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Torn and Frayed (A Gabriel Church Tale Book 2) by [Clark, Rodd]
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Torn and Frayed (A Gabriel Church Tale Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 277 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1546 KB
  • Print Length: 277 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Driven Press (9 Jan. 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B018HGNN20
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,058,309 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
Now I have to be truthful here, the thought of reading a book about a psychopathic killer, who’s doing God’s work (well, sort of………remember he’s a psychopath!) didn’t immediately grab me and it took quite a few pages to get into this storyline, but once I did, I was grabbed in a voyeuristic sort of way. I was looking as an outsider, watching the storyline unfold but getting emotionally involved at the same time and before I knew it, had read the book practically in one sitting.

Gabriel really is a true psychopath – when he’s with Christian, he’s a totally different person as opposed to when he’s killing people in God’s name and this was the truly scary part, because the author did such a fantastic job on Gabriel’s mixed-up character.

Gabriel has gotten away with killing people for years, he’s meticulous and no one knows except Christian, whom he left in book 1 in order to “save him”. But he’s made a mistake and Christian is going to pay for that error, unless Gabriel re-enters his life.

The book raises many questions, one of them being “in love, how far are you prepared to go to protect the person you love? What levels will your conscience allow? I’ll let you think on that one.

The author was devilishly clever, I thought that Gabriel was mellowing and the author was going to change direction and take us on a different route entirely, until the episode with the Police Officer………it proved that Gabriel is what he is and that he’s not going to change!

Very, very different read for me. It held my interest in a kind of morbid fascination way and that itself is quite disturbing, but that is why I called the author “devilishly clever”, he got me to read something that I wasn’t 100% comfortable with! But found it engrossing nevertheless.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Not having encountered the first book in the Gabriel Church series, Rubble and the Wreckage, before reading this story, I checked out the blurb and some of the reviews for #1 and formed an outline of the original plot. It seems the most important elements are recapped in Torn and Frayed.

Gabriel Church is a serial killer on the run. He’d been prepared to tell the world how and why he’d despatched so many victims over the years. Christian Maxwell is the biographer who unofficially interviewed him and planned to record his life story. They became friends then lovers, but their relationship faltered when Christian’s jealousy results in the death of Shea Baltimore at the hands of Gabriel.

Torn and Frayed continues the story with Gabriel on the run from Christian as well as the law. His thoughts continually return to the ex-lover he has left behind. He’s trying to resist the pull to return to the man he obviously misses.

Rodd Clark’s omniscient story-telling style provides the viewpoint of various characters, focusing mostly on Gabriel, Christian and Scott Kenn, the detective who tracks down serial killers. As a result, the reader discovers a few facts the characters themselves don’t know about and this provides hints for the future plot.

The narrative builds steadily to the mid-point until Gabriel decides to contact his ex-lover again. These well-written chapters provide the background to the story and the main characters, sometimes rather repetitively referring to the main events from Book 1, emphasizing that Gabriel is on the run and missing Christian. Internal monologues and backstory are interwoven with present day events as Gabriel is drawn back to Seattle.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8ad53ed0) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ad6b930) out of 5 stars 4.5 ~ Exciting as any thriller I've read up to date. 9 Jan. 2016
By Sinfully - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
4.5 Stars rounded up.

So the chase is on or it was and then it wasn’t! I must admit this second book had me intrigued from the word go. In the first book, Rubble and The Wreckage, Gabriel leaves Christian and hits the road. Once again driven by self-preservation and not wanting to get Christian tangled up in his life.

He lands up in San Antonio and after arriving wanders into a church that catches his interest. In the first book we learnt that Gabriel has a rather twisted relationship with religion embedded deep in his childhood memories and in the second book he meets Father Kait and develops a fascinating relationship with him on a platonic level. Father Kait becomes his confessor and Gabriel can release some of the things that have been burdening him. Of course he doesn’t give anything away about his murders but it was fascinating to read all the same. I loved this relationship that the two had developed. Rodd’s writing really gets to grips with the psyche of his characters. The conversations between Father Kait and Gabe are philosophical and extremely thought provoking giving the reader something to chew over and ponder on for days. I know I was mulling a lot of the conversation around in my head for quite a while. You are drawn into their inner most thoughts and this is what I love about these books so far. As I said in my first review a real mind f*** on many levels but listening to Gabe opening up to Father Kait was intriguing all the same. Still doesn’t excuse what he does but it definitely gives the reader a hell of a ride in the mind of serial murderer Gabriel Church.

For someone who never lets himself get emotionally attached to anyone he is still haunted with is time spent with Christian. The internal struggle is palpable, he is in all intense and purposes, Torn and Frayed between the attachment he has formed with Christian but knowing his lifestyle would never let him form any kind of relationship. I could feel the tug-o-war going on inside him and to get this straight in his head he uses Father Kait to talk to.

