You don’t greet your new boss dressed like an underage rent boy. But when Jack Horwood—ace hacker and ex-MI6 operative—opens the door to Gareth Flynn, he's too busy to worry over details like that. And anyway, his potential new boss is his former Commanding Officer – the same guy Jack has had a crush on since he was seventeen. So he should understand, right? When he applied for the job in Nancarrow Mining's corporate security division, Jack had hoped for peaceful days repelling cyber attacks. Maybe a bit of corporate espionage on the side. His plans didn't include rescuing abused children, hunting pimps, or dealing with his overly protective and hot-as-hell boss, Gareth Flynn. Walking away is not an option. Jack never takes the easy way out. More than that, meeting Gareth raises old ghosts that Jack needs to put to rest. Rescuing kids. Taking risks. Saving the day. Jack can do all that – but deciding what to do about his attraction to Gareth isn’t the sort of cloak-and-dagger game Jack plays well. Yet Gareth, strong and smart and always on hand when needed, might be Jack’s salvation.
Jackie, thanks so much for stopping by. How did you get started writing?
I can only assume that someone handed me a pen. I can't draw for toffee, but I love telling stories, so writing them down would have been the obvious way out. I do remember that I wrote my first "novel" when I was twelve. In exercise books. There're still around somewhere.
Who was the inspiration for your book?
A truly incredible, courageous girl who I shared a room with in the orphanage.
What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I'm a scientist with a bend for history, so my usual fare would be sci-fi, historical and thrillers / suspense with the odd bit of fantasy thrown in. I've never written a ghost story or something that involves intangible things like souls, but quite recently that's become something I'm thinking about.
Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
As a reader I give almost anything a try once, though I'm not fond of excessive, unnecessary violence or anything overly slushy. I do read the occasional story with merfolk, vampires, werewolves or shifters – I enjoy Sherrilyn Kenyon's books a lot! – but it's not something I'd ever consider writing.
What are you up to right now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
I've been treating Job Hunt very much like an apprenticeship. This means my current WiP pile is simply enormous because I've been holding back finishing stuff while Job Hunt went through production. Now that Job Hunt is out, I've got a raft of stories to finish and submit.
The sequel to Job Hunt – titled House Hunt – will go out first. After that, there's a novella, Leap of Faith, and a Job Hunt spin-off featuring Skylar Payne alongside Jack called FanBait. For next year, I'm planning the third Jack & Gareth book, Wayward, and that intriguing supernatural story that's tickling my brain.
Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color?
All the purples, from pale amethyst to deep wine.
Books that most inspired you?
In order of discovery: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, Irene von Trapezunt and The Eunuch by Johannes Tralow, and Ursula K. LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness.
You have one superpower. What is it?
Making people's dreams come true.
You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Eleanor of Aquitaine, my mum, Mr. Spock.
Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
Like me, Gareth loves to experiment with food and he cooks to de-stress and relax. He gets a kick out of looking after people. His planning skills are probably an awful lot better than mine.
Jack has a few of my habits, too – or maybe I've acquired his. He definitely has been lumbered with my magpie taste in music. Long nights, too much coffee, carrying knives and ignoring rules when they're stupid all sound vaguely familiar to me as well.
This was a very interesting book to read due to its unusual plotline. There were three separate plotlines intertwined with each other throughout the book, which made reading it exciting yet at times disjointed.
While there is a focus on the action of catching a pimp and the mystery of solving a case, the book also focuses on the characters, specifically Jack and his developing relationship with Gareth. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, especially Jack, though there is still a lot of mystery surrounding him that will likely be expanded on in future books in the series. The secondary characters are also relevant to the story and well developed, which I enjoyed, though there were quite a lot of people thrown at you, so it was sometimes difficult to keep track of everyone.
However, we didn't get to really know a lot about Gareth personally, which I would have liked especially since he is one of the main characters. This lack of character development made it difficult to form any kind of attachment to the character. Hopefully there will be more of a focus on him in future books.
The plot of the story was very engaging and interesting. However, due to the three separate major plot lines going on, the pacing was off at times, causing the story to drag, especially around the 20% mark. Because of this, I had a hard time staying involved with the story at first, but about 35% of the way into the book, I was able to get fully into the story and stay into it throughout the rest of the book.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed getting to know these characters. I could definitely tell this was book 1 in a series because most of the character development was touched on, with some in-depth explanations and background provided. Basically, enough to get the reader interested in the characters enough to read the next book. Also, while the mystery and action plots were resolved, there is also a further mystery exposed in the epilogue relating to the Nancarrow Mining mystery plot as well as character development.
Even with its flaws, I was hooked by the end of the book and will definitely be reading the next book in the series to see where the author continues Jack and Gareth's relationship as well as the information exposed in the epilogue.
*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.*
About Jackie Keswick:
Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurrent dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She's worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop. Jackie loves stories about unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don't follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She has a thing for green eyes and tight cyclist's butts and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat. And she still hasn't found the place where the bus stops.