DUELING REVIEWS: Hell and Back by Dirk Greyson

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Author: Dirk Greyson
Book: Hell and Back
Page/Word Count: 200, 62K words
Categories: Gay Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L. C. Chase

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Seventeen years ago, Forge Reynolds fell in love… and had his heart broken. When Staff Sergeant Gage Livingston was brought into Forge’s Army field hospital, temporarily paralyzed, Forge sat with him, read his letters, answered his mail, and formed a connection he thought would last. But Gage was sent home, Forge transferred to a new post, and his letters to Gage went unanswered.

Now in the middle of a bitter divorce, Forge is sick and tired of his husband’s manipulation. He’s almost ready to make any sacrifice to get closure—then he finds Granger murdered execution-style in their home. Forge had no idea about Granger’s illicit activities, but the killers don’t believe that. They think Forge has something they want, and they’re coming after him.

When Forge’s lawyer arranges for professional protection, the last face Forge expects to see is Gage’s. Can he even contemplate a second chance for them after almost two decades, or will hoping only lead to more heartache? Before they can explore the possibilities, they must figure out what information Granger had—that others are willing to kill for—or that possible heartache could become a certainty.

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4✨s – Forge Reynolds was going through a bitter divorce with his husband, Granger. When he finds Granger murdered in their back yard, his attorney calls in security for him to protect him. His bodyguard is Gage Livingston who fell in love with Forge years ago when they were in the Army.

Okay, I have to get this out of the way. For some reason I found the names of the MCs in this book too similar and had a hard time remembering who was who. I know that’s silly, but it’s never happened to me before and I found it really distracting. Forge, Gage and Granger were just too much alike. So, that was a major pet peeve while reading the book.

That said, I didn’t dislike the book. I know that’s a weird way of saying it, but it feels more honest than saying I liked the book. I struggled with Forge’s character. He was surprised and happy to reconnect with Gage and I get that, but he was quick to jump into bed with him too just days after his husband was murdered. Forge struggles with loving Gage and dealing with the loss of his husband but seems to love onto Gage so easily. Forge was also written to be too delicate in my opinion.

I loved Gage. He was the perfect bodyguard, friend and was completely sympathetic of Forge’s situation with just losing his husband. Although he’s always loved Forge and is happy to reconnect, he’s gentle, caring and never pushes for more than Forge is willing to give.

So, all in all, I enjoyed this book.


4✨s – I really enjoy mystery/suspense, as well as a second chance romance, and this book lived up to my expectations. Forge and Gage were very complete characters, with background details supporting their quickly rekindled attraction. The account shows a lot of emotional swings for Forge, as he discovers unknown facts regarding his deceased husband. That made me wish for a much slower burn than what was shown. Granted, there were months of separation and a pending divorce between Forge and Granger, but you’d think a disturbing event like murder would slow Forge down more! Gage’s thoughts and emotions made him easy to relate to and he had some extra depth since his parents were key figures in the plot.

The mystery was intriguing, although it seemed more complicated than it needed to be. I also learned an awful lot about puzzle boxes! There were a couple of action scenes and realistic investigative techniques shown, but I wasn’t quite sold on the police allowing Forge to stay in the house after the murder. There was an emotional draw as Forge and Gage made discoveries about Granger, that made me want at least a little redemption for him in the end. The pace of the story dragged in a few spots and the levels of excitement and suspense weren’t terribly high, but the narrative still held my interest.

Dirk Greyson, aka Andrew Grey, is a prolific writer, always producing solid, well written stories. I have to admit, I tend to find his characters rather bland at times, but his tales always flow along easily. He adds the right amount of interest and details to keep my attention and anticipate the resolution. I can recommend this as a fine addition to his body of work.

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About Dirk Greyson:
Action, Adventure, Lust and Love. Dirk is very much an outside kind of man. He loves travel and seeing new things. Dirk worked in corporate America for way too long and now spends his days writing, gardening, and taking care of the home he shares with his partner of more than two decades. He has a Masters Degree and all the other accessories that go with a corporate job. But he is most proud of the stories he tells and the life he’s built. Dirk lives in Pennsylvania in a century old home and is blessed with an amazing circle of friends.

Where to find Dirk Greyson:

Dirk Greyson Amazon Author Page Dirk Greyson's Facebook Author Page Dirk Greyson on Goodreads Dirk Greyson on Twitter Dirk Greyson Website

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