Title: Long Time Gone (Hell or High Water #2)
Author: SE Jakes
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase
Buy Links: Publisher; Amazon n/a
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller
Length: Novel (67,5 kWords, 277 pdf pages)
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: This book offered a satisfying conclusion for two fascinating characters and whetted my appetite for more stories set in this reading universe.
*** This review contains spoilers to the first book in the series, Catch A Ghost ***
The Blurb: When a tornado meets a volcano, nothing is safe.
Soldier of fortune Prophet Drews always worked alone—until Tom Boudreaux became his partner. But when Tom walked away three months ago, ostensibly to keep Prophet safe, Prophet learned the true meaning of being alone. Everyone knows that Prophet, a Navy SEAL turned CIA spook turned mercenary, can look after himself. Which means he must’ve driven his lover away.
Even with half a world between them, Prophet can’t get the man out of his head. Maybe that’s why he’s in New Orleans in the middle of a hurricane, protecting Tom’s aunt. But the only looter around is Tom, bursting back into Prophet’s life. It turns out that Prophet’s been stuck in Tom’s head—and heart—too.
Their explosive reunion gets even hotter when Tom is arrested for murder. As they fight to clear his name, they delve deep into his past, finding enemies among everyone they meet. Staying alive in such a dangerous world is hard enough, but they soon discover that fighting to stay together is the most difficult thing they’ve ever done.
The Review: For me, there’s one word that describes both Prophet and Tom perfectly: self-sabotage. It’s something they both excel at, in regard to their professional lives and even more so in regard to their personal lives–read:relationships (of any kind, but especially the romantic variety and especially with each other). It’s so easy to have self-sabotaging characters veer into the TSTL category. But the beauty of this story is that these two don’t do that, even though they do some rather stupid things. I forgave them time and again, just like they did each other, and just like they began to forgive themselves in the end. And I forgave them because these two deeply scarred, violent and essentially unapproachable characters seriously grew on me; they had me rooting for them and cheering them on to look beyond past hurts and injuries and into a shared future.
While the first Hell or High Water book, Catch a Ghost, ended with Prophet and Tom separated–and Prophet even having quit Extreme Escapes Ltd, the secret black ops organization he’d been groomed by his former boss Phil to take over–Long Time Gone shows their reunion, and that particular scene is hot as hell and explosive like–yes, like a volcanic eruption in a hurricane. Literally. Because it’s a hurricane hitting New Orleans that brings them together right then and there, and as they meet somewhat unexpectedly when the storm is about to reach its climax, so do they. For these two are men that have a hard time talking about their respective pasts and even more so about their emotions, in general and to each other in particular. They’re better at communication when physicality is involved, an that’s what makes the frequent sex scenes in this book actually necessary.
Not to mention the fact that the sex scenes in this book are the best I’ve read in a long time. Completely in tune with their characterizations, Prophet and Tom are rough with each other, almost violent at times, and yet there are moments of tenderness that are all the more heartbreaking for their rarity. For a long time, sex is the only way for them to express how much they need each other, and eventually, it’s through sex that they come to open up to each other. It’s a beautiful development of their relationship and their respective characters.
While the characterizations were great and very well-whought, I had problems with the setting. Despite all the alligators and cemeteries and voodoo, the place didn’t come alive with me. For some reason I kept picturing the events taking place in a cold location, and every time the heat was mentioned, it threw me out of the story flow. There were also several convenient happenstances and jack-in-the-box appearances of supportive characters I couldn’t relate to.
As a whole, the actual plot of this book struck me as rather far-fetched and once again, somewhat all over the place; I felt as if all those murders, kidnappings, arrests, and even the hurricane only happened to make our heroes look good and to further their relationship. But I was okay with that; picking up this book I didn’t expect realism. I wanted ecapism, suspense and passion, and that’s exactly what I got.
This was a fast-paced, action-filled story with surging emotions and fiery passion at the end of which I felt like I’d really gained insight in what made these two men tick. Their story still isn’t done yet, but at least they’re now ready to face the future together. Highly recommended.
Long Time Gone ist the second book in the Hell or High Water series, and I don’t think it can be read as a standalone; to much of the story only really becomes accessible to the reader in context with the first book. The first book, Catch a Ghost (reviewed here) and Long Time Gone are essentially an entity.