The best birthday presents aren't always the ones you ask for and they don't come all wrapped with a pretty bow...
Eli's just an average guy who's trying to get his life together. He works as a waiter and spends as much of his free time as he can with his dog Zeus,volunteering at 'Muddy Paws' a local dog shelter and with what little time he's got left over he plans on going back to school with the hopes of one day running his own dog shelter...just an average guy who's about to go out with some friends for his birthday.
Dominic's a cop who's day hasn't gone well and he's just wanting to have a few drinks and forget about things for a while...well, everything except the cute guy at the bar who's celebrating his birthday. But Dominic's not the only one who's watching the birthday boy...he's just the only one who may be able to keep him safe.
'Mad About the Boy' is only the second story by this author that I've read but it's also the second story that I've really enjoyed...so far, so good. This one was definitely what I would call a romantic thriller. It seems that it's not just Dominic who finds Eli to be attractive and as these two men try to get to know each other not only are they being watched but things that are both unusual and frightening begin to happen.
When it comes to relationships Eli and Dominic are polar opposites...Eli is commitment phobic and tends to run when things begin to go from 'casual' to 'relationship possible', while Dominic is more decisive and not afraid to go after what he wants and express how he feels. It felt like this difference was partially due to the age gave between these two men but it was also partially due to their life experiences.
I was definitely impressed with how the mystery/thriller part of the story played out because it wasn't until the person was revealed that I knew who it was...I had my suspicions more than a couple of times. I just wasn't ever right.
The only thing that didn't quite work for me was that at times there was just too much focus on the dog shelter but at the same time I don't think it would have worked if this had been pushed to far to the background since 'Muddy Paws' was a really important part of Eli's life and had been for a number of years so while a little less focus on it might have been nice, at times it truly was an important part of Eli's story. Also in regards to the dogs...just a heads up for all of my animal loving friends there are a couple of scenes that involve violent acts perpetrated against dogs while the actual act doesn't transpire on page the results are clearly evident.
One of the things that I've encountered in this book that worked really well from my point of view was the fact that we were told parts of the story from the villain's perspective... not a lot but enough to really bring him into the story.
There's a couple of interesting characters in this story besides Eli and Dominic that I'd like to see more of...I liked Dom's friend and fellow police officer Theo. Most of what we saw of this character was on a professional level but still I think there's potential for more with him as well as Dom's brother Keiran...we're given really strong potential for more about Keiran at the end of this story...as in I for one want to know what kind of trouble Keiran's gotten himself into. So while this book seems to be a standalone story it's left room for Ms Laycock to give us more about this group of Brits.
An ARC of 'Mad About the Boy' was graciously provided by Signal Boost Promotions in exchange for an honest review.