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REVIEW: “Amor En Retrogrado (Bill Turner #1)” by A.M. Riley


In the year since JD Ryan, Robert Lemos’s life partner, packed his bags and moved out, Robert has been in a painful daze, anesthetizing himself with work. Then one rainy night, he gets a call that his ex has been beaten and shot in a parking lot outside a gay dance club. JD is in critical condition and the man who was with him is dead.

Robert rushes to JD’s bedside to find him recovering from the gunshot wound but suffering from retrograde amnesia. As JD slowly regains his memories, he recalls everything except the circumstances of the murder, and the reasons why he left Robert. He remembers their love, and seems determined to reconcile. It’s the miracle Robert’s been hoping for.

Interference comes from all sides. Detective Bill Turner, who seems to have too personal an interest in JD, pegs Robert as the primary suspect in the shooting. Robert’s best friend, police Captain Gabe Lara, seems to feel that Robert is better off without JD. Even JD’s returning memory seems to conspire against Robert. And as the detectives track down the killer, Robert helplessly waits for JD to recall the truth of their relationship and leave him yet again.

But if they survive the investigation, they just might find love in retrograde.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, male/male sexual practices, masturbation, violence.


It can hardly be called a romance, but this! This is my happy place.

Two persons meet, sparks fly, bodies ignite and hearts beat faster. Sometimes too, dysfunctional needs meet within the chemistry,  two pieces fitting precisely together, clicking to form an unrelenting machinery that elates and torments,  heavenly and hellish, and tying people together as surely as domestic bliss.

No PTSD, no traumatic childhood, no implacable fate. It’s just who they are,  even if it’s not all what they are, and it’s just how they fit. It’s simple, complicated and twisted, and that’s how A.M. Riley tells them. Two men ruining their love story and being the architects of their own  disaster somewhere in LA between the hispanic part of town and the cosiest areas, back and forth through the late 80s, the AIDS plague, the riots, the here and now where someone has been murdered, where life is providing an unexpected small reprieve alongside new complications and twists.

Do I like the characters? Do I root for the couple? No. Yes. Perhaps. It depends. I don’t know. Sort of. My feelings are an ambivalent combination, and I like it that way. What I know however is that J.D and Robert burn the page;  they made me hold my e-reader in a death grip, played with my nerves and my heart, wrapped me up in their reality, messed with me until the very end, and sent me to a fucked-up happy place where it hurts good and I’m high on angst, emotions and whirling thoughts.

That’s not all there is to it though. Good writing, setting, characterization, plotting and construction contribute to build this solid story that spins a fine mystery web, captures a dynamics beyond the emotional roller-coaster as well as snapshots of times and places. The fact that it ends on an open road you’re free to imagine as you wish is an added bonus.

Flaws? Sure. There are repetitions and a few typos. It’s within a hair’s breadth of being OTT at moments, and even though it stayed on my right side of drama, it might be someone else’s vision of hell-on-page. It is not perfect, but my pleasure to read never faltered. So there. 5 stars.

As a final note : you thought I had all forgotten about  Bill Turner, didn’t you? He is a secondary character, yet he is the common thread in the series… Just know that he sent me running for book #2.



Ami : 5 stars

Title: Amor En Retrogrado (Bill Turner #1)3212631
Author: A.M. Riley
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages: 239 pages
Release Date: January 22nd 2008
Purchase Links: Loose Id, ARe, Amazon

7 comments on “REVIEW: “Amor En Retrogrado (Bill Turner #1)” by A.M. Riley

  1. syleegurl
    April 1, 2014

    Wow…5 stars from both you and Ami? Yup…definitely adding this one. I’m curious about the non-romance element…I may need to pick your brain some more about what to expect.


    • ilhem3606
      April 1, 2014

      I can’t tell much because all the excruciating fun is to discover them as they are bared layer after layer. But :

      – it doesn’t end badly
      – it is definitely about a dysfunctional relationship addressed as such. It’s what hurts the most : them being so much in love, and yet unable not to damage it. No abuse though.
      – Mostly, the characters are not written to be lovable and the reader has to take them as they are. Bill is the exception. He definitely holds my little heart in his hands after book #2.

      That is all have to say! :D


    • Ami
      April 1, 2014

      It is quite an emotional rollercoaster, Susan. And this is a dysfunctional relationship at its best.


    • katinka
      April 2, 2014

      My thoughts exactly!


  2. Bookfanatic
    April 9, 2014

    I loved this book so much. I read it, then read it again. I think it’s maybe the second book I’ve every done that with. Book 2 was good but the first one just blew me away.


    • ilhem3606
      April 9, 2014

      I’m like you. I really liked book #2, but it didn’t rock my world like book #1. I didn’t connect with Becket and Jeremy like I did with J.D. and Robert. I found them less charismatic, individually and as a couple, and I felt like the story didn’t dig as deep as “Amor” did.


      • ilhem3606
        April 9, 2014

        I’m also curious about the re-read : did it pack the same punch?


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This entry was posted on April 1, 2014 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Ilhem and tagged , , , .

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