Title: Wake Up Call (Porthkennack Book 1)
Author: J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: April 17, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 320
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Read book blurb here
I really enjoyed J.L Merrow's "The Plumber's Mate" series, so I began "Wake Up Call" looking forward to this story of two men: Dev, who comes to Cornwall with a purpose - find the woman who gave him up for adoption - and Kyle, who comes to escape - from his stressful career, his diagnosis of narcolepsy and the boyfriend he pushed away.
"Wake Up Call" is set in Porthkennack on the Cornish coast - windy, rocky and wild with steep cliffs cascading down to sandy beaches (think Game of Thrones location) - a former fishing village that now depends heavily on tourism. You really get a sense of the bleak, gray atmosphere. This is no light and happy Brighton Beach setting.
Dev meets a local girl Ceri at the Square Peg cafe; you just know there's a story behind her defensiveness and anger and some local "mean girls" hint at an incident that happened a while ago ... but then this subplot sputters out.
The reason Dev comes to Cornwall is to find the mother who gave him up for adoption. Yet there are only a few scenes in the book that deal with this, and then this subplot sputters out. Dev's sister gets in trouble with the law and Kyle is able to help get her representation, but the whole situation is quickly resolved.
I felt the time devoted to these subplots really dragged down the flow of the story and took away from a relationship that already had enough conflict and contrast in background, interests, status, outlook, etc. Both Kyle and Dev are given to long internal monologues and the end result is too little action and too much introspection. Kyle and Dev's sexual dynamic is interesting, but their relationship is also fraught with too many misunderstandings, slammed doors and stalking off.
I realize that other readers may not have the same experience with "Wake Up Call" and find the pace reflective and feel the internal conflicts give texture to the love story, but personally I could not get past the abortive subplots and the slow pace. My rating is 3 stars, but then again ...Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV).