Audio Review: Cate Ashwood – A Forced Silence

forcedAuthor: Cate Ashwood
Reviewer: Sandra
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: MM Contemporary

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Narrator: Scott R. Smith
Summary: The last person forensic pathologist Sam McKenna expects to see at pub night is Adam, the guy who made his life hell in high school. The attraction is instant, but Adam isn’t gay and Sam has no interest in pursuing him. Still, the leftover animosity from their teenage years isn’t enough to extinguish the lust growing between them. After both are called to the scene of a horrific murder, Adam admits he’s not as straight as he led Sam to believe and they seek comfort and distraction in each other’s arms. One night becomes many as the murder investigation intensifies, but when Adam is faced with losing Sam, he is forced to make a choice: to break his silence, or to give up everything for the job he loves.
Review: I really didn’t like this book. Nothing worked for me. The plot, the characters, the “chemistry”, the “twists”, nada. All that would have been true anyway, but the audio version actually contributed as well. I just did not like the narration. He did that thing where every sentence goes up at the end, not like a question, but like a 5th grader reading in class. Add to that the awkwardly timed pauses and it felt like listening to Siri read me a book.

I really didn’t feel any connection to either character. It’s presented as an enemies to lovers since Adam kinda tormented Sam in high school, but as soon as they reconnect they hook up and it immediately becomes fluffy lurve. So no sexy tension, no exciting drama, just them fucking on the sly due to Adam being closeted and Sam being way too chill about that. I get that you shouldn’t force someone to come out of the closet, it has to be their decision. But even when Sam finally realizes this will be an obstacle, he says it’s a problem because he wants to protect Adam, how he couldn’t live with himself if they slipped up and Adam was outed. The fuck? Is it so wrong to say “this isn’t fair to me”? Is it so wrong to say “I deserve a relationship that is out in the open”? Sam just presented as a way too perfect goody goody that was honestly letting Adam walk all over him by keeping him hidden.

Then Adam. Again, people stay in the closet for their own reasons. But his excuse of safety in the line of duty might have flown for a cop or a firefighter, but a paramedic? Sorry, I’m not biting. He just came off cowardly to me. And true his student should have been expelled, but he also didn’t handle it well, and escalated things unnecessarily.

About halfway through I started skimming sex scenes, because who cares? I felt no emotional connection and so they were just kinda boring after the first one.

I thought the murder mystery would be more relevant to the plot. Instead it presents early on as a catalyst yet is wrapped up with almost no fanfare. Then it comes up again in the last chapter as what I’m assuming is supposed to be an exciting cliffhanger. But again, who cares? I don’t think this is a spoiler because it was obvious there was more going on than what was initially presented. It just seemed like a cheap tactic to get you interested in the next book.

Apparently this author’s and narrator’s styles just aren’t for me. This book certainly wasn’t the worst and I’m sure some people like it, it follows a pretty basic romance formula so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that others would enjoy this. But personally I’ll hesitate before picking something up from these two again.

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