Book Reviews

A Mended Man (The Men of Halfway House 4) by Jaime Reese at Romandeavor

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Law Enforcement / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 29-May-2016

Book Blurb

A story of healing and confronting demons… 

Detective Aidan Calloway is rock-solid strong. He's a man of justice—loyal to his friends, family, and job—even if it requires bending a law…or two. He shields himself behind an abrasive, fearless facade, until a phone call one night chips his armor and throws his perfectly planned, hollow life into a tailspin. 

Jessie Vega is the epitome of optimism. His carefully crafted attitude of hope and positivity protects him from a past filled with too much pain. When a ghost from a dark time resurfaces and nearly breaks him, he must tap into his inner strength or risk losing everything he's worked so hard to build. 

But Jessie can't do it alone. He must fight to break through Aidan's ironclad defenses to reveal the heart of the man hiding beneath the tough surface and mend his damaged spirit. Only then can they truly heal and become strong enough to battle the demons that haunt them and threaten their chance to finally be together.

Book Review

Each and every one of the books in the ‘Men of Halfway House’ series so far has been an outstanding novel, an excellent character study, and so intense that I usually need a few days to “recover” – in the best possible way. ‘A Mended Man’ is no exception. In fact I think it is the best one yet. I knew going in that Aidan’s story would be powerful, and the blurb is a clear and truthful indication of the level of passion and suffering that both Aidan and Jesse face before they get their happy end. But let me tell you – reading that blurb and reading the actual story are two entirely different things.

Aidan is a detective and, as far as I can see, determined to catch every last criminal on Earth – single-handedly if need be. He is strong, quiet and withdrawn, never so much as smiles, and neither a people person nor touchy-feely in the least. Aidan is very smart and understands human motivation and “theoretical psychology” well enough, but as for reading the people who are important to him? That is a different story. It is evident from the beginning that he suffers from significant trauma, and that this is the reason he has built immensely strong walls around his heart, to the point where he can’t open up even though he desperately craves intimacy with Jessie. His struggle with himself was painful to watch, and each layer that got pulled back had me quietly cheering him on.

Where Aidan is an eternal pessimist, always planning for the worst possible case, Jessie is an eternal optimist. I have no idea how he does it, but it is so deeply ingrained in his personality that even years of suffering the most horrendous physical and emotional abuse were unable to change him. Yes, he has tough days as he deals with the trauma and the newest attack, but he never loses sight of the beauty of life, no matter how afraid he is. He has an inner strength that is simply inspiring. His support of Aidan is unwavering, his patience almost saint-like, and his determination to make their relationship work more substantial than Aidan’s emotional walls.

Multilayered characters with complicated issues are not all Jaime Reese has given me with this book. The underlying plot is suspenseful, brings back more than one old enemy, and kept me on the edge of my seat. There is the crime ring that began to emerge in book two and ended up driving Cam and Hunter (Aidan’s best friend) into witness protection. There is Jessie’s abuser – a monster of epic proportions. There are ongoing cases Aidan is involved in as a member of the newly created special task force. All of these criminals seem to conspire to make Aidan’s and Jessie’s life even more difficult.

On the other hand there are great supporting characters as well. Whether it is Aidan’s brother Ty and his son-to-be husband Cole (not Aidan’s favorite person), but they sort of get used to each other, or Aidan’s colleagues at work, they all contribute in their own ways. The quirky fellow detectives Aidan works with in the multidisciplinary task force, including the rather abrasive team leader, were wonderful additions, and I certainly hope to see more of them in future books.    

If you prefer your love stories to be real and gritty, if you like seeing wounded men finding, accepting, and loving each other so they can build a new life together, and if you’re looking for a captivating, intense read that is as much a crime thriller as a deeply moving love story, then you will probably love this novel as much as I did. It is truly amazing, and I hope there will be many more! Each one may render me close to speechless between the emotional exhaustion and the spine-tingling tension, but they are so, so rewarding to read that I can’t stay away – and am not even tempted to try.





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

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 145000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 26-April-2016
Price $4.99 ebook, TBD paperback
Buy Link