A handsome naked man. Unconscious on a bathroom floor.
He’s lost his memory, and someone’s out to kill him. Who is the mysterious Luke?
British TV anchor and journalist Rupert Pendley-Evans doesn’t do long-term relationships. Nor does he do waifs and strays. But Luke is different. Luke is a talented American artist with a dark secret in his life.
When Rupert discovers Luke, he’s intrigued, and before he can stop himself, he’s in love. The aristocratic Rupert is an ambitious TV reporter with a nose for a story and a talent for uncovering the truth. As he falls deeper in love with Luke, he discovers the reason for Luke’s amnesia. And the explanation puts them both in mortal danger.
Cheryl on Love Bytes wrote:
Would I read it again?: Yes!
Genre: MM, Mystery, Suspense, Romance
Content Warning: homophobia, conversion therapy, torture, mental health, suicide, mention of MS
I happily admit that I asked to read/review this book based on the fact that it was written by David C. Dawson. Full stop. I'd read/reviewed The Delingpole Mysteries earlier this year and loved them, so it was no question that I'd enjoy this one too.
Right from the start, I got the feel of a long, slow suspense. It had that James Patterson “Murder Games” vibe, with a distinctive British flavour, and the promise of so much more to come. We jumped straight into the action, with Rupert returning home after a long day to find that his apartment had been flooded by the upstairs apartment. Going to investigate, he finds his new neighbour, hunky Luke, lying on the bathroom floor unconscious and naked. After seeing that he's taken care of, the pair allow their immediate attraction to draw them closer, with Luke offering Rupert his spare room, since his apartment's only bedroom was ruined by the flood.
Thus begins a steamy and intense romance between Rupert and Luke. At first, I wasn't sure how advisable it was. I wasn't sure if Luke had been attacked, if he'd genuinely slipped and fallen, or if the amnesia he confessed to would reveal a dark secret. Six months ago represented the beginning of the only life Luke could remember, leaving more than twenty years unaccounted for. That is a lot of potential history to uncover, with no knowledge of whether he had a boyfriend waiting for him, looking for him, or if he was straight/bi/demi and his attraction to Rupert was his first attraction to another man. At least, that was a possibility until things heated up in the bedroom and Luke seemed to be more than adept at proving otherwise.
I'll admit that the previous books I'd read by this author were full to the brim with fast-action and life-or-death scenes that I assumed this book would be the same. It's not and that's not a bad thing. For less than 200 pages, it gives a really amazing quality of storytelling, characterisation and plotting. The romance is, primarily, the dominating plot point, which makes sense since it's through their relationship that Rupert helps Luke rediscover his past. Without that bond, that building of trust, Luke would never have been able to untangle the shadows clouding his past, so the 70/30 split between romance and suspense, leaning in romance's favour, was logical. It did make the story drag a little, before the 30% mark when things kicked off for real, but during that time we got to know Rupert and Luke a little better, so it wasn't too bad. I loved the organic way that Rupert explored his past through their dinner date conversation, then the drop-the-bomb reveal of Luke's amnesia. A typical reporter, Rupert was suspicious and wanted to dig deeper.
When it came to secondary characters, I liked the snarky coroner, the bitchy boss, and the intrigue of Ty, the NCA best friend and his husband. I got a bit frustrated with fag-hag Sandra, who wasn't my cup of tea at all, but that's mostly down to personal taste.
Quite honestly, I'm in editing mode at the moment and, for an ARC, I was expecting at least half a dozen niggles to pop up. It happens to everyone in the ARC before the final pre-publication edits. I noticed two things. Two full stops missing in one paragraph. That was it. In the entire book. I can only applaud the author and whatever editor(s) worked on this book, because that is seriously immaculate condition for an ARC.
Overall, I enjoyed the slow building suspense, the trickle of revealed secrets and the hints that this was one big story waiting to be exposed. I liked the main characters, loved the chemistry between Rupert and Luke, and how Rupert's family situation developed, that Luke had finally found someone to trust and confide in. It was a great story, with great characters, and an intriguing plot. I'd read more, if there were further books with these characters.
Last, but not least, I absolutely love the impact of the cover/title and how it makes more sense, becomes sweeter and more perfect, once I'd finished the book. Both are a perfect representation of what this story is about, and the love that you'll find within the pages.
Lena on Rainbow Book Reviews wrote:
The book starts with an unusual occurrence—the ceiling of Rupert’s flat caves in due to the fact that the unconscious American in the flat upstairs had left water running.
Luke (the unconscious American), and Rupert (a posh Englishman) become friends, and then lovers. Rupert is frustrated that Luke has very few memories of his past beyond a few months back. At first, apart from Luke’s aversion to televisions and smart phones, things go according to plan, but then someone warns Rupert that Luke’s life is at risk and after that things go to hell.
There are some rather disturbing scenes and if apparent suicide is triggering for you, don’t read the book.
Apart from those, the book is nicely paced and mainly quite domestic. It’s a sweet love story and both characters are likeable and well rounded.