However, in the this book we are introduced to a new character and that is Detective Scott Keen. He works cold cases, murders that most have given up on and have no more leads. He is given a file and picks up Christian’s scent in Gabriel’s last murder although Christian was only involved by default. Christian is now in a flat spin of panic and as providence will have it Gabriel decides to phone Christian as he wants to hear his voice. Is he missing Christian? Well I guess he is but Gabriel would never admit this to himself as that would be forming a relationship now, wouldn’t it? I love the totally f***** up relationship that these guys have. The love is there but this is pushed to the back of Gabriel’s mind as it’s just not possible for him to admit this to anyone let alone himself.

Gabe returns to Seattle to help Christian out of his predicament. Here the book really heats up and the cat and mouse game begins. Detective Keen has no idea who he’s dealing with and doesn’t know how close to danger he’s flying. The whole outcome is breathtaking and for the first time I’m hoping that the murderer actually gets away with the crime. Crazy, right? But as I said in my review for the first book you can’t but not help liking Gabriel or at least understand this complicated character. It goes against everything you have been taught. How does it all play out in the end? Well, it was exciting as any thriller I have read to date. More I’m not giving away as you’ll have to read the book.

For me this book is a great psychological thriller with a warped M/M romance thrown in. The writing of Rodd Clark is detailed and empathetic of his characters, letting the reader delve right into the psyche of Gabriel Church. Maybe it’s a place you want or don’t want to go but just the thrill of going somehwere you normally wouldn’t, pushing your boundaries, questioning rights and wrongs, makes for a super book and an exciting read. Can’t wait for the next book.

Reviewed by Mark for Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ad6b984) out of 5 stars Definitely gives you pause to thought, so different 12 April 2016
By Lorraine L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Now I have to be truthful here, the thought of reading a book about a psychopathic killer, who’s doing God’s work (well, sort of………remember he’s a psychopath!) didn’t immediately grab me and it took quite a few pages to get into this storyline, but once I did, I was grabbed in a voyeuristic sort of way. I was looking as an outsider, watching the storyline unfold but getting emotionally involved at the same time and before I knew it, had read the book practically in one sitting.

Gabriel really is a true psychopath – when he’s with Christian, he’s a totally different person as opposed to when he’s killing people in God’s name and this was the truly scary part, because the author did such a fantastic job on Gabriel’s mixed-up character.

Gabriel has gotten away with killing people for years, he’s meticulous and no one knows except Christian, whom he left in book 1 in order to “save him”. But he’s made a mistake and Christian is going to pay for that error, unless Gabriel re-enters his life.

The book raises many questions, one of them being “in love, how far are you prepared to go to protect the person you love? What levels will your conscience allow? I’ll let you think on that one.

The author was devilishly clever, I thought that Gabriel was mellowing and the author was going to change direction and take us on a different route entirely, until the episode with the Police Officer………it proved that Gabriel is what he is and that he’s not going to change!

Very, very different read for me. It held my interest in a kind of morbid fascination way and that itself is quite disturbing, but that is why I called the author “devilishly clever”, he got me to read something that I wasn’t 100% comfortable with! But found it engrossing nevertheless. I wouldn’t class this as a romance (my normal genre), it was more in the line of a thriller, but you may disagree with that?

If you are looking for something outside your normal comfort zone, this is definitely worth checking out.
*I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review was an honest opinion of the book*
Threebooksovertherainbow.wordpress.com
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ad6bdbc) out of 5 stars Another Gabriel Church Tale delivers 9 Jan. 2016
By KathyMac Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I was excited to get back into the mind of Gabriel Church, and see where he has been since he left Christian Maxwell behind. The murder of Shea Baltimore was the catalyst that sent Gabe back on the run and left an almost despondent Christian in his rear view mirror to deal with the aftermath of that unexpected, and most regrettable, fateful act.

Torn and Frayed, by Rodd Clark takes the readers on an all-encompassing journey back to Gabe’s childhood as he reminisces about his life and what it may have been like had it went a different route or had different parents.

He remembers his Mother as someone weak, who wouldn’t stand up against her husband or fight for her child when he stood in the crosshairs of his father’s wrath. He is, at times, disgusted by her behavior, but also feels sadness as he realizes the toll it has taken on her to stay with the devil, aka Bennett Church.

As Gabe drives from one destination to the next in his old Dodge pick-up he appears as though he doesn’t have a care in the world. I get the feeling he is surprised by his own musings that frequently lead him to Christian and the loss he feels with his absence.

I, also, get the impression that he finds himself in new territory to not only feel but to admit to his feelings that he may actually love Christian. No one, other than Chris, has ever came close to the real Gabriel and he admits to himself that he misses Christian more than he would have thought possible.

