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Black Hawk Tattoo ★★★★✩




Title: Black Hawk Tattoo

Author: Aundrea Singer

Genre: m/m romance

Print length: 318 pages

Publication date: January 6, 2013

Rating: Four Stars

Blurb: Toronto artist Gabriel Navarro splits his time between slinging ink and working on his master’s degree. He’s sure of his beliefs and his artistic integrity and naïve enough to think he’ll never compromise—until Iraq war veteran Jake MacLean shows up in his tattoo parlor.

Overcome with anger and survivor’s guilt, Jake is locked in a struggle to atone for sins he’s sure will never be forgiven. Desperate to get his life back on track and with nowhere else to go, he moves in with his sister in Toronto. He doesn’t expect to fall for Gabe.

Though Jake’s refusal to talk about what happened in Iraq frustrates Gabe, accepting Jake’s claims that he’s “fine” is easier than dealing with the truth. But pretty soon it’s clear Jake can’t control his panic attacks, and his condition is worsening. If Gabe can’t help him face his demons, Jake is headed for a crash—and there’s every chance he’ll take Gabriel down with him.

First, let me tell you all the good things about this novel. The plot is solid, tight and well presented. The story flows smoothly, never dragging or rushing. The characters are immaculate. I’m beyond impressed with the writer’s ability to describe the symptoms of PTSD. As someone who suffers from this disorder, I’m sickened by the ridiculous and tasteless attempts to portray PTSD as something romantic. This writer does not sugar coat anything; the reality is stark and unpleasant at best. Jake is painfully genuine in all his doubt and fear, straining for normalcy in one moment, then falling apart in the next. Gabriel on the other hand, is very much an ordinary human faced with an extraordinary task. Dealing with a person who has PTSD is a no easy undertaking and Gabriel’s struggles are agonizing. It’s hard to help someone who won’t open up, and Jake is a ticking bomb throughout most of the story. There’s a beautiful, heartbreaking connection between these two men. Flawlessly done.
The supporting characters need a mention too. There’s nothing worse than a cast of supporting characters that are little better than two-dimensional. You will find no cardboard cut-outs in this novel. The supporting characters are wonderfully human, leaping off the pages.
Now, I have to say that I wasn’t crazy about the sex scenes. I though they could have used just a touch more finesse. Also, people blush way too much, to the point where you’re counting their blushes (or maybe just I was, ’cause I’m an annoying perfectionist).
4.5 stars without a doubt. If you can stomach it, you’re gonna LOVE it.

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