Review: Drawn In by Barbara Elsborg

Undercover police officer Kell has crossed the line. He’s become trapped in an abusive relationship with his violent thug of a boss and sees no way back without wrecking months of work. The hope of ever being involved with someone who respects him seems a distant dream.

Private investigator Gethin is depressed that the bulk of his work involves following unfaithful partners. He knows just what it’s like to be cheated on. Even worse, his relationship with his ex is complicated and Gethin can see no way of breaking free of a guy who so desperately needs him.

A chance encounter brings Kell and Gethin together, entwining their lives with secrets and danger. They both have reasons to keep things casual. But there are consequences to zipless fucks. Not only do they have to survive people trying to kill them, they need to trust each other and keep their wits about them, while ensuring their hearts stay intact.

Let me just play devil's advocate on behalf of this book for a sec. Drawn In came after reading two phenomenal books back to back, so it had big shoes to fill. Also, I seem to be continuing to struggle with heavy reads under the Cheeto regime. I like Elsborg's writing and she does have a tendency to tackle some weighty issues, had I been in a different mindset this could have been a 4 heart read, but timing is everything. So they say.

This is one weighty read. There are mentions of pedophilia, women being sold into slavery, one of the MCs is regularly beaten and for all intents and purposes raped by his "boss", the other MC's ex-boyfriend is a quadriplegic who wants to be euthanized and the icing on the cake is a sociopathic brother. If that isn't the cake of evil cackling doom I don't know what is. All it was missing was a dusting of Cheeto jizz.


I think it would've been more successful had the euthanasia and maybe the sociopathic brother storylines been deleted. I think I understand the purpose of both I just think it could've been accomplished in a less dire and or sinister ways. To put it succinctly, I struggled to get through this and once it was over I went scurrying directly back to my happy, happy, joy, joy place. With my binkie. Perception is everything though, so what's "weighty" or "heavy" for me may not be for another.

I can always count on Elsborg to bring the heat, though and she delivered there. The chemistry between Gethin and Kell is palpable. I did think their transition from fuck buddies to feels was choppy and verged on instalove, but as the story evolved their relationship strengthened and grew before my eyes. They both have to endure quite a bit and begin relying on and trusting one another more and more. I also loved their banter. Sometimes it was silly but it provided a much needed respite from all the heavy.

The mystery storyline was kind of a bust for me. It came together really quickly with very few unforeseen twists or turns and made these law enforcement officers look like a bunch of incompetent amateurs. The reason I like mysteries and thrillers is that feeling of being kept guessing, on the edge of my seat, if you will and that eluded me. Yet, I always feel badly saying these things when the primary objective of this book or any in this genre is romance. I get that the mystery is supposed to just be the window dressing. I just wish it had been a little more complex.

There were some editing issues that had me rereading sentences to piece them together, but overall the narrative flowed well.

I would recommend this to MM romance fans who enjoy heavier reads, but please heed the warnings.

A review copy was provided.

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