According to Gabe, in order to forget bad memories you need to make new ones. But, what used to come so easily has now become, almost impossible, as thoughts of Christian consume and plague his mind.

Leaving Christian behind was the right thing to do, according to Gabe, who was only looking out for Chris’ best interest. But, after weeks turn into months, with no contact, whatsoever, he becomes almost giddy with anticipation when he decides to end his desolation of solitude and call Christian.

Gabe likes to come across as unscathed by what he considers his celestial calling. It’s his duty, as he sees it, to kill the “white lighters.” Why else would he see them and the light that illuminates them, if not to kill? He’s always had a peaceful recollection of his life’s work, but something has changed with the murder of Shea Baltimore.
Quote...
“He believed his Lord directed him to kill, and still believed Fate put every divine soul in his path to complete that cycle. He believed that his life and story had already been prewritten, that he was just running lines on stage, like a dress rehearsal before the opening.”
— Gabriel Church - Torn and Frayed ...Endquote

He can’t sleep because too many faces invade his conscience. He starts to doubt himself and ponders frequently with what-ifs. The scariest and alarming change of all, for this reader, is his predatory and all consuming mentality of taking lives outside of the “white-lighters.”

I had (past-tense) reasons to believe that he could possibly become a changed man and even to a certain point, feel regret for the lives taken by his hands. Now, I’m not sure if he can or if he even wants too.

With that said, I still believe it's possible for Gabriel to become a changed man, if not for himself then for Christian. I want Gabe to find peace and love and I think he can as long as Christian believes in him.

Christian Maxwell is a mess, plain and simple. Without Gabriel by his side he seems to have lost his footing. He comes across as almost obsessed with needing Gabe and losing whatever credibility he had as a responsible, successful and productive adult.

He misses Gabe immensely, however, he holds no ill-willed feelings towards him for leaving him behind. He understands Gabe more than anyone ever has. Of course, he’s the only person Gabe has ever confided in at this in-depth level, and through their earlier meetings when writing Gabe’s story was a likelihood, he became privy to the sins Gabriel had committed.

He sees behind the lies, the omission, and the deeper level that makes up Gabriel, and yet… he now seems not to care about any of his past. Or, maybe just more willing to ignore it. At first, Christian was, at the very least, concerned with Gabe’s acts of murder, but now I get the feeling that if he could run off with Gabriel, he would do so in a heartbeat.

Leaving his life, his work, and his family behind is something that Christian would do immediately if Gabriel said the words, let’s go. I feel like Christian almost rejoices in these new feelings of being a rebel that Gabriel brings out in him.

Christian’s life without Gabe has become riddled with anxiety and he becomes panic stricken with thoughts of the police finding him. Even though he didn’t actually commit the murder of Shea Baltimore, he knows that Gabe’s actions were due to his jealousy and the verbal atrocities he spewed that fateful day. And, recently, he suffers from nightmares or visions his mind conjures up becoming almost delirious, at times,

At some point, someone is going to have to pay for that regretful moment of - act before you think. And, with the police closing in on Christian, his thoughts of fleeing are barreling down on him fast.

Seeing Gabriel, after two months without any contact, sets Christian’s world right again. He couldn’t have strolled back into Chris’ life at a more appropriate time.

Now that he’s back, Christian is more than willing to hand over his worries and fears to Gabe to smooth over and solve. Christian loves the feeling of Gabe being his protector, and is more than willing to let him handle the detective that has been calling.

Their reunion finds them frantic for contact and sex and Gabe tries to keep the details of his time away, to himself, by keeping Christian focused on their sexual rendezvous. Gabe has a plan and he’s not interested in sharing it with Christian. However, I believe Christian knows deep down Gabe’s intentions and accepts the consequences of his plan.

Before Gabriel – Christian’s ethics and morals knew right from wrong. Now, I’m not so sure what Christian believes. I think he believes in the power of Gabe, and as long as he can be with him that’s all that matters.

Will he continue to feel the same if Gabriel leaves him behind again? Will he pick up his life and try to get back on solid ground? I’m left with wondering when enough will be enough and if Christian would ever consider turning on Gabriel.

I don’t have any answers, yet as the book comes to a close leaving Christian in limbo as well as myself. I have many questions that have no answers but I’m positive the author will give them to us in due time.

I continue to be amazed by the author’s resourcefulness and ingenuity and I am fascinated by the way he narrates the story giving the reader an insight into the characters and surroundings that otherwise we may not see.

The Gabriel Church Tales are complex and intense and I experience many emotions as I read. Normally, I think most of us would want to see a killer get his penance for his wrongdoings. We want to see justice prevail and the families left behind get their closure.

Here’s where I say my feelings change because having an inside look at the mind and thought process of Gabe you have sympathy for his plight. But, that will only take a person so far, because without a doubt, Gabe is f**&@^up and I’m pretty sure that's how he will stay. I would have said Christian was definitely the stable one between the two, but now… I’m not so sure.

