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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hostile Ground by Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt

WOW, this one was simply a JOY! it was quite complicated and it takes time to get what's happening though some things you CAN guess. The whole story is told from Mahir Hussain's POV - an undercover cop working under the name Saeed - trying to uncover a drug ring in a Seattle strip club. 

Mahir being gay has an advantage since as it seems Gene Lombardi (the big bad boss and owner of the club and it's other shady businesses) only hired gay security men. He doesn't want anyone (who hasn't paid..) touching what he owes and he sure as hell owns the girls who strip at the club. First thing Mahir has to do is to impress the head of security David Ridley. Meeting him for the first time makes him wonder who is more dangerous - Lombardi who is the kind to beat a person to death with his bare hands or Ridley who won't lift a brow while shooting someone in the head. Not a very enjoyable place to do undercover, ha? That could be said more than twice with all the shit Mahir has to endure to show his bosses he means business and he ISN'T a cop.. 

But the case isn't the only complicated business he has.. His nephew Kinza just came out of the closet to his family and his parents aren't taking it well.. since they are Muslims and quite religious this is not something that can be easily accepted by them..  In my personal opinion, if we are talking about people living in a democratic country - acceptance of gay people IS more problematic to religious people, but I don't think it matters what religion it is.. (Though I don't envy a gay Muslim living in an Arab country in the Middle East.. :( ) which only makes this story more universal. 

It was difficult for Mahir coming out of the closet to his family, his oldest brother - Adil - was the one who took it the hardest and HIS youngest son- Kinza - at the age of 17 is coming out of the closet. Adil feels as though it was Mahir's "doing" somehow as even though the years went by he still struggles with his brother's sexual orientation. 
Mahir understand what Kinza is going through, he also wishes that the generation that separates him from Kinza would have made the difference for Kinza to be more accepted as gay, and as a gay Muslim, but well, it seems there is still some millage to go before Adil can accept and respect his son for who he is and what he is, so all Mahir could do at the moment is offer as much as he can to Kinza - staying with him - hoping his father would comes to terms with the facts as they are (and ever will be).  Yet he can offer him very little more than a roof over his head since he is suppose to be staying in an apartment near the club and maintaining his cover as Saeed. 

Shit starts hitting the fan as Mahir finds himself too damn attracted to the cold blooded Ridley and as they enjoy more than one night together, Mahir wonders at who Ridley REALLY is. He has so many different faces that it's hard to get the "real" him or when to expect which facade. One minute he is the Ridley with the hungry eyes, the next he is the killer. Yet some things change between them along the way and Mahir isn't sure what game each one of them is playing and to what end.. And since Mahir also has an obligation to his nephew he keeps coming back to him which is also risky as hell to him as well as Kinza who is quite curious to why his uncle keeps disappearing on him when he promised he'd be there to defuse the situation with his father. It's all risky and too damn confusing to maintain yet it's not like he has many choices at the moment. 

It was an exceptional story. I really enjoyed reading of Mahir. I don't think I've ever read a book with a Muslim main character and surly not a gay one. Since we only got Mahir's POV it was captivating cheering him on while trying to understand what the hell is going on and if there are any good guys a midst all the bat shit crazy ones. Since this one is categorized as "Romance" it's quite obvious that SOMETHING is going to happen between Ridley and Mahir but what happened, the way it happened and surly how it progressed was utterly amazing (not saying more not to spoiler :)). I LOVED seeing them getting closer and closer both knowing they have SO MUCH to lose if any of what's going on between them got out. It was brutal in parts and utterly heart melting at others. 

I would have read it in one whole gulp yesterday but as my neighbor's kid kept screaming and the dog next door couldn't stop barking I kept reading and stopping to curse and mutter to myself, getting off the sofa and trying to "find myself" being utterly annoyed and mostly FRUSTRATED. Got pretty angry when it was almost 2 a.m. I HAD to go to sleep and had two hours to finish. I read at any break that I had during the day and delved into the book the minute I got home. I was so OBSESSED with finishing the book, getting all the details, knowing what and how it all ended I don't know how I managed the whole day! But well, it's over, so now I have this stupid grin on my face and a heart warming feeling with the way it ended. 

Another great book by Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt. It's not a surprise. I didn't expect any less and seriously wasn't disappointed. There is a lot more to this story then the suspense or the romance. The undercurrents of religion, acceptance, finding your place, accepting one self was all there as well. 

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 302 pages, 7-8 February 2015 / On GoodReads

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