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Shadowboxing Paperback – 20 Jan 2012
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Barwell's plot is intriguing in concept, but falls short in the implementation. The mission team is like the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Nothing goes according to plan, and time and again, the team members stop and argue or talk about their feelings ... rather than RUN AWAY from the Nazis chasing them with guns and dogs. If this were a movie, you would be yelling at the screen "Don't stop in the alleyway and discuss the plan .... the Nazis are behind you .... lower your voices ... run ... no, no, don't set your gun down - what are you DOING? Just RUN ... for the love of god ...RUN!"
Michel and Kit fall into insta-love, with no sexual magnetism, and no on-page sex or sensuality other than a few kisses. And after the initial action sequence, the pace of the book becomes glacial, with background stories for several characters provided, and lots and lots of much ado about nothing.
I love historicals, and don't expect the author to extensively research every last thing about a period in time. BUT one of the mission team is in Berlin - in 1943 - in the midst of WWII - with his cover being he is an American businessman on a trip. No, No, No ...... it's in the middle of a WAR - the US closed down their embassy in December 1941 when Germany declared war on the US - there were NO American tourists allowed in Berlin.
When the action finally amps up, there is a beyond-belief "wait, what now?" coincidence, another round of standing around rather than RUNNING, and a cliffhanger ending -- although there is a short preview of "Winter Duet," the second book in the Echoes Rising series. While I am a big fan of M/M historicals, I cannot recommend this book.
I received a galley copy from DSP Publications, via Gay Book Reviews, in exchange for an honest review.
MEMBER OF THE PARANORMAL ROMANCE REVIEW TEAM
1943 Berlin, Germany and Kristopher Lehren a scientist and a man from a very well to do family comes to find out that the project he has been working on with the hope of helping mankind will be used as a weapon with the potential to leave destruction the likes of which the world has never seen. When his Jewish friend David Reuben comes to him trying to explain what is going on he remained skeptical until he accidentally came upon a letter detailing exactly what his project was meant to do.
Kristopher wants no part of anything that will bring harm to others but he doesn’t know what to do. After nights of nightmares and feeling an overwhelming guilt for what he was a part of he goes to his boss hoping he can get him to stop the project from moving forward but he runs into a situation that not only changes his life but puts him on the Gestapo’s radar. After suffering a heart attack his boss hits his head and dies and since Kristopher was the last one to see him alive he knows he has no choice but to run for his life. With the project paperwork in his pocket he finds that one of the soldiers at the institute is more than he appears.
Michel has been part of the resistenance and has been watching over Kristopher. Michel is working with a group of allies who know that it is imperative to get Kristopher out of Germany and get the project into the hands of the allies. With the help of Michel, Kristopher manages to get to safety but that doesn’t last long. Kristopher is hurt and when he is taken to his sister Clara for help he learns that his sister has been working with the resistenance and was the one responsible for getting Michel to look after him.
Michel and Kristopher run and hide and even though they are almost captured and the project reports are missing Kristopher is the one who has the final data in his head and without it the paperwork is useless. Now more than ever the Gestapo wants him. Captain Matthew Bryant and his team have no idea where Michel and Kristopher are hiding and are searching for them but not before Matt is captured. Now his team’s first duty is to free Matt and then find Lehren.
While on the run Michel and Kristopher find themselves falling in love making their situation much more serious. They are wanted by the Gestapo and if it is ever discovered that they are homosexual their lives would be worthless. Even today gays have to deal with constant prejudice but this is 1943 and making matters worse they are in Nazi Germany.
The story follows the lives of Michel, Kristopher and the allies especially Matt and Ken who themselves are in love. It is not hard to picture the constant fear the resistenance and the allies are facing on a daily basis and I don’t want to go into detail on what happens since it would take away from reading the book. The only reason that the book did not get five stars was that at times it was slow moving but other than that it was a story of life in Nazi Germany and although it ended in a cliffhanger the next two books are already released.