Author: Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt
What I’m Talking About:
Mahir Hussain thought he knew how far he was willing go to bring down the criminal who’d ordered the deaths of three other undercover officers. What he hadn’t counted on was the dangerous attraction he can’t shake for the head of security who might be just as inclined to shoot him as work with him. But, Mahir soon realizes that things aren’t as they seem, and it quickly becomes apparent that solving the case could cost more than he’s prepared to give.
I really liked this story, and stayed up way too late for two nights running because I didn’t want to stop reading it. Mahir and Ridley are great characters, and the authors made getting inside Mahir’s head easy. I was genuinely worried for him from the very beginning of the story, each close call he endured creating more and more tension as the action progressed. Mahir’s personality seems to blur as Ridley’s becomes clearer, and with both their lives at stake, the attraction that absolutely crackles between them feels just as precarious as both men claim it to be.
Historically, I don’t enjoy non-con novels, and Hostile Ground treads close to it in the very beginning, but the highly believable mutual enthusiasm of the characters keeps these scenes from going over the line. Shortly afterwards, however, the situation between Mahir and Ridley begins to evolve in unexpected, yet highly enjoyable ways, making the rest of their journey somehow even more nerve-wracking (in a good way) in the process. Some stories go well with a drink or two and a retreat from the rest of the world, if you’re ever inclined to indulge and can manage it, and this is definitely one of them.
Fast-paced from beginning to end, Hostile Ground doesn’t let up on the main characters for a minute. The authors place both men in an increasingly dangerous situation, with few, if any, ties to anything resembling an anchor or safety net, making it easy to understand how some undercover officers and agents might succumb to the jobs they have to take in their efforts to save others. Mahir and Ridley know how precarious their respective positions are, and the choices they each make during the course of the story were alternately moving and troubling.
Hostile Ground is very dark in places, but never gratuitously so, and the action and tension driving the story hardly ever relents. Both characters have sacrificed so much of themselves to the job that their exhausted self-loathing is tangible, and I felt awful for them both on several occasions. That the sexual interactions in the story are often more edgy than tender isn’t a surprise, and yet it fits both characters extremely well. Overall, I had no idea what to expect from Hostile Ground, but I’m extremely glad that I had the chance to read it, and would jump at the chance to read anything by these two authors again.
My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot
About the Book:
Enemy territory is a dangerous place to fall in love.
After the deaths of three undercover cops investigating a drug ring in a seedy strip club in Seattle, Detective Mahir Hussain has been sent to finish the job. He joins the club’s security team in the hopes of finding enough evidence to bust the operation before the men in charge find a reason to put him in a shallow grave.
To protect the strippers, only gay men can work the club. Ridley, the cold and intimidating head of security, knows exactly how to test potential new hires—including Mahir. From the minute they meet, Mahir and Ridley engage in a dangerous dance of sex and mind games. Mahir needs to find his evidence before Ridley figures out he’s a cop—and before they both grow too close to betray one another.
As the game goes on, Mahir burrows deeper into the operation, where he learns there’s much more happening than meets the eye . . . and why every cop who made it this far has been silenced with a bullet.
Release Date: May 12, 2014
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: LGBTQ, m/m, suspense, crime drama
Format(s): paperback (362 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley
About the authors:
Aleksandr has been published for twenty years, both in print and ebook. He has ten years’ experience as a writing coach, book doctor, and writing teacher, and until recently worked as an editor in financial services.
After co-authoring the M/M military cult classic Special Forces, Aleksandr embarked on a quest to write gritty, edgy, sometimes literary M/M and gay fiction (much of which is romance/erotica)—the only way he can use his American Literature degree these days.
He’s been published with Heyne/Random House, Carina Press, Samhain Publishing, and others, and is an EPIC Awards winner and a Lambda Awards finalist.
Connect with Aleks:
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.
L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).
Thanks for the great review, B! This sounds really interesting, however, I have to admit, I do not know what you mean by a non-con. Could you explain that term for me, please?
Hi Una! I’ll be glad to! “Non-con” means non-consensual. Sex that is forced or coerced is generally a deal breaker for me in the stories I read. There’s not much that will ruin a book for me faster, in fact. Sometimes, there is a good bit of gray area, as was the case in a story I read that appeared to have a non-con scene, but afterwards, it was revealed that the struggle was part of a fully consensual BDSM scene. That changed things for me considerably. In the case of this story, specifically, there really wasn’t a question of consent. Both parties were fully on board, but one participant was surprised by just HOW on board he was. It ended up being kinda hot, really. 🙂 Does that answer your question? Thanks for stopping by!!
Thank you so much for answering my question. Yes, I understand now and I agree with you. It’s not something I would read unless I KNOW (in other words, the author makes clear) it is consensual play. I have not encountered this before and I appreciate your thoughts. This book still sounds interesting to me. Thank you.