Book Reviews

That Rat, Carter Janson (States of Love) by Amy Spector at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 19-January-2018

Book Blurb

Every man has secrets, but some are bigger than others…. 


Felix Peake escaped a shady past to carve out a successful career as an expert in Mesopotamian art and gain the respect of the Chicago art community. But when an assistant curator—a man Felix could easily see himself falling for—asks him to reauthenticate a cuneiform tablet to avoid a looming scandal, Felix’s carefully constructed life could crumble. 


The tablet is a fake, and Felix is intimately familiar with the artist. Master forger Carter Janson—Felix’s ex and first love—disappeared from his life six years before without a word of explanation. Now, to hold his world together, Felix must find the original tablet, steal it back, and replace the forgery—all before the museum exhibit debuts. It’ll mean slipping back into a role Felix wanted to leave behind and risking his promising future. But even then, he can’t do it alone. He’ll have to confront that rat, Carter Janson. 




States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Book Review

Secrets, shady pasts, ambitious art experts, forgeries – the list is long and the cloak-and-dagger-factor runs high in this suspenseful story about two men who not only seem to have little in common, but are outright enemies after once having been lovers. To my great delight, there is not just the mystery around the art forgery and theft, but the relationship between Felix and Carter is as filled with riddles as any I have seen in a while. The nerve-rackingly slow reveal of what is really going on had me enthralled from page one, and I think that the depth of the plot as well as the characters are very well done for such a short novella!

Felix is proud of what he has achieved, the respect he has managed to gain in the snobby Chicago art community. But the foundation is not exactly stable, and as soon as his nemesis, ex-lover Carter, appears on the scene after six years of silence, Felix might lose it all. Despite this predicament, it took me a while to warm up to Felix. He seemed a little whiny at first, too sorry for himself (if there is such a thing), but he is such an underdog - dumped by Carter, ignored and belittled by his dad, and in real trouble professionally - that I had to root for him as soon as I found out more. He is determined to do things his way and always seems to support the wrong people, but his heart is in the right place. How could I not want him to succeed?

Carter is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. He seems to be exactly the "rat" the title implies, and he definitely has some very criminal leanings, but as the story begins to take off and I got to see things from his side, the picture slowly changed. I can’t say too much without spoiling the surprise, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed Carter and Felix’s battle as well as the unveiling of what Carter is really all about. Not that I wanted to like him at all, but as I found out what was going on, what choice did I have?

Felix and Carter certainly don’t start out even being able to imagine a rekindling of their romance from six years ago. They share some history and a lot of anger on Felix’s part. While the focus is on the forged artifact and fixing Carter's mistake, the underlying romantic tension is still there. It's clear that neither man is over the other, but it takes a lot of doing for them to figure out how to fix things. Once they do? Excellent emotional payoff!

If you like mysteries around ancient artifacts, theft, and forgery, if you enjoy unusual relationships and watching how they evolve, and if you’re looking for an engaging, entertaining, and suspenseful story with great characters, many a twist and turn, and the world of museums, stuffy professors, and snobs, then you will probably like this novella. I loved the suspense and all the "brilliant" plans Felix and Carter hatch!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 106 pages/33003 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 19-January-2018
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link