Monday, 24 October 2016

Empty Places by S A Laybourn

156 Pages
Publisher: Totally Bound
Buy links: Totally Bound      Amazon         Amazon UK
Erotic Romance / Thriller & Suspense

The blurb:

The world has its empty places, and so does the heart.

Ellie Freeman, a low-level Federal employee, is stuck in a dead-end desert town that no longer feels like home. What makes things worse is the threatening phone calls she’s been getting. When Duncan Harris, a British journalist, stops by to interview her for a series he’s writing, Ellie feels something close to hope that there’s still something good to be salvaged from her life. But, before that hope can be fulfilled, Ellie is kidnapped.

When Duncan finds out what has happened to Ellie, he throws his journalist’s neutrality out of the window and heads off to find her. What he finds is a cult led by a deluded but charismatic leader. Somehow, he has to get Ellie out of its clutches and he’ll do whatever it takes. When the cult leader raises the stakes, the mission becomes very personal indeed.

My thoughts:

Empty Places was such a fun, thrilling, and captivating story I read it more or less in one sitting, something which came as a very pleasant surprise.

One of the reasons I rarely read m/f these days, especially suspense, is because all too often the female lead can only be described as ‘too stupid to live’. And, if I’m honest I have to admit that the blurb worried me somewhat. Threatening phone calls leave lots of scope for less than advisable behaviour. Thankfully Ellie Freeman did not live up to the stereotype. She does everything right; contacts the authorities, keeps a record of the threats made against her, and even accepts a gun although she hates the things. None of which saves her from the inevitable, of course.

In fact, this story kept on surprising me in that it managed to avoid being predictable completely. For starters, while the leader of the cult taking Ellie captive was every bit as creepy and crazy as you’d expect such a character to be, most of the other people Ellie interacts with there were no such thing. I liked that even now that I’ve finished the book I still can’t decide whether Ellie or Duncan was the stronger character; the fact that they both had their strengths and their weaknesses made them truly relatable.

If I do have an ‘issue’ with this story it is that Ellie, for me at least, gave in too easily in the end.  I won’t say anything else since I don’t believe in spoilers, but personally I’d have let him suffer for at least a short while.

What struck me most about this book though is how exquisite the writing was. The sentences flow, the balance between thought, action, and description was just about perfect and the story read so smoothly I was surprised to have reached the end when I did. The author transported me first to that desert and then to the mountains. I suffered in the blistering heat, enjoyed the cooling rain, and could see the desolation.

Long story short: if you want to read a very well written, thrilling, sexy, and thoroughly entertaining m/f romance, look no further. Empty Places won’t disappoint!

About the author:

S A Laybourn lives in Wiltshire and loves it. She's partial to gin and tonic, loves to cook and watches cookery programmes when she's not working, writing or reading. She writes m/m erotic romance as S A Meade.

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