Review: Shutdown Pair by V.L. Locey

Slinging burgers in Minnesota in the dead of winter isn’t exactly the Hemingway lifestyle aspiring writer Heath has dreamed of. About the only thing the quick-witted wordsmith has going for him is his pick-up hockey league games every Saturday. Now it looks like even that’s gone south, along with the team’s AWOL goalie.

That is until mysterious Wyatt Dickenson skates into town and announces that he can tend net. Heath isn’t the type to turn down such a generous offer from a Greek god with impressive equipment and all the right moves.

Heath offers to share his rented room with the enigmatic drifter, and soon begins to suspect that Wyatt is harboring a secret. Can Heath get Wyatt to open up about his dark past? Is there a dark past? Or is Heath’s writer’s mind just spinning sexy, shadowy scenarios about the mystery man who has him so infatuated?

Reader Advisory: This story has graphic sexual language and scenes—no closed bedroom doors (or other rooms) here!

I... think I liked this? Maybe?

I'm kind of divided actually.

When you first start reading this you'll notice Heath, our narrator, runs his mouth. A lot. He has attitude for days and is self-absorbed in the way only a young, twenty-something-year-old man with the personality of an adolescent boy can be. He's overly critical (often describing people as boney-assed, chubby, pimply faced, etc.) hates his job and thinks it beneath him (whereas, I think he should be grateful he has one) and has snark coming out of his ass.

And then you have Wyatt, who's clearly running from something and scared for his life. He's going to make it across that Canadian border and into safety come hell or high river water. Staying with Heath in his cramped studio apartment for a few days is a very temporary solution until he can get enough pocket change to move on. He's quiet and reserved and has that brooding thing down to an art.

All of this sounds too good to be true! Snark + hurt + sexy man loving + hockey? How could it not add up to anything but freakin' amazing?!

I'm almost positive I was expecting something like my equation, and not the comedy I ended up reading.

I thought this story would be on the more serious side of things with a balanced dose of Heath to lighten things up. Wyatt comes with some emotional baggage and pain, and I would have rather explored that then read the ramblings that were Heath and his witty comebacks. There is no off switch with Heath, and as a result, this book often feels like it's trying too hard to be funny.

It's a weird caricature of a small town, that, at first I thought was inhabited by an entire population of douchenozzles with Heath as it's King.

And in the end, my opinion had only slightly improved. I kept wishing for this story to be told from Wyatt's POV. He's so vulnerable and quiet that I sadistically wanted to feel his pain first hand. Because he's so quiet, and we get nothing from him, I had no idea why he was interested in Heath. I couldn't see where the attraction was coming from.

I also wanted this book to be less smelly. Yes, smelly. We're reminded many times how putrid hockey players and their gear smells, and I wanted no part of it. *gags* It may sound nitpicky, but it was very distracting.

This book spans just a few days, and it feels very insta-lovey. Especially on Heath's side of things. And it ends very abruptly, shockingly so. It felt like there was more to the story, but the author was about 5 minutes away from missing their deadline, so they wrapped it up in one chapter that gives them their HEA.

But it's not all bad. Heath, underneath it all, is a good guy, and he has his moments where I warm up to him. And if you like sarcasm, and snark, and all that jazz? You'll want to devour this book. If you go into it with the expectation that it's mostly a comedy that doesn't delve too deep, I think you'll probably enjoy this one.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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