A broken hero, dark urban fantasy and a magical world can be found in here...

In the Twist - L. A. Stockman
3.5 Hearts--Debut novella urban fantasy with a religious/mythology tinge, In the Twist, is the first in the Wild Hunt series. It's definitely a story that is not for everyone. Read the blurb. Still think you're ready? The story begins with a gory start...a disemboweled junkie child kind of start. Still with me? There are triggers up the wazoo, potential readers are heavily warned. While the subjects are dark, the story isn't as dark as it seems. (Think light-ish DMC read)

If you don't mind viscera here and there.

Anyone, still here with me?

You are?

Great. :)

Irish ex-priest, now American detective David Shaughnessy is a damaged soul with so baggage he could probably run his own department store. He's fairly young but has lived a lifetime of pain, shares a home with a sister and houses unwanted orphans. He was an unwanted once. And was used and abused by those who he should have trusted.

Present day David can care for those in need but doesn't care about himself, he's scarred and tattooed. While on a case, he meets older and worldly Interpol agent Dallan Jaeger. Dallan and David see the world...differently. Together, they uncover the mundane and magic world, open a new way of life for David and meet the 'The Wild Hunt', a group of the world's best warriors of legend.

The first 30% was a struggle for me. In fact, it took me days to get through. It wasn't the subject matter (because this barely scratches my dark meter) but the POV is muddled. At one point eye colors changed from ice blue to green-grey. And I thought it disemboweling was going to be as good as it got. But something pushed me to keep reading.

And I'm glad I did.

After 30% or so, the story got less muddled and more interesting, especially the urban fantasy world, religious and historical undertones brushed through. There was action, magic, romance, horror and mystery. It might've also been the swords added in too. I'm a sucker for swords. There's more to Dallan, David and his family. I like the mythological/fantasy world created. And I enjoy anything with a hint of heaven/hell thrown in made interesting. I enjoyed the author's take on it (the hints the reader gets).

Bare bones, this story hits an appropriate checklist of romance: man meets man, they share interests and mutual attraction, fight said attraction while uncovering a mystery and falling for one another for a solid HFN.

Not bad, right? What's the difference from all the other urban fantasy romances? The Wild Hunt, for one. Picture international badass immortal warriors from the ages. The faeries in this book are evil. And there are dukedoms in Hell.

I thought all of that was cool.

But I have quibbles.

My main quibble with this novella is it could have been longer.

For someone with David's depth of damage, the rapid way he gets over his hangups for love? I want to buy it. I really do. But it takes time. His mental abuse is so ingrained, the hurt and pain were written so well (a bit too well in aspects) that I ached for him. We get novel length feelings and major declarations in a novella. And some really lovely words, that I normally flutter like glitter fairy to I really enjoy. But the time span the men spend together is days. It's not like we're talking normal human relationships here. I can turn a blind eye for fated mates (not the case here).

I liked the attraction between Dallan and David. The romance was nice when I overlook the muddle. Because the conversations that Dallan and David had, really had when trying to overcome the hardships of their past (namely the abused), oh...those were sweet. Like laying jewels on your damaged feet kind of sweet. I basked in some the words when the muddling lessened.

I especially liked the duke. I kind of wished there was elaboration on the backstory about that. The story slowly unfolds David's background and his kids. It's more about him than Dallan, though both men are equally interesting.

Worth a gander (those who can handle the subject matter)? I think so.

Underneath the weaker start, rapid insta-love, beginning POV confusion, there's a solid plot. And it's too soon to call, but there were hints of something in the prose. It reminded me of a few urban fantasy stories I used to read in the past underneath my quibbles. And I think that if the author finds a groove, explains plot points and keep the POV separate...this could be an urban fantasy series to watch.

I'll be back for book #2, Titan's Watch, see what else the author has up her sleeve especially for these characters.



A copy provided for an honest review.