante" a Brazilian mobster up to his ears in shady dealings and illegal practices. What begins as a carefree vacation mixed with work ends up in a surprise kidnap and a double cross.
The book ends with a few question marks and I do hope Nick Nolan can continue both Jeremy Tyler and Arthur Blaufee's story in a third book.
In this lively sequel to his 2006 novel "Strings Attached", author Nick Nolan continues the rags-to-riches story of young Jeremy Tyler and boyfriend Carlo as they jet off to Brazil on a business trip arranged by Jeremy's eccentric aunt Katharine. They're accompanied, as always, by hunky bodyguard Arthur, whose storyline forms the centrepiece of this compulsively readable novel. Welcomed by an ultra-rich benefactor with whom Katharine intends to do business, they soon find themselves up to their necks in dire peril, with kidnap and betrayal the order of the day. And, on top of everything else, Arthur struggles to overcome his feelings for Jeremy, all of which adds layers of complication to an already disastrous situation...
There's something effortless about Nolan's prose: He manages to establish characters and settings in very precise strokes, though not at the expense of all-important subtext (in "Strings Attached" it was "Pinocchio"; here, it's "Jack and the Beanstalk"!). Every situation is outlined with vivid economy, and most of the dialogue rings true, while the characters themselves are as engaging and likeable as ever before. Nolan also generates a fair degree of heat in his depiction of the sexual tension between Jeremy and Arthur, and the various sex scenes are not only deeply erotic, they also serve the narrative in unexpected ways.
Add to this some pretty intense set-pieces, and a tragic back-story for Arthur which underlines the story's emotional and dramatic arc, and you have a novel to savour, every bit as good as its predecessor. Written with the same care and panache, it's a completely different story, but no less fascinating. Highly recommended.
on 11 September 2011
This book is the sequel to strings attached, which is best read before this one to understand who is who and the relationships between the main characters. While it is an enjoyable story filled with intrigue and humour, I found it at times too predictable and ove the top when it came to the descriptions to set the scenes throughout the book. Having said that, it was a pleasure to read and very good entertainment.
on 15 June 2010
I wondered if Nick Nolan could repeat the magic mixture of his first book. In fact, he has excelled. Jeremy, his young, sexy James Bond rivalling hero is back, as seductively cute as ever. But the central character in this sequel is the older Arthur and the story of his life and of his love for Jeremy provides the leitmotif of what is otherwise a rollicking adventure which keeps you breathlessly turning the pages. Nolan has Ian Fleming's ability both to evoke place and mood and to create unforgettable villains, this time in an exotic and sinister Brazilian setting.
Nolan's treatment of the complex Arthur, of his dysfunctional family and of the mutual attraction between him and Jeremy give surprising depth to this book. Nolan is a perceptive and sympathetic observer of people and relationships as well as a great story teller.
Following close on the heels of the appealing Stings Attached, which centred on the young Jeremy Tyler's rise to the fortune to which he was entitled, comes Double Bound. The central character here however is Arthur Blauefee, ex-Marine and more recently ex-FBI agent and now butler and estate manager to wealthy Katherine Tyler, and protector and unofficial surrogate father to Jeremy. Here the story is told very much from his perspective and as such it steps back in time to provide some insight to his upbringing, earlier career and his previous love life.
The account then picks up where Strings Attached left off, and we are taken on an escaped to Brazil where Arthur accompanies Jeremy and his flambouyant lover Carlo as carer and bodyguaard. Jeremy has been charged by his aunt Katherine with responsibility for investigating an investment opportunity the Tylers are investing in; an adventure that will involve corruption, double dealing and betrayal upon betrayal, and prove life threatening for all three men.
The few days in Brazil also provide other opportunities. Importantly a chance for Arthur and Jeremy to explore their true feelings for each other, feelings it seems are equally shared - perhaps the predominant theme of the story. It's also chance for Arthur to put into practice his training as a Marine, and for Carlo to prove that he is very much more than just a beautiful sissy boy. Events in Brazil will form the making of each of these central and most likable men, especially in view of the further troubles they will have to face on their return home.
Double Bound, based on the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk interwoven with old Brazilian beliefs and superstitions (as the author fully explains in his Notes at the conclusion) is a much darker tale than Stings Attached. In fact the opening chapter sets the scene with a seemingly unrelated sinister and tragic account involving a couple of American boys in Rio de Janeiro, but in fact does have a direct relevance. We get to know Arthur very well, his strengths and his weaknesses along with his failures, and we will no doubt become very attached to and feel for him as he faces dilemmas and difficult decisions. As such it is at times a very moving tale, especially when the real crunch comes towards the end; but it is yet a positive story.
I really enjoyed this book, possibly more even more than Strings Attached, it has greater depth and explores the characters more fully, with no holds bared. It is also a story of the meaning of true unselfish love. There are just a couple or so explicit sex scenes, but these are essential to the story, and one of these even keeps the reading tantalisingly guessing. Although I read this shortly after Strings Attached, it is a book that can stand very well on its own, providing enough information on relevant facts from Strings Attached for those that have not read that, but not to the extent that readers of it will feel they are being served up old information. Highly recommended.
on 14 June 2009
This is the follow-up novel to 'Strings Attached, Nick Nolan's debut, which I picked up as a holiday read just over 12 months ago and must say thoroughly enjoyed. So I was eager to read the sequel and find out what happened to all his wonderful characters. Unfortunately, therein lies the disappointment.
Nolan has taken the same group of characters from 'Strings Attached' and turned them on their heads - in fact, the central characters of Jeremy and Arthur are practically unrecognisable from the first novel - Jermey is now a super-confident gay youth and whiney, and Arthur - the ultra dignified demi-hero from before - is now faltering and insecure. Carlos (the boyfriend) is relegated to a minor role and Katherine has become 'Alexis' - mistakenly evil but honest.
The plot takes the leads to a far away island where ritual murder and underground dungeons are everywhere. The love story between Jeremy and Carlos which was so beautifully told and developed in the first novel is thrown out the window in favour of a new (completely unrealistic) love affair between Arthur & Jeremy.
The characters are so underdevelopment and described that I, without having read 'Strings Attached', would not have been able to clearly picture any of them so this book cannot be read as a stand-alone.
However, for a gay themed novel there was quite a bit of action (gay characters becoming all 'rough & tumble') and there was some amusing dialogue and funny lines which made me chuckle so I've rated this book higher than I probably should have.
I felt let down that nothing - nothing! - carried over from the first novel and Jeremy's progression from neglected teen to confident man wasn't developed but instead substituted for a tacky new romance.
Apparently there will be a third novel in the series to round-out the characters and tidy things up - I only hope that Nolan goes back and looks again at why 'Strings Attached' was so great and glosses over the unfortunate events & story from 'Double Bound'.
Totally loved this, read in one sitting. Having fully loved the first book in series, "Strings Attached", this explores familiar characters from first book, that you actually want to find out their back history. Introduces new characters you'll love as much as in first book. I really admire amazon for stepping up and publishing this, and the first book. I highly recommend.