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PRE-RELEASE REVIEW: “Caught!” by J.L. Merrow



You can run from the past…but the past runs faster.

Shamwell Tales, Book 1

Behind Robert’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job teaching in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean works in pest control, rides a motorbike, and lives on a council estate. On the face of it, he shouldn’t have anything in common with Robert’s bow-tie, classic-car style and posh family background. Yet Robert is helpless to resist Sean’s roguish grin, and a rocky, excruciatingly embarrassing start doesn’t keep the sparks between them from flaring.

Despite Robert’s increasingly ludicrous attempts to keep his past where it belongs, his past hasn’t read the memo. And soon his secrets could be the very things that drive Sean away for good…

Warning: Contains the alarming misadventures of a pest control technician, a stepsister with a truly unfortunate name, and a young man who may have more bow ties than sense.


In my previous life I worked as a psychiatric nurse and I had the opportunity to care, and work with people who lived with DID. I was always fascinated that the human mind could take on completely different personalities; that they’d speak with different accents, walk with a different swagger, gesticulate in a certain manner – each differently with each personality. It’s incredible, right?  Well, Merrow’s ability to write in first person POV is verging on that same uncanny command of characterization.  Now, I’m not saying that people with DID are just “pretending” to be different people – I would never, ever disrespect anyone in such a manner, or suggest that their experiences are illegitimate, but do you see how I’m saying that Merrow’s characters are created so wholly, with such distinct voices that it’s simply amazing?  She did it in Muscling Through and she’s done it now with Caught!. *stands to applaud*

So, moving forward, Caught! is written in MC Robert’s first person POV.  He’s the sweet, witty, unassuming, and totally ADORKABLE character that made the whole story shine.  His descriptions, his retorts, his perspectives and his words wooed me.  Just like Al in Muscling Through, Robert’s voice is distinct and gives us a very intimate perspective as the story unfolds.  Meanwhile, the object of his desire is a gruff, green-eyed, motorbike-riding, redhead.  I do believe that there’s no need to mention anything else about him, because – GREEN-EYED, MOTORBIKE-RIDING, REDHEAD. Ahem.  And then there’s Robert’s friend and confidante, Rose, who is sublime in all her “rough around the edges” glory.  Oh, and Robert’s sister-in-law, who has the best, most hilarious nickname ever.  I’d read the whole book just for that nickname – for the way it’s introduced and remarked upon.  Marvellous.

Caught! has the appeal of a fantastic opening scene that draws you in, a very British setting and language, a wonderful sense of humour, a bisexual character that creates great discussion and introspect unlike any I’ve read before, a thrilling description of a motorbike ride that took me back 20 years, fantastic characters and more.  But not quite enough…  The story ARC is pretty predictable and the MCs fall into the usual problem of miscommunication which leads to trouble in paradise.  If the storyline was more interesting, if the drama wasn’t caused by the usual antics, I would have gladly given this 4.5 stars.  But as it stands, I still thoroughly enjoyed being inside Roberts head.



Caught72lgTitle: Caught! (Shamwell Tales, #1)
Author:  J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publisher
Pages:  275
Release Date:  August 19th, 2014
Purchase Links: Samhain

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This entry was posted on August 11, 2014 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Sue and tagged , , .

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