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REVIEW: “Hard Fall” by James Buchanan


Deputy Joe Peterson is Mormon and in the closet. Then ex-con Kabe Varghese lands in town on parole. When a tourist falls off the mountain, Joe finds he needs the help of this cliff climbing adrenaline junky to solve the case. Will Kabe tear him apart or does Joe need to fall hard before he can start living?


That’s enjoyable smut fun, one where there is actually  a story left once you’ve put the smut aside : Deputy Joe Carpenter is a cop, a climber, a Mormon, gay, and he has a hard time making all the pieces of him fit together. Well, the gay part especially is hard to fit in.

Let’s start with the niggles :

It had the usual scorned female suitor, the no-nonsense supporting lesbian friend, two bigot villains, and a total lack of subtlety as far as those characters are concerned. One scene especially, around the 80% mark where everything is culminating in a closed-door drama,  is farcical and made me lose interest for the last 20%. Boo.

It couldn’t be more obvious that the mystery is only a pretext, and it is so irrelevant in the story development that I even wonder why the author bothered with a mystery in the first place. Also, Kabe is hot and Joe’s love interest, but I can’t say that I have a strong grip on his character. Meh.


The romance is BDSMish smutty with a lot of romantic moments, but an unusual and welcomed lack of big declarations of love. Smut, romance, no sap. Woot.


I really liked Joe Carpenter. I liked his voice, I liked being in his head, I liked all those pieces of him : the closet romantic, the mountain lover, the climber, Kabe’s lover, the raging hormones and the enamoured gawking, the honesty, the man who came to terms with his faith and his sexuality with little arrangements,  only to see this fragile balance being disturbed by something deeper than a tumble in Vegas. I liked how the author made all the pieces snap together without making it too easy and contrived, and how Joe worked for it.


I had niggles and I didn’t enjoy the very last part as much as the rest of the book, but Joe made the book, I liked Joe, ergo I liked the book. It made me muse over how much of a difference a character can make.





Ami : 3,5 stars


Title: Hard Fall
Author: James Buchanan
Publisher: MLR Press
Pages:   215 pages
Release Date:  February 2009
Purchase links : MLR Press, AReAmazon

2 comments on “REVIEW: “Hard Fall” by James Buchanan

  1. Kristie
    April 23, 2015

    This sounds good, despite the issues. Woohoo! :)


    • ilhem3606
      April 23, 2015

      It is good. Joe Carpenter is an endearing, fully fleshed out character and you can’t not like him and be interested in his story. So yes, Woohoo! :)


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This entry was posted on April 22, 2015 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Ilhem and tagged , , .

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