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Just when the pieces begin to add up, danger blows them all apart…
MA1 Iskander Ayhan’s orders are simple: stay with Admiral Dalton’s son as a plainclothes bodyguard while the kid attends university classes. So typical—a high-ranking officer abusing Navy resources for unnecessary security.
It isn’t long before Iskander realizes there’s more to his assignment than protecting the kid from benign harassment by homophobic classmates. Behind those piercings, eyeliner, and bad attitude, Troy Dalton is scared. Truly, deeply, scared.
Troy is indeed hiding something. Iskander is the only one who’s ever taken his fears seriously, which gives him hope. Yet Troy isn’t sure one lone, armed-to-the-teeth bodyguard is enough to keep him safe, especially since he can’t risk telling Iskander the truth.
As Iskander slowly gains Troy’s trust, the walls start coming down. And before they know it, the warmth between them explodes into real heat. Until suddenly Iskander realizes he’s a magnet for danger, not a shield.
Now he doesn’t know how to keep Troy safe—stay close, or get as far away from him as possible.
Whether or not karma is punishing me for punching Billy in preschool so I got to snatch his trike, this book happened to me.
Having read several of the excellently written Market Garden short stories — an Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt collaboration — I was eager to try out a solo Witt. I realize it’s no secret that Voinov is the one who has the way with words, so it’s really not like I expected Walls of Troy to be up to par with their joint projects. But this far a cry from it? With Witt’s track record and +/- 17 books coming out in 2014 alone (!!!), I’m like *gurgle* where did this amateurish vibe come from? But perhaps this is part of the issue? I’m not going to claim that pushing out so many books in one year will come at the expense of the overall quality of an author’s work as a rule, but oh boy, in this case it definitely does.
Meet MC Iskander, as the bodyguard takes you to his new job in a bland first person narrative. There’s no doubt that Iskander should be perceived as a badass dude. The author relies on a stream of ‘fuck this shit’, ‘this is bullshit’ and ‘I couldn’t be fucking happier’ comments, interspersed with some teeth-grinding, to do the trick. However, Iskander may not look forward to protecting a Senator’s son (the Troy from the title) who is 13 years his junior, but that doesn’t stop him from experiencing cheesy instalust upon their first meeting (“he was lean with beautifully toned arms. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he had a set of washboard abs underneath that loose, faded T-shirt”).
Despite the blurb summarizing the rest of their ‘if, when and how’ they end up together, the attempts of these 2 guys at getting it on are so spectacularly WONKY, that I can’t resist getting back to that part in a bit..
Let’s start with the plot though. All the MCs’ fright and sense of impending doom in the world cannot disguise the fact that it’s wafer-thin and painfully predictable. Iskander’s new job is to accompany the Admiral’s son, who has received a few nasty notes about his sexuality, to college and sit with him through his classes. Dressing the 13 years older tough-looking fellow in plainclothes apparently works miracles. No one thinks anything’s weird about Troy’s new accessory, there’s no mention of anyone even glancing their way.
In the meantime, Troy’s behavior is analyzed in excruciating detail by Iskander. When someone startles the boy by accidentally dropping his school books, Iskander’s brain explodes in endless, highly-repetitive analysis, eventually pegging the boy as a PTSD victim with dangerous secrets. He’s not above a dash of melodrama either. “What are you so afraid of, Troy?”, “What’s happened to you, Troy? And how do I protect you?” With the endless possibilities for retrospection the first person narrative already offers, it boggles the mind that the author still feels the need to introduce an ‘infodump friend’ who offers ‘helpful’ comments like “No shit? “Oh shit” and “Ah shit” when Iskander, AGAIN, dishes up all his (baseless) fears for a threat that’s lurking in the shadows…. ooooh, the suspense thickens..
…in Iskander’s head.
Halfway through the book, the ‘fuck this and fuck that’ bodyguard from the beginning has turned into a guy who stutters his way through his chats with the Admiral’s kid, not finishing sentences (“Because I…” I stopped, and when he faced me, I swallowed.). There are multiple references to him chewing on his lip nervously or biting his inner cheek. For me as a reader, the idea of him being a bodyguard is laughably unconvincing. He feels more like an insecure peer with a crush on his friend than a much older man capable of professionally managing his task. Iskander having a chat with his employer is only a small example:
“He’s my son, Iskander.”
“Understood, sir.” I whispered. I shifted my weight. “Have you, uh…”
He tilted his head. “Have I what?”
I swallowed. “Have you ever noticed any signs of PTSD in your son?”
I would have fired that whispering, fretting, insecure idiot that I pay to protect my son on the spot.
I definitely wouldn’t have allowed my unpredictable, PTSD-angsty son to be taken to a shooting range instead! WTF? (though maybe not so WTF when you’re from the US? I dunno.. benefit of the doubt here, I suppose..)
The Admiral likely doesn’t notice Iskander’s questionable mental state because his own son converses in the exact same manner. They’re identical in their expressions and dialogue, these MCs. They both awkwardly ‘uhm’, ‘uh’ and ‘gulp’ and ‘swallow’ their way through their sentences. In general, it’s difficult to overlook the insufficient vocabulary knowledge showcased in this book, glaringly obvious in the ‘I swallowed/he swallowed’ (word count: 52) and ‘I gulped/he gulped’ (word count: 18). The editor also should’ve picked up on this.
Dear me, I need to cut this review short.
Can I just say that I’m at a loss for words when it comes to the revelation of the real threat? You’d think that all the hoopla of building and blossoming angst among an entire team of bodyguards must guarantee that Troy has at least angered a branch of the Yakuza, that are now out to chop off his fingers and toes one by one, right? RIGHT?! Well, I’m not going to spoiler this for you, but let’s just say that I pulled an eye-muscle from the rolling that went on upon the Big Reveal..
Running out of review space here, so let’s fast-forward to the sex!
HOW MANY COCKBLOCKS DOES IT TAKE UNTIL YOU GET TO THE SEXINESS?
Many, SO MANY many physical and mental cockblocks. I started counting and writing down at least 14 cockblocking excuses for the MCs to not make out…but decided to hide ‘em all behind a spoiler tag on Goodreads and leave you with a taste of the amount of cock-softening frustration to expect instead: “we shouldn’t, I’m your bodyguard”, “We shouldn’t because..your dad”, “We should, but here comes the dog”, “We shouldn’t, the danger”, “we shouldn’t because..exams”, “we should, but I’m not ready”, “This is dangerous”.
…trying to establish why this book could be a win for you, and looking at it from a cock-eyed angle, I suppose you may enjoy the plain and simple ‘bodyguard needs to protect traumatized pretty boy and falls in love with him’ fairytale that’s spiced up with a bit of suspense. As long as you have low expectations and cram this book in-between a series of great reads, you’ll be fine. I have a feeling that if you didn’t mind the plotting, inconsistencies and writing issues in Cut & Run (to name a popular book with a somewhat similar feel to it), you probably won’t have the issues I have with Walls of Troy either. Besides, I don’t like suffering on my own so, chop chop, please give this a go! Good luck!
Title: Walls of Troy
Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: October 7th 2014
Purchase Links: Amazon