Lenni Reviews: "Evac" by Michael Murphy

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"Evac" is the story of a war veteran named Benjamin - Benji for short. While on assignment in Afghanistan, Benji loses his entire unit; including his partner, Blade. While his body mended, his mind is fractured; as he suffers from debilitating PTSD flashbacks. Finding it nearly impossible to reconnect as a civilian, Benji claws for any sort of release from his mental pain; participating in ever more dangerous activities until finally ending up on a bridge ready to end it all. It is here where he meets Nick, a young man on the same bridge for the same reason. The two men find common ground and give each other hope for a better future.

"Evac" is a quick but powerful story. Even at under 200 pages, I found myself both empathizing with Benji and enraged at the utter incompetence of the people around him. With such tragedy, it is very gratifying for him and Nick to get together with their much deserved happy ending. But what a ride getting there! Random sexual encounters, a brief stint at a BDSM club, picking bar fights; Benji hits all the self-destructive marks before  he meets Nick and is set on a more balanced path. Yup, I said BDSM club. And Michael Murphy doesn't flinch a bit in his depictions of the lifestyle and all the smutty encounters, so count this among the "mature audiences only" books.

And in case you're all wondering: "Lenni? What's with all the naughty LGBT books!?" Well, to be perfectly honest, I think more of these books should be reviewed on sites like ours and - I freely admit - I made myself a complete pest at the Dreamspinner Press booth at BEA this year. I have a LOT of books from them and I'm hell bent on reviewing as many as possible. Expect more of these in the future.

To get back on point, "Evac" packs a quick emotional punch with good pacing and development in a small package. Benji's unflinching honestly and pain to tug at your heart even if the book hits all the sorta cliche romantic tropes. But, they're cliche for a reason; it's how romances work. If you're looking for a quick and smutty romance with a happily ever after, "Evac" will do ya well.