Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Title: Crook
Author: Michael Gouda
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-537-1
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx

Ned Fickler seems to attract trouble when he least expects it. He hasn’t found a job he likes, but that doesn’t mean Ned is willing to go poor. Besides, he needs a bit of adventure in his life, or rather misadventure, to keep his days exciting. Each action causes Ned to create a new layer of lies designed to hide his secrets from his boyfriend. To be a Crook in love with a policeman seems unlikely but Ned, in his own way, does love the handsome Detective. While he juggles the good and bad parts of his life, Ned has to figure out how to stay alive and slightly ahead of the criminals who are capable of ending his young life without a second thought.

Michael Gouda’s Crook takes us on the unbelievable escapades of a criminal with just enough common sense to stay ahead of the eight ball. He does a wonderful job of showing Ned’s maturity level by addressing his inability to keep his knickers on and see the blessing he has in his boyfriend. Thank goodness over time Ned begins to slow down and starts to take the Detective’s love for him seriously.

I liked Ned’s tenacity. He had a good mind but seemed to lack the drive to use it for a more legal venture until he finally found a job that he felt comfortable with. His ability to piece some of the puzzles together showed he was smart, but I don’t think he gave himself the chance to see just how brilliant he could truly be. That and the outside influences of criminal elements sent him on a downward spiral for a time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a lucky criminal in all my days. There were points in this story I expected him to be found in a gory mess.

Then we come to the portions of this tale that I wasn’t mentally prepared to read. The derogatory names Ned was called by various characters snuck up on me. I personally like to be warned when the race card comes out to play in a not-so-nice fashion.

Mr. Gouda knows how to twist a story in more knots than a super rollercoaster. Just when I thought, ok he’s reached his limit, yet another event occurs and Ned sank deeper into the quicksand surrounding his young life. The author does a great job of cleaning up all the confusion in Ned’s life, but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the Detective. By the end of the story, I was wondering which part of his anatomy was making the decisions when it came to Ned. I believe his heart and an organ down south overrode his brain on quite a few occasions.

Crook is an entertaining story that will definitely leave your head spinning.

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