Friday, April 21, 2017

Release Day Review ~ Gabriel by RK Staunton

Title: Gabriel
Series: Order of the Black Knights: Book Five
Author: RK Staunton
Release Date: April 21, 2017
Category: Mystery/Suspense, Fantasy: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 220

Gabriel Ingram is running from his past. It’s common knowledge at the college where he teaches that he’s a former CIA technical analyst, but no one knows the things he really did—or about the rage and bloodlust that are his constant companions. He’s holding on to his normal life with both hands, but he knows someday he’ll lose his grip.
Lucas Craig is a social worker studying to become a family therapist. For reasons Lucas can’t understand, the normally reclusive Professor Ingram takes an interest in him, and Lucas secretly hopes their friendship might become more.
Then Eric, Lucas’s roommate, disappears. Lucas is frantic. The police are no help. With nowhere else to turn, Lucas begs Gabriel for his expertise.
What starts as a simple errand to help a friend becomes a journey into a violent world of gangs and human trafficking—one that will bring Gabriel face-to-face with the forces intent on stealing his soul. But Lucas might be the one who can save him—if Gabriel can get them out alive.

3 Stars 

I have been a fan of The Order of the Black Knights series from the very beginning but, unfortunately, this book did not excite me the way the previous books have. I definitely think this is my least favorite.

Moriel again has cursed a young man, in this case, our main character Gabriel, to kill and serve him for all eternity or until he forgives an enemy, something much harder to do than he initially assumed. After many lifetimes of killing, we meet a present day Gabriel, a retired CIA agent turned college professor. While the need to kill is an ever present companion, he has kept it under control.

Lucas is a Social Worker and Grad student. Gabriel shouldn't be interested in him but he can't help it. Seeing the man every morning and bringing him coffee before he races off to class, soon becomes a habit he has no clue how to break.

Lucas can't help his attraction to Gabriel even if the man can come off a bit acrimonious at times. It comes as a very welcome surprise when Gabriel shows him a softer side of himself by buying him coffee each morning. So, when his best friend and roommate, Eric, ends up missing and police seem not to care, Lucas turns to Gabriel for help.

If only they'd have known that this was more than a simple disappearance and that they had just stepped into the dark and dirty world of human-trafficking. Now, Gabriel is once again thrust into his role of killer. It will be down to Lucas to save him from the darkness that consumes him before he loses himself once again.

Unfortunately, I felt like this story moved way too slowly. Even the beginning didn't hold that same excitement the previous stories possessed. Each Knight seemed to have this dangerous and dark feel to them but Gabriel was missing that. I felt like there was such a potential to take Gabriel to some very frightening and intriguing places. There was a lack of true action you'd expect for the theme.

To make matters worse that lack of sexual chemistry was a major let down as well. I wanted Gabriel and Lucas to have that intense buildup and the need that radiates off the page. However, it didn't seem to happen and that was a disappointment. It made the whole story more blah and just okay. 

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

4 Stars 

Another great instalment in this series, with a really strong tale and a couple of great leads.

This is another standalone tale in the Order of the Black Knights, with a really good storyline to bring the leads into each other's lives.

One's a mature college student whose gay BFF has gone missing after a night out clubbing, and when the cops refuse to do much to help, he approaches the other guy, his college professor, who happens to be former-CIA...Uh, yes, just a part of the CIA that he can't talk about.

The join forces to investigate the BFF's disappearance, and as in all good romance novels where there's danger that needs a release and where the guys are into each other, sparks fly and they get it on, hot, sexy and heavy. But, the college professor guy has a secret that he's lived with for centuries and he's not in control of his berserker rage when he comes face to face with the guys who need taking out.

I liked that the tale stood on its own, with a good connection to Moriel, but also that it had enough body to make it work. The leads, though very different, were equally strong and really suited and I loved how the younger, seemingly more needy one took charge and turned the tables on the older, stronger, more experienced guy. Best of all, it ended in my kind of HEA.

This one also had a really decent side character whom I'd love to see go on to have his own tale - maybe that's to come?

ARC courtesy of Dreamspinner Press and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading plea

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