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TANDEM REVIEW: “Secrets & Ink” by Lou Harper


When Karma writes you a ticket, pay up or else…

If life was like the movies, Jem Mitchell’s wouldn’t be such a mess. In LA’s glittering world of dreams, he works an unglamorous job at a gourmet grocery store. His past is so deep and dark, the details are lost even to him. All he knows is he was once cursed by a meter maid, and ever since, his love life has sucked.

When Detective Nick Davies becomes a regular at the store, Jem dares to hope he’s un-hexed at last. He should have known that sex with a remarkably normal guy, devoid of weird fetishes and fatal personality flaws, was too good to be true.

During a post-encounter cuddle, Nick recognizes the tattoo on Jem’s back—and remembers him as a young hustler he arrested nine years past.

As Jem’s memories come crashing back, he flees from Nick, but fate contrives to keep pushing them back together. And when Jem’s old partner in crime is found murdered, the stakes are raised for life, for love, and a dangerous drama with no guarantee of a Hollywood ending.

Warning: Stars a mild-mannered store clerk with a shady past, a hunky cop whose passion in the bedroom is as big as his passion for justice, and celebrity sightings you won’t see on TMZ


We can sense a voodoo doll being made in our images for this but, we must be honest:

We’re sorry for the author who worked on something which missed the mark.

We’re sorry for ourselves for having read it.

We are just sorry.

“Secrets and Ink” is meant to be a basic fluffy romance on a mystery background with a touch of humour and sexiness. It’s a winning recipe for a pleasant moment, and Lou Harper seemed to be a sure bet, but…

Color us dumbfounded, it was not.

We have a ditzy twink MC with a guilty past to put some edge in the romance and the mystery, a curse to put a spoke in his wheels and funny lines on the page, a sexy cop to put some steam in the sheets and flutters in our breast. See? We checked, no ingredient is missing.

The beginning is not unpleasant even though the jokes are more leaning toward overused stereotypes than wit. They ran short very fast though, and our indulgence took the same route as the hunk/ twink string was stretched to its frayed limit and the others were left unwind.

“My dating history of the past years had been littered by disasters so ridiculous they could’ve filled a Mr. Bean movie. If Mr. Bean was gay, and I would have totally bought that.”

The past that could have given Jem some dimension was inexplicably left unexplored, and the link relating it to the present story remained very, very thin.

At the end of the day, Jem is a serial “screw-up” whose adorkable birdbrain card is overplayed, leaving us with an infantilized twit whose main role in the story is to be handled by the rest of the cast. Nick is a control freak with daddy vibes without the leather, and that’s the extent of their shallow dynamics.

We could have contented ourselves with mindless smut fun, but despite a few kinks thrown in the pot for good measure, albeit with no realistic introduction or reaction, the sexiness is lukewarm.

It is impossible to elaborate without spoilers, but the mystery makes no sense.

In the end, this story is made of broken plot lines and nothing substantial in-between. What the heck happened?! It is astounding that the editor and beta readers let that pass and did such a disservice to the author!

The bottom line is: Would we recommend this book? No. Would we tell someone not to read it? No because the next person might like it a whole lot more. And we hope they do.



photo (18)Title:  Secrets & Ink
Author:  Lou Harper
Publisher:  Samhain
Pages:  128
Release Date:  December 10, 2013
Purchase Links:  Samhain, Amazon

4 comments on “TANDEM REVIEW: “Secrets & Ink” by Lou Harper

  1. Sheri
    December 8, 2013

    oh my!
    I’m so sorry you both suffered.
    thanks for your honesty ladies.


  2. shelley
    December 8, 2013

    Oh dear, I do so hate an infantile twit for an MC. You girls took one for the team here. Great review! xxx


  3. ilhem3606
    December 8, 2013

    Ami and Susan love this author, and I trust that her other books are better. I really don’t understand what happened with this one.


  4. Sue
    December 9, 2013

    I don’t want to talk about it. ;)


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This entry was posted on December 8, 2013 by in Contemporary, Cops / Cowboys / Military, Reviewer: Ilhem, Reviewer: Sue and tagged , , .

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