Home the Hard Way by Z.A. Maxfield

Home the Hard Way by Z.A. Maxfieldon July 27, 2014
Pages: 230 pages
Dare Buckley has come home—or at least, he’s come back to Palladian, the small town he left as a teenager. After a major lapse in judgment forced him to resign from the Seattle PD, Palladian is the only place that’ll hire him. There’s one benefit to hitting rock bottom, though: the chance to investigate the mystery of his father’s suicide.

Dare also gets to reacquaint himself with Finn Fowler, whose childhood hero worship ended in uncomfortable silence when Dare moved away. But Finn isn’t the same little kid Dare once protected. He’s grown into an attractive, enigmatic stranger who neither wants nor needs what Dare has to offer.

In fact, Dare soon realizes that Finn’s keeping secrets—his own and the town’s. And he doesn’t seem to care that Dare needs answers. The atmosphere in Palladian, like its namesake river, appears placid, but dark currents churn underneath. When danger closes in, Dare must pit his ingenuity against his heart, and find his way home the hard way.

I decided to try this book because the cover was compelling and I really like the St. Nacho’s series written by the author. Unfortunately, I can’t point to anything in this book that I enjoyed.

It started out really well and about half way, it descended into this baffling sex, lies and murder mystery. I found the character of Finn Fowler to be a head scratcher. Finn Fowler was the “left behind” character as his friend Dare Buckley left Palladin Washington in search of greener pastures. Finn was the son of the town whore and everyone picked on him. He was called “Foullest”, a play on his last name Fowler. Dare Buckley, the beloved town son, always stood up for Finn until the suicide of his detective father rocked his foundation. Dare and his family quickly left town, and Finn was stuck fending for himself again.

Over a decade later, Dare returns to town after a disgraceful error in judgment cost him his job. And he seems while some things are still the same, others have changed drastically. For instance, Finn isn’t as helpless as he used to be, and now Dare was the one who needed help putting his life back together.

This book was dark and never really got better. I never felt settled reading this book, not even at the end. I never quite understood Finn. I get that he had to create an environment he could control since almost everything around him was out of his control, but I didn’t understand what he truly desired. Bill Fraser and Dare Buckley, made sense but Finn, I can’t wrap my head around. The BDSM aspect to this story did NOT work for me and I found it disturbing. It was almost like Finn was broken inside just as much as Dare and Bill. I thought the author would somehow try to fix all three of them together. All three and the whole town seemed to be pretty messed up with their secrets and lies.

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