High Concept Review


High Concept
Author: Whitley Grey
Publisher: Loose ID LLC
American release date: September 9, 2013
Format/Genre/Length: Novel/M/M Mystery/329 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★ ★

Reviewer: Julie Hayes

Beck Stryker is a detective with the Denver PD. He recently lost his partner, Danny, and the wound is still fresh. As is his shoulder injury, although he doesn’t complain, just grins and bears it. He has stayed close to Danny’s widow, Marybeth, and their two sons. He’s the only father figure the boys have left. But not close enough to reveal the truth to Marybeth—that Beck is gay—and neither is he out at work, although Danny knew, and never judged him for it.

A string of home invasions, one of which resulted in Danny’s death, brings in FBI profiler Zach Littman. Zach has his own personal demons—he was seriously injured during an interview with serial killer Xav-D.

Beck and Zach met two years previously, while working on another case. At the time, Zach—who is gay and out—was in a committed relationship with Dean. But that has gone south, after Dean reveals his addictions and won’t deal with them. Although Dean is clean now—according to him—they are just friends, but Dean wants to go back to the way they were while they were still together. Beck, under the influence of too much alcohol, kissed Zach and Zach rejected him, because of Dean. But neither has forgotten that kiss, and Zach is now single.

There have been three home invasions, one involving a local politician who is up for election. His wife and five-year-old daughter were killed. He was tortured and tied up. The choice of victims in these cases makes no sense.

Pursuing various leads, Beck and Zach can’t deny their mutual attraction, although they try. The case begins to take on sinister overtones. Beck is trying to hold his partner’s family together, but is he giving Marybeth mixed signals? Zach is forced to confront Xav-D again, which doesn’t thrill him—he almost didn’t survive the first encounter.

Can two strong men give when giving is required, and can they find a way to overcome the obstacles in their way?

I totally loved this book from the beginning. Whitley Grey is a great writer with an incredible command of the English language. Her carefully chosen words bring each scene to life, visually and in terms of all the other senses as well.

I loved exploring these two sexy men’s psyches, getting to know them, watching as they struggled against their mutual attraction, for different reasons. I also loved the police procedural story as much as the romance. I like that doesn’t play to stereotypes, as much m/m romances are wont to do, with one man almost assuming the woman’s role in the relationship. These two men are unquestionably masculine. The sex is incredibly hot and smokin’!

This is a great book, and I understand there will be more. I can’t wait. Great job, Ms. Grey—bravo!

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