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Forced into early retirement from his career as a SWAT officer for the city of Detroit, James Deacon knew that when he failed it would be a fall of epic proportions. He’s been living life by the tips of his fingers for over twenty years, and his new gig organizing a group of misfit military types into a functioning team—including his reluctant ex-fiancée—won’t return him to stable ground anytime soon.
Trevor Barrow has been on the move for the last seven years—hitting the road when relationships became too real or too much work. He’s home now, working in the hazardous world of bike messengers in the Motor City, and the only one of his eight siblings who knows he’s returned is his sister Cat. It’s not as if reconnecting with them matters anyway, because it’s likely he’ll be gone again soon.
Both men are lugging some heavy baggage, but when they chance upon each other in a dive bar it’s hard to deny their flaws are more like symbiotic quirks. Trevor’s backpedaling instincts and Deacon’s dance-dance party past may just be intersecting at a time when things are about to get explosive in Detroit.
It’s no secret that S.A. McAuley is one of my favorite authors, in fact, I’d confidently place her in my top three. Yet sadly, Damaged Package fell short of my expectations. There was no poetic prose, no intense scene-setting and no pulling on my heartstrings. Having said that, except for the latter, I don’t think that was McAuley’s intention with this book.
The story is indeed about two people who call themselves “Damaged Packages” – and they are. One is running from all possibility of commitment, while the other couldn’t care less about forming a long lasting, meaningful releationship.
Until they meet each other.
There’s quite a mystery/thriller component to the story that comes to conclusion pretty quickly at the end of the book. There were quite a few details to the “who did what and why” portion of the story which I felt could have been handled a little more carefully. It seemed we were just handed the reasoning and ending instead of experiencing them as the story unfolded. There was a lot of discussion about “trust”, “care” and “commitment”. I thought there’d be a great big display of undying love, or some great big crescendo as they risked life and limb to be together, or just something that showed how big a deal this was to them. But I didn’t feel anything.
I should make it clear that this book is essentially about an ex SWAT officer and a sexy twink. So, um, yeah. Me likey.
But at the end of the day, it’s hard for me to judge this book without thinking about McAuley’s An Immovable Solitude or Someday It Will Be. They really are amongst my favorite books of all time. Sadly, this was not.