Review: Mary Calmes – Kairos

Author: Mary Calmes
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Summary:

Sometimes the best day of your life is the one you never saw coming.

Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together.

Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same. Now they’ve stumbled across evidence that could change their lives: the impact of Kade’s tragic past, their job partnership, and any future Joe might allow himself to wish for….

Review:

I wanted to love this story. So much. And, in part, I did, though to be honest it’s pretty much a retelling of the attraction between the MCs in book one of the Marshalls’ series. But even then, I love Mary Calmes’s work, and I would have been okay with the book. But the total killer for me was Joe’s and Kade’s attitude toward Kade’s use of alcohol. Kade was so severely drug and alcohol addicted while undercover in the past that he didn’t know what he was doing (blackouts) and couldn’t verify whether he did or didn’t kill someone. In fact, he lost his job over it—and his family totally disowned him—most of whom were cops themselves.

He talks about his mandatory groups and counseling sessions and yet he freely drinks beer and wine and there’s not one mention of his need to be cautious around alcohol. In fact, their refrigerator is stocked with nothing but beer and wine! The reality of life for those with a problem like Kade’s is that he should never even think of having a drink again as it will likely lead to relapse and further addiction—and all its consequences. Later in the story, he speaks of the group meetings in a derogatory way and states that he wouldn’t even have needed them if he’d had Joe in his life. I hate to say this but there’s a meeting for that too—and it’s called Codependents Anonymous. Why do I care about this? I care because this disease impacted my life from early childhood onward. I’ve worked in the D&A field and I’ve had CODA counseling and participated in Twelve-Step Programs. I just find it remiss of the author to have been so cavalier about the whole subject. It greatly disappointed me and detracted from my pleasure in this story.

So, aside from my tangent on the alcohol issue, this was one of those books in which one MC is clueless to how much the other MC wants him. Both think the other is sexually active with other partners and both think the other is stunning and the only one in the world for them. Mostly the POV is Joe’s and mostly it’s Joe who expresses that his desire for Kade is so strong that he can’t even stand next to him for fear he’ll embrace him and reveal his feelings.

Joe comes from a good family, two strong parents and two brothers, all of whom own and operate Kairos Winery, but they rejected Joe when he came out so Joe took off to Chicago and has been a PI there ever since. Kade, a former cop, disgraced by what happened when he was undercover, became Joe’s partner and ultimately best friend. To be honest, though I enjoyed the story, it’s mostly because I fall for this plotline every time the author uses it. It’s not unique, and nothing like the wonderful world-building she did in the Change of Heart series, but it’s enjoyable, and if I didn’t feel so strongly about the poor representation of his addiction and recovery, I’d likely have made my rating higher.

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