I highly recommend this series and it's imperative you read them in order to fully understand the psychological thrill Rodd Clark is taking us on.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ad701a4) out of 5 stars Hot, Unique, Brilliant Story 10 Feb. 2016
By Paul Berry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Torn and Frayed-A Gabriel Church Tale-Book 2 by Rodd Clark

Serial killer Gabe is a very complex killer and for the first time in his life there's more on his mind than just surviving. Now in book 2 Gabe is running from Seattle in order to protect his biographer and lover a.k.a. Christian. Gabe never believed he would be back here but he is and he must now make the best of it. He has to let go of his past and insecurities in order to have the love from Christian but can he change who he really is?

Gabe is being haunted from his amazing time with Christian and he can't forget about his biographer as Christian got into his heart very deep unlike anybody ever has. Gabe is torn with his feelings for Christian and his reality of what his life is that doesn't really allow for love or a relationship but he can't let Christian go. He now really needs to speak to Father Kit to help him figure it all out and let's hope the father can really help.

The author introduces a new character of detective Scott Keen who investigates cold cases that everyone has forgotten about. So he opens up Gabes last murder case and Christian is slightly involved. Christians very nervous and he needs to hear from Gabe. He calls Christian, so is he missing him and will he let Christian know how much she loves him, I doubt it but let's hope for the best.

I love the second book very much and the complicated relationship between Gabe and Christian was even more messed up but I just love these guys and the love they have for each other even though they can except it or admit to it. What a brilliant psychological MM novel this was and it had me glued to every word, this author has created a beautiful, riveting, intense, unique and hot novel and I couldn't even get enough of these men and they're very unique story. Rodd Clark created an intriguing book that at times you would want to be a part of and at times too scared to death to even think of being a part of. His brilliant writing was so spot on and detailed that I was so impressed with how he created a wonderful story. I highly recommend this novel Torn and Frayed by Rodd Clark to EVERYONE!!!

"Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review."

Reviewed by Paul at Gay Media Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ad70288) out of 5 stars "Bent" and "twisted" from start to finish 16 Jan. 2016
By Amazon reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The sequel to RUBBLE AND THE WRECKAGE has torn and frayed my nerve ends to the extent that it’s difficult to write about it. This book is a careening ride to hell in an old Dodge truck, its slick tires and rusty chassis eating the miles along the hard pavement of southwestern U.S. highways, up the spine of California , to the bones of the northwest its driver had once left behind. It’s a road trip through a diseased mind. It’s the odyssey of a killer, and it’s the voyage of a pitiable soul seeking God.

Gabriel Church is a taker of life. Not just a murderer, but an intelligent serial killer on a kind of archangelic mission of salvation. His victims, ones he calls “white lighters,” are random people he imagines needing his brand of final salvation. In killing them, he releases each one to God. And so the deaths, rather than bringing remorse, are to him a kind of personal relief, souls given up to a waiting God.

He is smart, and he is bat-guano crazy. He seeks confessors—his former lover Christian, the old priest—not to unburden his soul but to better understand his deep self, to discover why he kills and how God receives these sacrifices.

But Gabriel meets up with one of life’s ironies that even he does not clearly see, until too late. He falls in love. And in loving, in trying to protect the man Chris, he becomes the kind of man he despises, a man like his own father.

From a stylistic point of view, the author jabs and wounds us with the words BENT and TWISTED, repeated so often they must reflect Gabe’s own psyche. Interestingly, I do not recall reading the words “torn” or “frayed” anywhere in the novel TORN AND FRAYED. It’s up to the reader to see the fibers of this man’s mind slowly raveling out, turning him into a true psychotic, as his mind bends and twists until he commits a planned, savage act. The reader senses that this final act—committed in the name of love—will bring about his destruction.

In many ways, this sequel is better than the first. Once the action begins to wind up, the pace becomes more and more terrifying in its race to the end. The writer explores the mind of Gabriel through the lens of an old church window, one that casts a certain light never forgotten by the young boy who is somehow “bent” by that light refracted through the stained glass. The author more clearly defines the role of confessor in this book than he did in the first novel; and he is at pains to trace the origin of the archangel Gabriel to help explain his aberrations.

Ironically, the “love story” here is more the love between Gabe and an old priest than it is the passion between the two younger men. I found this part of the book most heart-snatching and sorrowful.

I give this disturbing novel five stars. It’s relentless in its exploration of a mind gone off its tracks, spiraling God-knows where. There will be a sequel, I’m sure; and I look forward to seeing whether the author mends the frayed ends and straightens the “bent” mind … or whether Gabriel Church will indeed go down in a “white light” of bullets, as he himself foresees … or whether the author will bring it to some other shuddering, memorable end.
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