Title: Finding Matt
Author: JD Ruskin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 230 pages
Rating: A List
Blurb: When six-year-old Matt Wilson and his Shih Tzu, Pixie, step out of the Stanton Community Hospital and disappear, his desperate parents convince Jaron Greenberg, a local pet psychic, to aid the police in the search. Jaron specializes in finding lost kitties and fixing problem pooches. He isn’t prepared for a case with so much at stake. And as soon as he starts, the abilities he’s had since childhood begin changing and growing in unexpected ways.
Paulo Silva is a veteran detective new to the small town of Stanton. As the low man on the totem pole at Stanton PD, he isn’t happy when the chief assigns him to babysit the pet psychic instead of actively working the missing child case. As Jaron uncovers clues, Paulo starts to wonder if he might be the real thing. Or maybe it’s just his testosterone reacting to what he’s sure is mutual attraction.
Review: I loved this story. It was more intense and fascinating than I was expecting. A great mystery and a fantastic buildup of tension and intricacy.
Jaron is such a sweetheart. He can communicate with animals psychically. His whole process and interaction was very interesting. I respected his integrity and desire to prove himself. He pursued helping animals even though most of his reward was in the form of gratitude rather than money. He was used to the scorn of many in his small community first for his terrible parents and their mistakes and then for his “evil” powers that were either a con or maybe connected to the devil.
When Jaron is asked by the missing boy’s parents to help find their young son, he tries to tell them that he can’t possibly intrude on the police investigation, but then the cops say yes, and Jaron is pulled into something that will change his life forever. When the cop who shows up is Paolo, Jaron is smitten and intrigued. Jaron knows what people say about him and he doesn’t expect that Paolo will believe him. When Jaron is able to connect with Matt’s dog, he knows he can’t say no to helping.
Paolo is a good man and cop. He fled to this small town needing the quiet and a slower pace to his job. When his past comes back to bedevil him in the form of his ex (boy)friend/lover and co-worker from the State Police, Devin, who is heading up the missing child case that has rocked the small town, so much comes rushing back. When he is tasked with being liaison to the “crazy psychic” he can’t help but feel like he is being punished. When he meets the sexy and sweet Jaron he can’t resist falling for a man who is quickly proving that the only thing fake about him are the rumors and innuendo that surround him.
The escalation and intensity of Jaron’s powers was cool. It felt like a natural progression and I could understand why he hadn’t ever explored them more. They were scary and dangerous and while it made for great reading, I didn’t envy what they were doing to his mind, body or life. I understood why Paolo would see the benefits to having Jaron use his gifts for law enforcement purposes. I respected Paolo more when he set aside the greed for access that those powers could give him when he saw what the gifts cost Jaron, and Jaron’s health and safety superseded any thoughts of using the man he had come to admire,
The romance was well paced. The men meet in an intense and strange situation. Them having a relationship is not kosher while the investigation is ongoing. Especially with the way that some people react to Jaron’s knowledge with scorn and suspicion. Watching the attraction smoulder beneath the surface of their interactions, seeing their emotions become deeper with every moment spent together. Trust and affection replacing doubts and fear as they work together to bring a little boy back home to his family. A fantastic combination of instant lust and interest with a slow burning romance.
I love Jaron’s Newfoundland, Bear. He was best friend, caretaker, body guard, and unconditional acceptance wrapped up in one large furry bundle. He cracked me up and he was such a good dog. I loved the pages that he was on.
There were moments where I couldn’t decide whether to throat punch Jaron’s best friend, Stephen or hug him. The relationship between the lifelong best friends was complicated and dysfunctional and forever. I loved the way that Jaron was a part of Stephen’s big, overwhelming and affectionate family. Jaron needs that love and acceptance and the barrier all of the large and gruff brothers give him.
Devin was a pain in the ass and confounding. I hated him and was afraid of what he would do and I didn’t trust him for a minute. But then like all people do he began to show that there were reasons that he and Paolo had been such good friends. He was an ass, but in the end he became real and flawed and was a dork, he made me laugh. I couldn’t hate him anymore.
An excellent book that pulled me in and had me following every twist and turn and falling in love. This is a writer whose work I will always pick up and devour. I know I will get more than I hoped for and put the book down wanting to read it all over again.
Reviewed by Nina