Erryn reviews ‘Not What It Seems’ by Nicky James. This book was released by the author on September 6, 2021, and is 314 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Nick J. Russo. It was released on February 23, 2022, and is 12 hrs and 36 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I loved The Endless Road to Sunshine.
They say I killed them. They say I’m sick. They’re wrong. Nothing is as it seems.
Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Cyrus Irvine takes his job and his life very seriously. He is well-respected in his field and has worked hard to get where he is.
But he’s lonely.
When called in to evaluate a murder suspect, the last person he expects to find is the man he slept with a few months ago. The man who ghosted him and wounded his fragile heart.
Ethically, he should turn around and walk away, but he doesn’t. For as much as Cyrus understands the human brain, he can’t understand the pull he feels toward the patient.
One session with River Jenkins and Cyrus is sure of three things: River and everything about his preliminary diagnosis is a lie, his feelings toward River haven’t gone away, and despite his professional code, he isn’t going anywhere.
Someone needs to get to the bottom of this.
Cyrus’ world is turned upside down as he and River team up to find the truth.
During their quest for answers, Cyrus discovers the hardest part of his decision isn’t the risk to his career, but the risk to his heart.
Not What It Seems is a 115k MM romantic suspense with doctor/patient, forced proximity, and age gap themes.
I could go on and on about how much I love Nicky James, but I want to get right into my review of the book. Ms. James often goes into the taboo. The Endless Road to Sunshine had an inappropriate student/teacher relationship. This one delves even further into the ‘oh that’s so wrong’ realm – a doctor and a patient. Specifically a psychiatrist and a patient. And yes, Cyrus is only evaluating River, but he knew he was compromised as soon as he faced the much-younger man. He should have recused himself. Made some kind of excuse. But this is a Nicky James book and that would’ve been way too boring.
River knows he’s in trouble. He knows he’s been set up. What he can’t figure out is by whom and why. He’s lived an extraordinarily ordinary life. Mother addicted to drugs, grew up in the foster system, and now has an unremarkable job and lives in an unremarkable apartment. His greatest excitement in life is picking up guys at the local gay bar. And he doesn’t do commitment. The moment someone shows interest beyond a night or two, he’s happy to ghost them. If they get hurt? That’s their problem.
He hurt Cyrus. He knows this. Cyrus wanted more and River didn’t. So he ghosted the older man. But when Cyrus walks back into his life and is the only person who can save him, River sees a whole other side to the man. Just as, with the passing of time, Cyrus begins to see a different side of River.
But they’re on the run from the law, chasing down a killer, and fighting feelings for each other.
This book packs quite a punch. Each time I thought I had it figured out, I was wrong. In the end? I was shocked. Didn’t see it coming. My only quibble is there was a too stupid to live moment where the doc and the fugitive did something so ridiculous that I was yelling at them. But then the suspense dragged me right back under.
Wow. Just wow.
And, making it all the more amazing, was the awesome Nick J. Russo. He suits these suspense books that Ms. James writes. They are a good pair. So yes, grab this book. Enjoy the taboo nature of the relationship. Enjoy the thriller aspects. Be prepared for some twists and turns. And, in the end, know you’ve had a satisfying ride.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
I live in the small town of Petrolia, Ontario, Canada and I am a mother to a wonderful teenage boy (didn’t think those words could be typed together…surprise) and wife to a truly supportive and understanding husband, who thankfully doesn’t think I’m crazy.
I have always had two profound dreams in life. To fall back hundreds of years in time and live in a simpler world, not bogged down by technology and to write novels. Since only one of these was a possibility I decided to make the other come alive on paper.
I write mm romance novels that take place in fantastical medieval-type settings and love to use the challenges of the times to give my stories and characters life.