Erryn and Wendy review Changes Coming Down by Kaje Harper. The book was published November 27, 2019 and is 295 pages. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why Erryn read this book: I adore Kaje Harper’s writing and love triads.
Why Wendy read this book: Kaje Harper was one of the first LGBT authors I read. Many moons ago, lol. I always feel like I’m coming home when I read Harper’s books.
For three gay men in love, opening the closet door could be a risky move.
Sheriff Casey Barlow has a slick, media-savvy challenger out to beat him in the upcoming election. Casey’s damned good at his job, but he hasn’t kissed the right asses, and early polls suggest voters like his opponent’s style. Coming out now, let alone revealing his relationship with two men, could sink any hope of keeping his badge.
Scott Edison has a real shot at the NHL. He’s playing the best hockey of his life. Whenever he can, he travels home to his gruff sheriff and their laid-back cowboy, but there are no out gay players in the NHL. As a rookie working his ass off to be called up, he can’t afford to make waves.
Will Rice always figured he’d live alone, managing Graham and Annmarie Slater’s cattle ranch, but a hot, young hockey player and a compact, muscled lawman rearranged his plans. Even though he’s older and lanky and ordinary, he’s been sharing their lives and their beds. He doesn’t need to be out— isn’t sure he ever wants the Slaters to know about him. Life’s good the way things are.
Then Graham and Annmarie are killed in a hit and run that may not be an accident. As Will grieves, and Casey investigates, the coming changes will shake all their lives.
** this is a re-edit and expansion of the story in the “Hunting Under Covers” anthology
I love books where you start in the middle of a story. Yes, you miss the meet cute (or meet rough, depending on the book), but there’s something comforting about settling into a story where the relationship is already established. Where the couple (or in this case triad) know just about everything about each other. They have a routine and know where they’re going.
Or so they think.
This is that book. These three men are well-established. Casey is the ex-marine sheriff, Will is the ranch foreman, and Scott is the up and coming hockey player. Soon to be in the NHL, if rumors are correct. Life is good for them. They’re all firmly in the closet, happy as pigs in shit, so to speak.
Except all is not as it seems. Casey is running for re-election as sheriff (such an American thing – picking top local law enforcement and members of the judiciary with a popularity contest). He’s down in the polls to a slick opponent who isn’t even qualified for the job. Casey knows he should be fighting but he’s done a lot of that in his life. He just wants to keep his neighbors safe and believes he’s done a good job of it.
Scott is playing with the Toronto Marlies, waiting to get the call up to the Toronto Maple Leafs and the NHL. He’s dedicated his entire life to hockey and is so close to the majors that he can taste it. His heart is in the mid-west with his two men and he spends a lot of time traveling. He’s also the youngest and, surprisingly, the bossiest.
Then there’s Will. He’s been on the ranch for twenty years, showing loyalty to his bosses – a husband and wife. This book opens with their tragic deaths. I’ll admit more than a few tears throughout the book. I haven’t lost anyone recently, but I remember clearly what that kind of loss feels like. They were basically parents to him and Will is, understandably, devastated. That he has both Casey and Scott to help him pick up the pieces gave me some hope.
This is a long book with a lot going on. There’s the investigation into the accident that took the Slaters away from Will. There’s the election dragging Casey down. Then there’s the NHL almost on Scott’s doorway. There were several times where I thought the story was drawing to a conclusion and then another obstacle was thrown in the men’s paths. I honestly thought I knew how the story would end, but I was wrong. Happily wrong.
My heart broke a few times in this book but it was eventually rendered whole again. I love it when books put me through the ringer. Had I known, I would have brought tissue. Nothing like a napkin. Will every reader cry? Possibly not. These scenes were tough, to be sure, but not overly emotional. It was just what I brought to the story.
Ms. Harper very nicely gives us a scene from the next book. I’m like…there’s more? Intrigued, I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see where Scott, Casey, and Will go next. (And hopefully more Goatfucking douchecanoes. As well as more Merde. Calis. Tabarnac. I love swearing, especially in French…)
10/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 5/5 Stars
I love triads when they’re done well and this one is. The relationships are well established but I didn’t feel like I missed out on any of their journey because these guys are written very well. I enjoy listening (reading) couples and trouples banter back and forth together when they’ve been together long enough to do it comfortably. This trio was very comfortable together and it showed. I would never question that they hadn’t been living and loving each other for a long time. They have all the realistic ups and downs that any relationship has but they still needed to learn key things about each other.
I wasn’t expecting a mystery but it was evident right away that one was going to take place. I have to say that I particularly liked the way it was solved. I’m not exactly sure how to describe the way all the elements combined. There was the mystery to solve, heartbreak, sorrow and grief, there were life changing moments, some small but not insignificant and some huge. It all came together in a perfect storm.
Will: I would love to know more about Will’s childhood. There’s a story there for sure. His character is the epitome of a rock solid all around good guy. A cowboy who’s tough as nails on the outside but a gentle soul on the inside. He has some very realistic concerns being the last to join the triad and it was touching to watch him find his way.
Casey: Is everything you’d expect from a Marine and Sheriff. He’s a protector to his core and a little hot headed. He gets dealt some tough blows throughout the story and I was impressed that he made the best of every situation. I love how he always puts the people he loves first.
Scott: The youngest of the guys and an up and coming NHL star. He’s sometimes unexpectedly wise. This character was the one who struggled the most in my opinion. He really has to work hard to find his way but he’s sweet as hell!
I fell right into this book. It’s one of those stories that sucks you right in before you know it. It was flowing and flawless and I can’t wait to read more about them.
10/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 5/5 Stars
I was born in Montreal but have lived for 30 years in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, where the mosquito is the state bird, and where winter can be breathtakingly beautiful. Minnesota’s a kind, quiet (if sometimes chilly) place and it’s home.
I’ve been writing far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, usually M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi…) I also have a few Young Adult stories (some released under the pen name Kira Harp.)
My husband finally convinced me that after all the years of writing for fun, I really should submit something, somewhere. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing four novels and three freebie short stories in that series. I was delighted and encouraged by the reception Mac and Tony received.
I now have a good-sized backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my website “Books” page at https://kajeharper.wordpress.com/books/.
You can find me and my book reviews on my author page here on Goodreads – I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the Goodreads YA LGBT Books group. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far.
You can also find me on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/KajeHarper