Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: Salvage by Con Riley

by Con Riley
Published September 16th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspinner Press
Formats Available: .epub, .mobi, html, pdf, Paperback

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Five years ago, an accident fractured Gabe Cooper’s family. Believing it was broken beyond repair, Gabe and his best friend Jamie Carlson left Minnesota behind for San Diego sunshine and college. Now another crisis brings Gabe home to help his ailing father, and he finally has to face the guilt that kept him away for so long.

Scott Stark also returns to Minnesota, with his young niece and nephew in tow, shouldering new family responsibilities. While Gabe comes to grips with his past, Scott struggles to accept his present role as a substitute parent, caring for two children, each with different needs. As Gabe and Scott get to know each other, reclaiming family life almost seems possible. Only two things stand in the way of love: Gabe’s unresolved relationship with Jamie, and Scott’s plan to leave Minnesota as soon as he can. Both men will have to accept past mistakes if they want to salvage a future together, and time is running out.

The long drive from and then back home after a hard long day's worth of travel and all sorts of meetings took their toll. It was getting dark so I just decided to lull myself to a good read using the audio option on my Kindle and turned on Salvage. Mind you, a mechanical voice narrating any story could ruin any book, be they a zero star or a 5 star. Then again, it really depends on how an author tells their story.

Listening to the robotic and dead-panned narration of Salvage, it took me some time to get through the ins and outs of Gabe's struggles. The author, Con Riley, did not really delve too much information on the whys. It was quite a difficult struggle which only turned to confusion when the troubles of Scott came in through the raging storm. And then things shifted. Within minutes, I got hooked, got sunk and totally lost myself into the story that was both dramatic and fast paced. By the time we arrived home, the book I "audio" read was done.

Halfway through, I found the story telling a little choppy - and not because of the mechanical voice. There were moments where I was listening to Gabe doing some stuff in his warehouse and then the scene shifted to the night before. This story is littered with back stories, flashbacks and anticipations. This type of writing should have turned me off, most of those who attempt this style turn me off, but this one got me hooked. It was like things were clarified at the opportune moment, that the lives of these men and their family were happening right in front of us readers and we were right observers within the story itself.

I must say I found this style strange, but I could not get unhooked. Needless to say, there was some drama and there were some things supposedly left unresolved then got resolved in a matter of a few pages. 

Reaching the Epilogue I was happy no dogs were harmed, the lives of Gabe, his sister and his father, Coop, were getting settled. Thinking this would just be a wrap-up, I concluded this was just going to be a 4 Star book or maybe a 3.5 Star. I was too hasty. 

The Epilogue did wrap up things within the family structure but that is not where it ended. This went on to iron out some of the unresolved stuff going on, it tightened the loose screws that could have ruined Gabe's and Scott's relationship and it gave hope to a new family. I love the dogs and I totally fell for the surprise at the last. Maybe I am a sucker for all things dogs, maybe I am a sucker for happy endings. Robotic narration or not, nothing could ruin this book. This was just a great read even I did listen to it. It made the long drive home seem fast, lost as I was looking out the endless darkness around me, seeing in my mind's eye the unfolding of a great story.

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