Daniel Whitlock is terrified of going to sleep. And rightly so; he
sleepwalks, with no awareness or memory of his actions. Including burning
down Kenny Cooper’s house – with Kenny inside it – after Kenny brutally
beat him for being gay. Back in the tiny town of Logan after serving his
prison sentence, Daniel isolates himself in a cabin in the woods and
chains himself to his bed at night.
Like the rest of Logan, local cop Joe Belman doesn’t believe Daniel’s
absurd defense. But when Bel saves Daniel from a retaliatory fire, he
discovers that Daniel might not be what everyone thinks: killer, liar,
tweaker, freak. Bel agrees to control Daniel at night – for the sake of
the other townsfolk. Daniel’s fascinating, but Bel’s not going there.
Yet as he’s drawn further into Daniel’s dark world, Bel finds that he
likes being in charge. And submitting to Bel gives Daniel the only peace
he’s ever known. But Daniel’s demons won’t leave him alone, and he’ll need
Bel’s help to slay them once and for all – assuming Bel is willing to risk
everything to stand by him.
This is a really dark read, so brace yourself for that. Daniel is the town
pariah, despised by virtually everyone in his small town after he killed
the man who brutally gay bashed him by burning his house down. The twist
is that Daniel is a sleepwalker, so he wasn’t responsible for his action.
He received a light sentence in jail and struggles to live a life of quiet
desperation, hiding in a remote cabin, working as a janitor while serving
his probation and coming up with a system with frozen locks to restrain
himself when he sleeps – which isn’t often.
He was raised by his small minded parents to feel like a freak because of
his sleepwalking. His self loathing, his guilt over the murder and his
persecution by the townspeople, all of it is pretty oppressive. Daniel
self harms, including through sex, as a way of coping.
Local cop Joe Belman has had a crush on Daniel since they were teenagers,
but he’s still living a closeted life, and has learned to look down on
Daniel, following the attitudes of everyone around him. There’s an
unfairnes there that did bother me, not only is Daniel not responsible for
what he does when sleepwalking, the man he killed had gay bashed him, and
the system had made justice for that difficult to impossible to achive,
but this is an issue that Bel has to grow on. He’s strong and compelling,
but he has a lot of growing to do. When the persecution against Daniel
begins to escalate, Bel agrees to stay with him overnight to protect him.
He becomes drawn into Daniel’s problems, guarding him so he could sleep as
well as protecting him from another potential gay basher.
Bel is a tough, no nonsense man of few words and made a really compelling
romantic lead. Even as he’s taking the role of hero he learns to let go of
his own internal homophobia.
There’s a really gritty tone to the series that I found a welcome change
from more wholesome romance. There’s a gritty sexual underbelly in their
two bit Mayberry, and Bel and Daniel’s sexual connection is hot and kinky,
but the romance is still heartfelt.
I found the issue of sleepwalking really interesting, it’s something
everyone knows about, but something that’s not well understood.
I really loved this one and look forward to reading more books by Henry
and Rock in the future. Tremblay’s rich voice enhanced the story and his
voice for Bel was especially sexy.
Copy Purchased For Review