Title: Six Degrees of Lust
Author: Taylor V. Donovan
Series: By Degrees #1
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Annie Tate
Release Date: 1/2/2017
Genre(s): M/M Bisexual, M/M Thriller/Suspense Romance, M/M Coming Out, M/M Military / Law Enforcement
Page Count: 392
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
“By Degrees is an ensemble character series with multiple points of view.
New York City FBI team leader Samuel Shaughnessy lives for his immediate family and his job. After a marriage gone wrong, he has stuck to a firm rule when it comes to relationships: he doesn’t have them. Sexually active and emotionally unavailable keeps him satisfied, especially now that he is in hot pursuit of a serial killer targeting gay men.
Former firefighter Machlan O’Bannon now manages a successful sports bar in Houston, and after years of waiting, he’s ready to stand up and be the man he always wanted to be: out, proud and drama-free. His politically-aligned family wants to keep him locked in the closet, but Mac just wants to meet the man of his dreams.
One man is as high strung as the other is laid back. A chance meeting brings them together, and one night of passion ignites a fire neither can fight. Their lives are not only miles apart, but as different as day and night. They don’t want to get involved, but they might not be able to keep apart.”
Review: Highly Addictive
*This review is for the 2nd edition of the first book in the series, published by Dreamspinner Press in 2017*
In some ways I was surprised how quickly I became engrossed in this book. I didn’t immediately connect with the writing style, there are lots of characters and viewpoints that jump around a bit, and the prologue really caught me off guard (written from the killer’s POV and alarming). Yet, I stayed up into the wee hours because I couldn’t bear to put the book down.
The By Degrees series has an ongoing storyline involving multiple characters. One couple takes center stage, but the secondary characters are crucial to the story so there are more details to their stories than you see in most novels. I loved how the characters’ stories all wove together. It started out with many individual threads and they steadily combined to create a complicated, intriguing pattern. With a large cast of characters, I wasn’t sure the author would be able to develop each individual. However, that was never an issue. Each character was flushed out and had an intriguing backstory. Their actions and dialogue reflected their personality and background so well that the changing perspectives never caused confusion as to whose head the reader was in at the moment. The dialogue itself was excellent. It had good timing, banter, and some funny moments making the pages fly by. The main conflict centers around a FBI team pursuing a serial murderer targeting gay men. Most of the characters are gay or bi, closeted or out. This typically would not work for me, but with the intertwined stories, it’s essential. The crime and law enforcement aspect is chilling but so interesting. I was on the edge of my seat. There were a good number of twists which worked naturally to keep things progressing. The pacing isn’t rushed, but the book moves along quickly. Dates provided at the start of chapters kept the timeline and criminal investigation honest and made it easy for the reader to track the events. The relationship storyline(s) were compelling as well. The length of the book gave the author time to fully establish the attraction between Sam and Mac. Their relationship begins as a hook-up, and it repeatedly delivered sexy interludes. However, the palpable connection that transcends their initial lust has me completely invested in them as a couple. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book with chemistry so well written.
Six Degrees of Lust does end in a cliffhanger. The relationship is at a happy for now point, but the relationship conflicts and crime storyline lacks resolution. I don’t feel shorted, but I’m eager to read the second book (which is already available). If you enjoy suspense, great characters, and palpable chemistry, this book is definitely worth downloading.