“I don't know what we're doing here – you and me…I don't know what we are or what we can be, but this doesn't have to be about that. This can just be about…a chance. Taking a chance.” ~ Dianna Hardy, Broken Lights
Being a criminal investigator, like Michael May of 'Trowchester Blues' by Alex Beecroft, can be almost unbearable at times. Michael has been feeling himself slipping for the last year or so, and has been desperately trying to hold on to his rage; but the brutality of his present case unleashes all the fury he's been trying so hard to retain and he crosses the line by beating up their latest suspect. Michael knows that he's in big trouble; in an effort to maintain what little dignity he has left, Michael resigns rather than being fired, further embarrassing his colleges. Michael has no idea what he will do now that he's no longer a cop, but when his father dies, he is required to go back to the place that almost destroyed him. It's the last place Michael ever expects to find peace, much less, someone love.
Coming back to the town where he experienced so much trauma when he was young, is one of the hardest things Michael has ever had to do. It's not his ideal place to try to find himself, especially living in his father's house, where most of his nightmares, real or imagined, manifested. Michael can barely stand the sight of it, much less the smell. Even though Michael knows his father is dead, he can still hear his father's cruel taunts and remember the abusive behavior he endured. Michael's main goal in life has been to not be like his father; his latest failure at controlling his temper makes it obvious that he's failing. Michael takes a long look at his home town, trying desperately to find some degree of goodness he can cling to as he gets his feet under him again. As he surveys his surroundings, Michael finds a very unusual looking book store with an even more peculiar proprietor named Fintan Hulme. Michael is further surprised that Finn, as he prefers to be called, is flirting with him.
Finn lost the love of his life, Tom, five years ago, which caused him to totally reevaluate his life. He'd had enough of being a fence for stolen property—the secrecy, deceit, the threat of being caught, which before was thrilling, became too much to bear after Tom died. Finn dropped off the grid and bought a small bookstore in an obscure little town, where he hopes he can stay on the straight and narrow and become an honest member of society. Even though he knows Michael is a cop, he's intrigued by the man. Michael stirs feelings that Finn thought were long gone and despite the fact they are normally opponents, cop and criminal, he decides to go with his feelings and, once again, reach for love. When Finn's past comes back to haunt him, he has to make a choice. Will Finn let his future drag him back under, or will he fight to keep the honest life he's been nurturing for the last five years, including the man he loves?
It was delightfully refreshing to read about an older couple, weathered by life's joys, disappointments, and losses, yet still being able to reach out for love. Michael and Finn are marvelous, complex characters with good hearts, ultimately rewarded for making the right choices. The story is beautifully written in a lyrical style which clearly portrays the raw character of the town, his father's house, and the strong, but conflicted feelings Michael and Finn share. Michael and Finn's struggles grabbed my heart and I suffered and rejoiced right along with them. If you like a story with mystery, suspense, secrets, self development, second chances, love, and redemption, you may enjoy reading this book. Thanks, Alex, for the message that, no matter how down things seem, the light may be right around the corner.