The short blurb bit: Life can change in a split second. Lawyer and amateur boxer Matt Durant, is out at one of the many gay clubs in New Orleans. He’s curious about his attraction to men, curious, but taking it slow.
He meets Joey … they talk, dance and the night is going well. When the bathroom line up is too long, they both head out into the back alley to relieve themselves.
In the alley, Joe is the victim of hate-motivated crime. Matt steps in and defends Joey and one of the assailants is killed. Matt finds himself on the opposite end of the law for the first time in his life.
The descriptive bit: If you’re a fan of courtroom drama, the legal system or prison life-stories, then you’re probably going to enjoy this novel. Mead’s experience as a lawyer shines through in the writing.
It’s a slow-burn legal thriller. The story is much more about all stages of the legal process than it ever is about the characters.
Keep in mind, Matt is convicted of a crime in 2007 when there were far fewer protections under the law for LGBTQIA+ folks. Things have changed since 2007, but many of the issues discussed in the book are still relevant.
My thoughts bit: This novel is being promoted as LGBTQ fiction and that’s an interesting choice. When Matt is introduced into the story… and later when he’s arrested … he isn’t even completely convinced that he’s gay. He progresses to a relationship with a man during the course of the story unfolding but that’s secondary to the plot.
Most of Matt’s reactions to events in the novel were quite flat. As fascinating as the legal story was, I felt that I would have liked some more development of the characters.
I’ve written before that I don’t want gay to be the entire plot, but I felt like it really didn’t weigh heavily enough into the story.
The warnings bit: mentions of non-consensual sex, vivid description of killing, extreme violence, hate speech, homophobia, attempted sexual assault
I received an ARC of this book by Grace Mead from Clink Street Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.