Erryn reviews Breakdown (Don’t… Book 3) by Jack L. Pyke. The second edition of the book was released by Men in Ink Press on June 28, 2019 and is 312 pages. The audiobook was released September 18, 2019 is narrated by Dan Calley and is 9 hours and 50 minutes. An audio book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this: I’m addicted to this series.
“Who’s been whispering to you, Jack?” (Doctor Halliday)
Jack Harrison has the evidence there in his hands – the DVD and notepad off D.C. Sanders that proves Gray supposedly played a part in tearing him and Jan brutally apart. But with Jack locked away in his own mind and lost to his blackouts and self-harming in the Masters’ Circle’s psychiatric unit, the past brings to light the origins of a new beast, one who only comes out to play when Jack needs to hide – a psychopath who has, perhaps, tasted and tested Gray to the full. All Jack has to do is remember how…and why. More to the point: Why does one part of him know Gray’s signature mark as an interrogations officer? And why is there such a serious sadistic kick in hiding the memory?
Read Erryn’s review of the audio of book 1 here.
Read Erryn’s review of the audio of book 2 here.
The Don’t series by Jack L. Pyke is a tough one to listen to. Or endure, if that’s the word you want to choose. I’m enduring this series with enthusiasm. I loved the first book with the moniker of a BDSM Thriller. That alone was enough to grab my attention but the book kept me riveted as I discovered the dark world of the Master’s Circle and then men (and women) who travelled in those depths. The violence was present but worked within the context of the story. Antidote, the second book, was far darker with clear non-con. I suggest you read my review and the trigger warnings before diving into that one. That being said, I loved it.
Breakdown is the third book in the series and although less violent than the second book, it is no less disturbing. If it’s any consolation, Jack says, “I didn’t rape. I didn’t take without anyone being able to say”. Now, what some of the characters agreed to was some pretty dark shit. BDSM indeed with both sadists and masochists. This book takes place near the end of what is book 2. There is a six-month gap where Jack stays away from Gray and Jan – this is that time period, entirely from Jack’s point of view. He’s in a psychiatric facility and trying to undo the damage caused by the reconditioning sanctioned by someone very close to him. Gotta love family.
Jack is under a psychiatrist’s care and is slowly working his way through his memories. Much of this book is him dealing with the past. In fact there are many times when we go back and see things from his perspective as an older teenager and a young adult. Some really sick shit happened to him and there’s no question why he developed Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). As with most people with mental illness, Jack is more than just his disorders but it’s taking time to get through to his damaged soul. He doesn’t plan to let anyone in but, slowly, he breaks down those barriers and works though his past.
A damning and damaging past. Humpty Dumpty indeed.
I had hope throughout the book because I knew, thanks to listening to book 2, that Jack was going to reunite with Jan and Gray. That the men would have their HFN (Happy For Now). The triad is complicated to be sure and I’ll be interested to see where it goes in the next book. I didn’t love this book as much as the first two but I’m still tapping my foot waiting for the next one to come out on audio.
I have to mention the narrator, Dan Calley. He’s brilliant. He’s the perfect Jack and yet also carries the other characters, including the female ones. His voice is very deep and resonant, enabling the darkness to come through clearly. I will say I was a little confused by the American accent but it’s always a challenge to do accents and God knows there are enough variations of American that it’d be a challenge.
Anyway, I’m so glad I listened and I can’t wait for the next one.
9/10 pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Jack blames her dark writing influences on living close to one of England’s finest forests. Having grown up hearing a history of kidnappings, murders, strange sightings, and sexual exploits her neck of the woods is renowned for, Jack takes that into her writing, having also learned that human coping strategies for intense situations can sometimes make the best of people have disastrously bad moments. Redeeming those flaws is Jack’s drive.
Jack’s also a contract editor, working with Dreamspinner Press, DSP Publications, and Harmony Ink. She’s also had the absolute pleasure of editing exceedingly talented indie authors like Adrienne Wilder and Joseph Lance Tonlet.
Basically this all means Jack finds herself incredibly humbled to write, edit, and read solely in the M/M romance genre, with a particular love of psychological thrillers, BDSM, and crime.