REVIEW: Hitting Black Ice by Heloise West

The Official Description: (Don’t read this description if you’re going to read the book! It will spoil key details for you!)

Shawn is on the run from the law and love, to protect himself and anyone else involved. Until he meets Hunter, and he no longer wants to run.

ER physician’s assistant Hunter guards his heart carefully, but that doesn’t stop him from falling for the temp front desk clerk. He keeps his distance from relationships for a good reason but just can’t help himself when it comes to Shawn.

Forced into a hostage situation, buried passions explode in the aftermath, and sex in the supply closet brings both their hearts back to life. But as they explore their relationship, the past catches up with Shawn.

FBI agent Nick Truman has finally found his man, and when Shawn escapes, he focuses his attention on Hunter. Will Shawn sacrifice himself to save Hunter from the man who framed him for murder?

Just the facts: M/M Romance, gay main character, insta-love, contemporary, suspense, book 1 of series

My thoughts bit: I loved the first part of this novel. The whole story begins with Hunter who is working in a busy ER and has a bit of a crush on a new admin named Shawn. Right from the beginning, it’s clear that Hunter has a lot of emotional wounds that are still healing. His previous relationship became abusive and ultimately ended with a suicide that Hunter feels was in- part his fault.

There’s a lot going on in this book. The first part of the novel seems really authentic and genuine. Even a few pages in, West manages to make Hunter a sympathetic character. It’s obvious that he cares about people, he loves his job, but he’s also still healing. He seems like a real person… someone I’d want to get to know.

The depictions of trauma in the book are well-written and authentic feeling. I really enjoyed that Hunter stayed in character throughout the novel. No matter what came up for his character to deal with, he stayed true to the type of person he was.

The intrigue and suspense gear up quickly in Hitting Black Ice. Hunter and Shawn are caught up in a violent and deadly hostage-taking at the hospital. After a violent killing, being held at gunpoint, an outburst that nearly results in Shawn’s death… the two men get together in physical, affirmation of life sexual encounter in a storage room at the hospital. Even as Shawn candidly declares he’s only in it for the physical release… the two men are drawn to one another.

The pace of the novel changes at this point. At times it seems a bit too rushed because of the sheer volume of characters and plot points to remember. No one is quite what they seem and there are a few significant and surprising reveals. The attraction between Shawn and Hunter goes from physical to love a bit too quickly as the plot escalates.

When the end of the book arrived, I found myself a little bit unsatisfied. The end was abrupt and there are lots of loose ends. I assume that many of the unresolved plot-points will be taken up in the continuation of the series.

All in all a good read, and certainly enough that I’m curious to continue reading the series.

The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: mentions deaths/ murders in the past, active shooter in a crowd, description of hostage-taking by gunpoint, description of past suicide by firearm, description of the killing of dog, description of dog attack, description of almost fatal gunshot wound, description of car accident aftermath, descriptions of aftermath of abusive relationship.

Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel

I received an ARC of Hitting Black Ice by Heloise West from NineStar Press via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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