Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: The Real Finn

The Real FinnThe Real Finn by Hollis Shiloh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Quite possibly the best book I have ever read.

Shad is an undercover vice detective that always works alone. He has a hard enough time trusting himself, and doesn't want or need a partner complicating his assignments by endangering his life. So when he is paired with a fragile looking boy whose helpless eyes and dark curls are more appealing than practical, he can't imagine a worse situation than having Finn underfoot.

Finn's fragile frame and vulnerable eyes are misleading; he's a survivor. Life taught him the hard way that the only person he can rely on is himself. He's an expert at creating alternate personas by immersing himself into his characters while working undercover.

Outcasts in their own world, the two men, despite their best intentions, are irresistibly drawn towards each other. Working undercover proves to be more complicating than either man anticipated, but drawing deeply on the well honed skills each has acquired over the years, they persevere in spite of looming danger. Unbeknownst to them, the most dangerous threat to their blooming love is not the enemy that they know, but the one that is hidden deeply within.

I have long been a fan of Hollis Shiloh's work. The complexity of her characters draws readers in. Using words to draw dynamic pictures, it is impossible not to be carried away on the emotional currents found in each story. While consistently entertaining readers of the M/M romance genera, Hollis continues to branch out by offering stories from varied landscapes, including the paranormal, historical, sweet, erotic and contemporary. Known for happy endings, her characters are always honest, living life as it comes and growing from their experiences.

The Real Finn touches on the darker side of life, where shadows exist and only the strong survive. With flashbacks depicting child abuse and neglect, this is not always an easy story to read. As a survivor myself, I connected to the raw emotions portrayed; no punches were pulled here and, while not graphically detailed, the story is honest and true. Using scenes with humor, tender emotionalism and pure happiness to balance the darkness so that the story maintains its impact without being overly disturbing to readers.

While the author generously provided a copy in exchange for this review; I must confess that the story brought me to tears. Not pretty tears, but the sobbing, snotty nosed, red eyed, messy kind that only deep emotions can invoke. It was truly my privilege to read this story, it deeply impacted my emotions, and is one I'll be looking back on for quite some time. Not taking the opportunity to experience this profoundly intricate story would be a true crime.

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