Review: Absolution, by Sloane Kennedy


cover-sloanekennedy-absolutionAfter four years abroad, artist Jonas Davenport has come home to start building his dream of owning his own art studio and gallery. But just as he’s ready to put the darkness of his past behind him forever, it comes roaring back with a vengeance.

The only thing keeping ex-cop Mace Calhoun from eating his own gun after an unthinkable loss is his role in an underground syndicate that seeks to get justice for the innocent by taking the lives of the guilty. Ending the life of the young artist who committed unspeakable crimes against the most vulnerable of victims should have been the easiest thing in the world. So why can’t he bring himself to pull the trigger?

After years of fighting in an endless, soul-sucking war, Navy SEAL Cole Bridgerton has come home to fight another battle – dealing with the discovery that the younger sister who ran away from home eight years earlier is lost to him forever. He needs answers and the only person who can give them to him is a young man struggling to put his life back together. But he never expected to feel something more for the haunted artist.

Cole and Mace. One lives by the rules, the other makes his own. One seeks justice through the law while the other seeks it with his gun. Two men, one light, one dark, will find themselves and each other when they’re forced to stand side by side to protect Jonas from an unseen evil that will stop at nothing to silence the young artist forever.

But each man’s scars run deep and even the strength of three may not be enough to save them…


Dates read:
Edition read:
April 1, 2016
Sloane Kennedy
Contemporary, M/M/M, GLBT+
358 e-book pages
1st person, multiple POVs
The Protectors, book 1
May 8-9, 2016
Kindle Edition
See the book on GoodReads.

Rating:     ⭐️.5

Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Last week I was hanging out with my parents and some neighbors, shooting the shit over margaritas, as one does. My neighbor was telling a story and describing something admittedly ridiculous, and my mom responded with “Well, that’s…different.” I hooted with laughter and said, “You do know that’s Southern for saying something’s tacky, trashy, or hideous, right?”

Yes, well. Perhaps you needed to be there. There was plenty of tequila to go around, after all.

So this book. I’ll set aside the Southernisms and get to the point.

I did not like this book.

By 20% I was chanting DNF, DNF, DNF in my head so much that my silent incantation was almost louder than the words I was reading.

Alas, I kept with it until the bitter end. Know why? Fuck knows, I think my reasons are:

  • Reviews and ratings — that doesn’t upset me because we all get to have an opinion. Nobody’s wrong with liking this book. I just wish I’d get around to learning to read a freaking SAMPLE before giving in to my one-click addictions when ratings are so high.
  • A combination of stubbornness and eternal optimism — maybe someday I’ll get over one of those.

I’m going to attempt (HA!) to keep this short because I need to move on to better things.

I found the writing to be mediocre. Just…meh. Lots of telling, lots of inner monologue, and the alternating first-person POV of three characters did not work for me in the slightest, even with each character narrating his own chapter. Also, sentences and phrases ending with the prepositions, especially ’at’ and ‘for,’ are near the top of my list of my grammar peeves.

I found the story arc of the mystery/suspense/thriller to be overpowering of the romance, ridiculous, and similar to tossing a fistful of noodles at a wall to see what would stick. It felt all over the place, random, and incompletely fleshed out. Like too many pieces from different puzzles forced together to create a mosaic of what-the-fuck.

I found the romance aspect falling way short of any sort of depth of attraction beyond…I don’t even know. Looks? These three men coming together, under dubious circumstances, was fast — too fast— and gave me no assurance that even two, much less three, of them belonged together.

I looooove polyamory romance stories resulting in strong, believable polyfidelitous relationships. Believable, for me, is strong characterization that affirms that each member brings such strength to the relationship that the others would be lost without him or her.

But these guys. With the lightning speed of the three musketeers action, one going from being a mercenary assassin, another his mark, the third…just there. One going from openly gay, the other sort-of-maybe-bi-because-it’s-fun, the third straight-until-ohmigod-cock. One going from losing everything in horrific ways and never dealing, the other having a traumatic past that included been repeatedly gang-raped, the third having his own family drama he can’t manage.

Also, I have a really hard time buying into solid, long-lasting relationships formed under the duress of high life-threatening drama. I know it can work, but it takes a lot to get me there—to the whole believing thing.

I could almost buy into Mace and Jonas, the assassin and mark. Almost. But Cole, as likable as he was, just felt like window dressing. A character tossed in for the sake of a menage plot. And he’s the one who likely needed the most character exploration

Just…way too much drama way too fast. And of course, magic-healing-penis heals everything magically. Apparently at warp-speed when there’s three of them.

That .5 in the rating? Because the cover is sublime.

This review also posted on GoodReads.

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