Today’s SBD: another ebook that needed serious editing. In this case, it is a self-published book, so the lack of polish isn’t a huge surprise — that’s tends to be my primary observation about self-pub’d books.
Latakia by JF Smith is an adventure novel with a m/m romance and bromance. And it’s certainly different: the main character goes to Latakia, Syria, as an admin with Doctors Without Borders and is kidnapped. There’s some adventuring and then a romance follows. There’s no sex on the page, which would make this a good choice for anyone who might be interested in trying a same-sex romance but who is intimidated by the idea of gay sex. And the love interest, Travis a/k/a Mope, despite being a macho Navy Seal, is average looking and kind of just nice, with some baggage of his own.
The main character, Matt Goodend, is a Gary Stu: everyone loves him! Even the homophobic Seal teammate who is part of his rescue squad…who then adopts him as a brother. Thus the bromance. Except straight men do not sleep naked with their gay friends. They just don’t. And the new BFF is a giant ass: there’s hazing and then there’s being downright offensive, and he is offensive at all time. Until his meltdown at the end, which came out of nowhere and was utterly unbelievable.
At about the 75% mark, the POV suddenly shifted from Matt to Mope without a marker. Mope absolutely lived up to his nickname. The angst! The worrying! The emotional retardation! Your lover says “I love you” and you never say it back, and somehow you don’t understand why he’s disappointed? And readers are supposed to believe that you are smart enough and strong enough to be the leader of a team of elite warriors?
The book was 6,335 Kindle locations, which is the length of a mass market paperback, but it felt a little padded. The bones of the story are good, but need some polishing or revising. Some of the angst and other scenes could have been trimmed without being missed — they didn’t contribute anything new or additional to the story.