Review: Torque by Charley Descoteaux

Sometimes letting things get complicated is the best way to figure it all out.

Mick Randall is on the run, from the biker culture he grew up in and his impossible vision of love. Alaska should be far enough to escape his old life—until he rolls into a wrecking yard and gets lost in a pair of pale, bottle-green eyes.

Scotty Bell has spent years learning to channel his fiery temper into the heat of a welding torch. His sexual heat has always been slower to ignite, but one look at Mick rouses confusion alongside desire. In all his life, he’s only been attracted to one other person—his best friend, Mercy Taylor.

Mick lands a temporary job at the yard, and finds an uneasy crash pad at Scotty’s place…where the ragged ends of his emotions get tangled up in Scotty and Mercy’s relationship.

But when Mick hears a Harley engine from his past bearing down on him, his first instinct is to go back to the half-life he’d been living. Lest his secrets destroy the only two people who’ve ever made him feel whole.

Warning: Contains references to abuse, subversive ideas about sexual identity and gender expression, and a free-range bisexual on a mission.    

DNF 65%- No rating

Cards on the table. When I read the blurb I read MMF which is my jam! Throw in blue collar and a character with a shady past and I was hitting the Request button like it was Easy Button. Not long after I was approved for the book the blog's promoter sent a blog tour request and I thought, "Great! I'm already reading it, so let's do this thing". As the info for the tour trickled in I noticed the word trans* and did the dog head tilt, reread the blurb and STILL thought, 'wait, what?' but I'd already been approved so... make lemonade out of lemons, right?

I have nothing against trans* or reads involving trans* characters but what I signed up for, I thought, was MMF, so yeah disappointed wouldn't be far off the mark as an adjective for my feels. There's an ocean's worth of difference between MMF and MMM*. Mercy, who at 65% barely qualified as a secondary character, is trans* MTF with no intention, I presume, of getting bottom surgery. Great! Super! Not what I signed up for. And as long as I'm talking sexuality tags, I'm pretty sure NO ONE is bisexual in this book. Mick strikes me as a closeted  homosexual with a tit fetish which is also fine. Again, not what I was signed up for and not what the tags/blurb led me to believe. After reading through all the blog tour info apparently one of these characters is supposed to be asexual? I'm fairly certain, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that asexual individuals do not like having sex. Period. All of these people seem pretty enthusiastic about some form of sexual activity so I don't know what to make of that.

I'm not sure even if the book had been tagged appropriately that I'd have been able to finish it for a few reasons. First and foremost, there is no hook, nothing to captivate me as a reader, nothing to get me to invest in these people. The relationship between Scotty and Mick isn't given adequate time to develop thereby making it feel awkward and stilted when they started talking about "home" and longevity. It seems heavily reliant upon telling rather than showing. The whole plot point about Mercy's brothers looking for her... Why? It would think they achieved their endgame already so why come back looking for her? And the plot device of Mick's backstory and being "on the run" is nonsensical particularly in light of the prison scene. Why would ANYONE be out to get him? Lastly, none of these characters do anything for me. They're all flat and I agree with another reviewer that the writing is clunky and also add bland.

I've never read anything by this author before and I've heard good things about her, so maybe this is just an anomaly. I'd be willing to try something else by her because the concept of this story did appeal. Unfortunately, the execution of that idea failed for me. Also, I would respectfully suggest that someone consider rewording the blurb to be more concise. 

I've actually never DNF'd a book I've gotten from NetGalley before and I'm hoping this won't negatively affect my rating there. Apologies to NetGalley, the publisher and the author.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

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