There is nothing much to complain about, although some of the specifics about what happened to Luke feel like they’ve been fudged somewhat and I would have liked something more concrete to fully understand. That being said there’s nothing wrong with it the way it is.
The pace is good and the writing smooth. There were times when it lagged a little but, on the whole, nothing to complain about there.
If I were to sum up the book it would be nice. There are some great action scenes, but to be honest it was a little too tame for me. I’m not generally one for nice romances, and this one was very sweet with even the dark scenes tempered with gentle handling. I’m sure this will be very popular with most people but if you like to walk on the wild side this might be a bit too light.
Maryann on The Novel Approach wrote:
When Rupert Pendley-Evans comes home to find that his bedroom ceiling has collapsed from water that has soaked through it, he's angry. He rushes upstairs to find a man naked on the bathroom floor. While comforting the man, Rupert has unfamiliar feelings of nurturing and concern for this stranger, feelings that are atypical for him. Rupert is, at best, a short-term lover with as little emotional involvement as possible. He does what he can for the stranger whose name is Luke, who seems to have fallen in the tub and hit his head, then calls for an ambulance.
Since Rupert’s apartment is ruined, Luke invites him to stay in his spare bedroom until the apartment celling can be repaired. Without a better option, Rupert agrees. Luke tells Rupert that he has no memory of his life before the last few months. The police finally recover his wallet along with his cell phone. Luke’s driver's license confirms Luke’s identity. Other than that, he has no idea about his past.
Almost before he realizes it, Rupert becomes emotionally invested in Luke, even though he doesn't understand it. Since Luke is gorgeous, and he is physically attracted to him. Since Luke is in a vulnerable position, Rupert doesn't want to do anything to make it worse for him, so he tries to stay on the friendship side of the relationship and fails miserably. Luke is wary of starting anything because of the uncertainly of his life. He confuses Rupert by coming on to him one minute then pushing him away another. Rupert is frustrated and confused, but tries to be understanding. Besides having amnesia, Luke displays quirks that worry Rupert – like not answering his phone and becoming terrified when he sees the display or anything else that looks like a screen. Most frustrating is that Luke freaks out when Rupert mentions certain things, but can't tell Rupert why. Rupert has noticed paintings on the walls and asks Luke about them. Luke admits he's the artist and offers to show Rupert his studio that's in his attic. When Rupert's phone rings, Luke shoots to his feet and runs down the stairs with no explanation. Rupert has had it. He goes into his office, determined to put Luke and any feelings he may have for the man behind him.
This a complicated mystery with lots of subplots that were often more confusing than helpful. I normally enjoy complex mysteries, but I had trouble sorting this one out. When Luke and Rupert finally get in bed, the sex is hot, but I still didn't feel like I knew either one of them well. The plot of the mystery is good and the supporting characters, particularly Rupert's coworker and friend, Sandra, were a hoot. Thanks, David, for an interesting mystery.
Rupert Pendley-Evans is a well-traveled BBC anchor and journalist who’s always looking for the next intriguing story that could lead him to better opportunities. He’s very much a free spirit, has had several relationships that didn’t last, and he’s learned some hard rules from those relationships. After a visit with his parents in Middle Claydon, he comes home to a wet bedroom, and when he makes his way to the apartment above him, he finds a very wet, naked, and injured man with an overflowing bathtub.
Luke Diamond, an American artist, can’t remember anything other than he’s complicated and trouble. When Rupert has his co-worker, Sandra Giles, come over to check out his demolished bedroom, Luke peers down from the hole in the ceiling. He makes his way down to Rupert’s apartment and objects to Rupert having to sleep on the couch. Since Luke feels very much at fault, he offers Rupert his spare bedroom to sleep in. Even though Rupert finds his curiosity growing about this gorgeous man, he’s also caught up in the mixed messages coming from Luke.
As Rupert is in the midst of investigating specific cases of young men committing suicide, with similarities in methods and characteristics, he finds himself also wrapped up in the mystery of Luke. He and Luke have been spending more time together, and Rupert finds Luke’s reactions to specific noises very odd. To top it all off, Rupert has been approached by a stranger and is warned off Luke.
Don’t let the title fool you! For the Love of Luke is a suspenseful and dark murder mystery about homophobia. There’s a puzzling plot, and how the clues connect make this an intriguing story. I like how the author brought Luke and Rupert together and that it didn’t result in insta-love. The relationship is gradual, as Luke wasn’t willing to just jump into it and Rupert respected Luke’s concerns. I also liked how the author handled the physical part of the relationship and left more to the reader’s imagination.
Secondary characters fit really well in the storyline. Luke’s parents, Cynthia and Clarence, were a fun surprise. I think it made Rupert look at them differently, for himself and how Luke was treated. Sandra Giles is a strong, energetic force that will have you laughing at times. Rosalind Goodwin, the pathologist, adds her own flavor of snark to the story too.
David C. Dawson also gave this novel a real London flavor with his detailed descriptions of the setting. If you read the author’s bio, it seems he is a little like Luke. I’ve read his Delingpole Mysteries series and enjoyed those novels just as much as I did this one, and I hope there’s more to come from this author.