Thursday, 5 July 2012

Brothers in Arms, Kendall McKenna

I believe this is a debut novel. If it is, WOW, look out for more by Kendall McKenna.

- Review by Kazza K


Brothers in Arms is an excellent read. I have to say it’s very dry, as in The Hurt Locker, Jarhead and Generation Kill kind of dry. So I guess I'm saying if you're looking for fluffy romance you won't get it here. No real review, it’s best to read it, just my feelings on the book.

This book is set in Iraq, so it is a military based book, but there is also a primary investigative element to the book - looking for possible collusiion between arms companies,the government, and selling to the enemy. It was also about the unique connection between men serving in a unit, and Jonah and Kellan, two men who served together previously and had a close company connection, as well as a sexual connection. I don’t usually like flashback sex but it was pretty darn hot here; given the lack of availability to have sex in a war zone, it worked well to help form an understanding of these mens' personal feelings. 

There is a stripped down romantic component to this book. By stripped down I mean it's there but it's subtle, more realistic and I like how appropriate that was. Just becasue it's M/M does not mean that it should be chock full of romance. I liked the way this book stayed right en pointe with it's characterizations and reality based narrative. Sometimes M/M means expectations of silly sex scenarios, thank goodness that didn't happen here. This book is a short yet good look-see at military personnel on the ground, serving in another difficult war; with the added pressure of the two protagonists being gay amidst the time of DADT. Certainly with Jonah staying in the service DADT was a catalyst for them growing apart, along with distance and the difficult nature of their respective jobs. However, time and circumstance throw the two men back together.
I really appreciated the fact that this book is technically very sound, and I’m not just referring to the military speak, the writing was tight – the dialogue economical, there was little sentimentality, these are military types after all - and the editing good. The military jargon was interesting and certainly didn’t overwhelm the storyline. I like to be made to think, to go back and mull something over, I found this book did that to me.

Kendall McKenna has written a very good (first?) book, that I hope may be expanded upon; lord knows there were a cast of many in this book that could be utilised well in a, I don't know, Brothers in Arms series. BIG hint. I hope we do get to see more of the characters again, and I could sure handle some more of Jonah and Kellan.

If you like realisitic military settings, investigative work, plus second chance themes to your books, with emphasis on M/M, then here it is wating for you in Brothers in Arms.

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