Marc reviews ‘Frat House Troopers’ (A Brandt and Donnelly Caper: Case File One) by Xavier Mayne. (eBook published by Dreamspinner Press on December 19th, 2012, 260 Pages, Audiobook published on February 18th, 2014, narrated by Peter Brooke, Length: 8 hrs and 10 minutes)
Why I read/listened to this book: Karrie previously reviewed this audiobook and I had to give it a try 😉
State trooper Brandt’s new assignment to infiltrate a sex-cam operation puts him in a very uncomfortable position, especially since he’ll have to perform naked on camera for his audition. Fortunately his partner and best friend, Donnelly, has his back—whether that means helping Brandt shop gay boutiques for sexy underwear or offering Jäger and encouragement while he researches porn.
Despite his mortification, Brandt gives the audition his best “shot”—and becomes an overnight sensation. But to meet the man behind the operation, he’ll have to give a repeat performance, this time live on webcam opposite the highest bidder. Donnelly makes sure to win that auction for his partner’s sake, but their plan has a flaw: faking it is not an option.
In the aftermath, Brandt is a humiliated mess trying desperately to come to terms with what he’s had to do for the job and his own mixed feelings. But Donnelly has been on a journey of discovery of his own. Suddenly everything the two men thought they knew about themselves and each other gets turned inside out. Meanwhile, they still have a case to solve… but it may not be the case they thought it was.
The Cover: The cover highlights the sexual aspect of this story in an effective way and is very sexy. It does however not hint at the deeper level and more romantic nature that can also be found.
The Title: The title is easy to remember and again teases the sexual nature of the story, though not the other aspects of it.
The Story: First, I agree with Karrie that title and cover are a bit misleading, as they focus on the (very hot and plentiful) erotic part of the story, while not really showing readers that there is more to it than erotica. However, I do believe it was done on purpose. There is a big market for erotica and a lot of people buy it, who want to read something hot, gay and erotic, but are wary of the romance genre as it is often portrayed as ‘chick flicks to read, using the M/F Romance formula and replacing the female lead with a second male’. Now, as I mainly review the M/M genre, I know that that is not generally true and I do think that this book might show that to some readers as well, surprising them with a hot but substancial romantic story. However, romance readers will largely need to rely on good word-of-mouth to give it a try if it looks too much like porn-without-plot erotica to them.
However, don’t misunderstand my words. There is a lot of erotic content in this book. It is very hot and listening to the audiobook will even free up both your hands to… fan yourself. It is that hot 😛
There is more to the story, though. The state troopers, especially one of them, start out rather ignorant and have to deal with their own prejudices as their job confronts them with their own sexuality. Some of the things they say in the beginning are offensive and unfortunately seem very close to reactions some people still have to gay people. it is nice to see as some of these prejudices burst like a bubble and the protagonists learn more about themselves and the people they are forced to interact with.
This journey is fun and it’s hot and I very much enjoyed it. At it’s heart, this story is very romantic and will make readers root for the couple.
BUT you better be ready to suspend belief. The events of this book do not seem at all likely. It is the ultimate Gay-For-You book with many straight guys who suddenly turned gay for one person, including BOTH main characters. If you had a problem with the concept of ‘Gay-For-You’ when it happens with one character, you might want to skip this one. Even while I can see how a person might fall for one person so much, that the gender does not matter – even if the same sex was never even an option before – sometimes the incredulity I experienced took me out of the story a bit.
There are many twists and turns, an interesting glimpse into the porn industry, an intriguing mystery and interesting, sympathetic characters.
For me it is more like a fantasy that was used to show that love knows no limits and tries to widen the horizons of the readers. It made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me horny, it appealed to the romantic in me and I am glad I listened to it and can strongly recommend it – though at no point did it feel very realistic.
The Narration: I really liked the narration. The main characters sounded sexy as hell and the story narration was well done. However, some side characters seemed to be characterized in a very overtly ‘gay’ way and I wasn’t completely comfortable with it. I have listened to audiobooks where characters have a lisp, but here it feels stereotypical…
Rating: 8.5 of 10 Pots of Gold
For a second opinion, please check out Karrie’s review of this book 😉
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