Title : Positive
Author : Tia Fielding
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Mystery/Suspense, MMM or more
Length : 204 pages (e-book)
Published : August 14, 2013
Rating : ★★1/2
Even after a decade, the life that journalist Brent Walsh and Milwaukee homicide detective Shawn Mackey have made together is far from boring. But when a new case cuts a weekend getaway short, they aren’t quite prepared for how it will impact their personal lives. Suddenly there’s too much to juggle: Shawn will be working the case of the sharpshooter who is trying to infect random people with HIV, Brent needs to cover the story but fears a conflict of interest, one of Shawn’s colleagues is attracted to him, and Brent sincerely needs to mend the painful break with his childhood best friend, Ollie, and heal their broken hearts.
Though the case comes to a close, it’s not the end of their troubles. Shawn and Brent still face a past of old white lies, a present possibility of inviting another man to their bed, and a future with children, not to mention health issues and national fallout from the case. It’s enough to make them want to run away—until they realize they have to face those challenges head-on so they can get on with the life of love they’re hoping for.
When Milwaukee Detective Shawn Mackey gets a call from work during a weekend away with his husband, journalist for the Neville Tribune, Brent Walsh, they head back to find a sharpshooter with a tranquilizer gun and darts filled with AIDS infected blood. As Shawn takes the lead on the case, along with his partner and friend, Detective Ashley Henderson, both Shawn and Brent feel the impact. As a result of an incident five years earlier while their marriage was going through a rough patch, Brent was infected and is HIV negative.
When a second person is hit with one of the darts, the case suddenly becomes all too real, reminding Brent of his struggles to come to terms with his condition and his fears for the future. Especially after running into his former best friend, Ollie. During Shawn and Brent’s separation five years ago, Ollie had made a move on Brent, who, not feeling the same way, turned him down. Not being able to handle the implications to their friendship, Brent had then taken off to a club and got himself blind drunk, the result of which ended in his infection. Ollie blamed himself for causing Brent to take off in the first place, and his guilt over it caused an enormous and seemingly unbridgeable rift in their once close friendship. During all the events of the story, one of which is the fact that Brent had been keeping the truth from Shawn about Ollie’s proposition of him, they start to re-evaluate their lives, thinking about what they want, including the possibility of children.
Just as the case is being wrapped up, a detective from another division, Malik James, whom Shawn had seen in passing at the station from time to time, catches the eye of Brent while Brent’s down at the station. He brings up the idea of a threesome with the handsome detective to Shawn, who finds the idea intriguing. They invite Malik to one of their regular Pizza Parties and then invite him into their bed as a one time only deal.
I started out thinking the writing wasn’t too bad, but the flow was a little bit stilted. I thought it may even out a bit more once all the exposition was out-of-the-way. Unfortunately, no. It got worse and there was no end to the exposition. There was so much over-explaining going on in the text, yet it took over a third of the book to not still be in the dark as to exactly how Brent ended up with HIV and how his former best friend, Ollie, was involved. I found some of the dialogue started to verge on ridiculous. It certainly wasn’t very believable, especially during the first sex scene, which was also full of explanations of everything and unnecessary details. Not particularly sexy.
There were quite a few things about the police aspects of the story that just didn’t ring true to me. Shawn’s bosses’ insistence that he appear on a morning show in regards to the case, threatening that his “career might run less smoothly from now on” if he refused, was a major one for me. Kaminsky turned to him. “Yes, see, Shawn, we’re getting pressure from the Mayor’s office to go public with this. Newspapers are calling and trying to get the scoop. We need damage control, before this mess gets out of hand.” I have never seen or heard of police appearing on a morning show to give information on an active case, never mind the interviewer bringing up their personal life and that of their partner. It would be through a press conference so that the information is released to all media outlets at the same time. That entire scene was completely implausible for me and its sole purpose seemed to be to set up another unlikely and unnecessary storyline involving the producer, who apparently had wanted Ollie but had been refused by him, as Ollie still had feelings for Brent. But this? Having someone who was maybe in love with Ollie, who was still hung up on Brent, turn on Shawn to somehow get back at someone? No. No, no, no. That is a very convoluted reason/explanation. These weren’t the only plot holes and scenarios I had issues with, either. Later on, the police insist Brent be a part of the interview with the sharpshooter to satisfy the sharpshooter’s demands. But Brent is a civilian and has no actual connection to this person!
And then there’s the whole introduction of a third man into their bed. “Oh, we’re thinking about having a threesome,” Brent said casually. Why? This just seemed to be randomly thrown into the mix just for the sake of it. There had been no previous hint that they dabbled with a third, in fact, there’d been a very strong impression of monogamy given, but suddenly after one brief meeting Brent decided he wants the guy? And there is also Brent’s HIV status. They fell asleep tangled up together like they normally slept, and despite having had so much fun just hours ago, the bed didn’t felt (No, that ‘felt’ was not my error. It’s also far from the only one I found) empty without Malik in it. Instead it felt just right. So what exactly was the point of all that, then?
I ended up skimming, and even skipping, paragraphs due to the constant over-explaining. If I wanted to know step by step play instructions for croquet, I would have looked them up myself. By the end I had well and truly come to the conclusion that this book was just not for me. I found the writing style frustrating, the dialogue often bordering on unbelievable, plot holes galore and felt no real connection to the characters. And at two thirds through, I don’t understand why the sudden desire for a one-off threesome that served no purpose to the story or character development (not that there was much character development going on). Oh, and apparently almost everyone they run into is gay as well. Except the women.
Rated 2.5 stars by BookSmitten