Review of: Tainted Life by Mel Gough (audiobook)

TITLE: Tainted Life (audiobook)
AUTHOR: Mel Gough
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: Sep 6 2019


Metropolitan Police detective Pete Tucker’s world comes crashing down when his wife sues for divorce and sole custody of their only son.
Desperate to forget his sorrows for a while, Pete seeks refuge in a Soho bar where he is approached by a sexy, funny, and clearly interested stranger. Photographer Liam Jackson is just the ticket for one oblivious night of perfect passion.
However, their attraction proves too intense for a one-night-stand. To his surprise, Pete finds that he’s game for something more – but his baggage soon gets in the way. Then Liam’s own dangerous secrets claw their way to the surface, and threaten to derail the budding romance.
Is their growing bond strong enough to weather the violent storms ahead?
A sweet and angsty m/m romance novella.

Narration: This was my first narration by Brian Meslar, and as long as the story is based in the US, it won’t be my last. Let me explain. Brian has an amazing voice, his cadence is great, and he’s able to throw accents really well. But…that was the problem for me. The narration was in a US accent, the book is based in England, and the characters are English (and one Scottish guy). It was distracting for me. I’m an American, but I lived in Scotland for ten years, so I can say the accents were really, really good. But yeah, distracting for me. I’ll be on the look-out for more MM books narrated by him, but so far, it looks to be mostly MFM ménage.

Story: For the story, Mel Gough was another first for me. I liked the book. I had actually wished it was longer and fleshed out the backstories a bit more. The romance angle was there, which I know is the point. But the backstories of the attack and the divorce seemed rushed and just kinda hanging there. So I’ll break down the points by character.

Pete is a detective for the Metropolitan Police. He’s going through a divorce, lost his partner because of divorce, and he’s fighting to see his son. This part of the story was a good representation of the awful condition of the family courts in the UK. The guy finds out his wife wants a divorce because she’s been having an affair with his partner for six months, and he loses his shit for a minute and throws a plate. She uses that to twist things. But that was one of the things hanging there, sort of. It’s solved…she backs down. But we, as the reader, have no idea why. Then at work, there was mention of him helping with a human trafficking case, but then nothing. But the niggle was stuck in my head.

Liam is a budding photographer, but he has to turn tricks on the side to make ends meet. He has a drug addict brother, and that part of the story gets finished off and gives the reader some excitement. However, Liam has a client that he’s been with once and has a closet full of kinky stuff. In memory, we learn he agreed not to use it on Liam. Instead, he just wants to tie him up. Okay, so the next meeting happens in the book, and it’s an all-out attack as soon as he walks in the door. I’m intrigued at this point! Tell me more! I’m excited to know he gets away, but ha! He gets hit by a car trying to get to Pete. But there’s maybe a few sentences on the attacker a little further in the book, and that’s the end of it.

For the characters together, I liked them and was cheering them on. I liked the romance parts a lot, and I felt the connection even though other reviewers didn’t. I think that’s why I gave the story a 3.5 instead of more. I wanted more with everything that was going on. There wasn’t anything that could have been taken out to make it better, but I think it was too much for a short story, if that makes sense.

I’ll be checking her list for a longer book and see that goes. I think she has a lot of potential as a writer, so I’m not giving up on her yet!

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of listening this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

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