Desert Isle Keeper
Time travel is hard. When your time travel is about someone from the distant future going into their past, which is still your near future, the level of confusion-potential skyrockets. But here’s the thing – if you keep the action moving, give the reader just enough science to follow along without needing a phD in physics (with a specialization in relativity), and keep the basic plot just that, you can create something that is exciting and fun and just a bit smart. And that’s what Libby Drew did with Paradox Lost.
Poor Reegan McNamara. He has not had an easy run of it recently. After a recent jaunt to the past injured a client, his job has been on the line, not to mention his peace of mind. And Reegan isn’t having a good day today, either. One of his clients, Silvia, has run out while on a trip to the year 2020, and her rich and powerful husband is threatening both lawsuit and physical harm to get her back. But Reegan would have gone after her anyways – not only did he know Silvia as a child, but leaving her in the past is a death sentence – the universe corrects itself to avoid a paradox. If he can’t find her, and bring her back to the year 2145, there is no hope.
But private investigator and ex-cop Saul Kildare knows what an abused woman looks like, he’s hesitant about bringing Silvia back to her husband, and without the knowledge about time travel Reegan has, sees no reason to do so. But as Reegan convinces Saul to help, and the two get closer, it’s more than just the physical attraction at hand that keeps the two running around the city together. Saul knows there are things Reegan isn’t telling him, things Reegan says he can’t share, but as his emotions get involved, he knows that he has to find out. Preferably before they get killed. Or one of Reegan’s freak accidents finally does him in.
Honestly, I don’t really know what to say about this one, other than I really enjoyed it. It is, at its heart, romantic suspense, but with time travel and gay male leads. I’m intrigued by the author’s decision to place the main setting of the book in the near future – the year 2020. It makes sense, though – it’s close enough that the technology and societal norms wouldn’t have changed much, but allows for the addition of major historical occurrences when looking back from 2145. But there’s also noir feel to it – you have the mysterious woman in trouble (who brings trouble), the guy who shows up at the office begging for help, the recovering alcoholic PI (who was basically bullied off the force for his sexual orientation), and the more-than-secretary assistant in the office, whose story the reader doesn’t really know. And it all works.
I particularly liked how both the heroes were strong and independent. There’s a lot of taking care of each other as things happen, and while the ex-cop is more protective and a better fighter than historian Reegan, they both feel like equals, which doesn’t always come across well in either traditional or M/M romances. They work together well, even when Reegan isn’t being entirely truthful and Saul knows it. And there are some lovely bittersweet moments between them that made my breath catch a bit – it’s exciting to find that in a book, no matter what the story is.
In the end, I really liked this book. I especially enjoyed how it didn’t read like an “issues” book like so many gay and lesbian novels do – it read like any other romantic suspense. With time travel. Where the hero and heroine just happen to be the hero and hero. The beginning was a little slow for me, but once it picked up, the story just kept moving at high speed through to the end. It was an easy read, but not a simple one. And it was great. If you enjoy sci-fi and M/M romances, this is a fun one. And if you are looking for a place to jump in to the M/M world, this is a pretty good place to start.