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Wednesday 1 July 2015

✍ Red Card: The Black Jack Gentlemen [2] - Liz Crowe

Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Published by Tri Destiny Publishing
Number of pages: 232 
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ I really like it  
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Red Card
Review | About the author

"Free will makes us human.
Choice makes us individuals.
Love makes us unique.

Metin Sevim has it all. At the pinnacle of international soccer playing success, he has managed to craft a perfect world for himself along the way.

When fate strips him of free will and the ability to choose his own path, he retreats from everyone and everything, destroying his hard-won career in the process.

Dragged back from the brink by his desperate family, Metin reluctantly agrees to coach the Black Jack Gentlemen Detroit soccer team but remains debilitated by memories and loss.  When a surprising friendship emerges, it renews his passion for life, providing much needed solace… and extreme complications.

A saga of family dynamics and gender politics that cuts across cultures and circumstance, Red Card illustrates the human capacity for forgiveness through the life of one man as he attempts to rebuild his shattered existence."

"Red Card" is the second book in the Black Jack Gentlemen series by Liz Crowe, which explores the lives of the men in the team and the challenges they face in the football (soccer) world, with its politics and prejudices.  On this occasion, the focus is Metin, the Turkish ex-super-star-footballer coach who had it all and lost it all.  This is his story.  How he got to coach the BJs and more.

If you are looking for a non-stop-sex-fest, this is not the book.  Yes, there is hot sex, in appropriate places, but mainly this is a story about people, their flaws, their failings, how they change, and about life.  It is a heart-breaking journey, emotionally charged and a true roller-coaster ride.  If you have a heart, you will need some tissues handy.

Unlike the first book, Man On, which dealt with how the team came to be and the M/M relationship between the two mid-fielders Nicco and Parker, Metin's story is very heterosexual.  Liz shows us some glimpses into the Black Jacks football team but these are mainly tie-ins to the first book and items to place Metin in its context.   The subject of this book is without a shadow of a doubt Metin, the man, the human being and his life.   The sporting element is there, but it is secondary, so do not worry if football is not your thing.  This title can be read as a stand-alone, but I would recommend reading the first instalment as it provides a more rich background.

Metin's story is presented by a third person narrator, and it begins about five years prior to the Black Jacks team being formed.  As it was hinted in book one, a major event changed Metin's life; this is reflected in this second book being split into two different parts - before and after.  As a minor niggle, the timeline does become seemingly inconsistent in the second part of book, and by chapter 12 I would have expected it to have been a three years time span, however we are told it is only two.  This is confusing due to the time references provided thus far.  [* This is the explanation - no spoilers*: Chapter 2, 7 and 8 clearly refer to a two years time gap ("for the last two years", "for two years", "two years earlier") and Chapter 3 and 5 call it "nearly two years", Chapter 10 talks about a further four months lapse ("four solid months") and Chapter 11 and 12 talk about it being the "end of season" thus inferring Metin had been in the USA at least seven months (March to October) with a further two months to December, i.e. nine months in total.  In fact, the more I look into this, the more problematic the timeline appears to be, especially when going back to book one and the reference to Metin in Chapter 11...*End of explanation*]

Liz Crowe has the ability to paint a very rich picture, with complex characters and situations.  She will make you loathe a character and to then get you to see their point of view and understand them.  I felt this strongly in this book, in particular with the character of Melanie (although both of the main female characters, the two sisters, Alicia and Mel, had their very irrational, very irritating behaviour).  Metin was an easy given, a truly genuine character who wore his heart on his sleeve, and I could not help but sympathise with him - I also failed to see his male chauvinistic nature.

Red Card was a very good read and I look forward to the next one: Shut Out.

[ARC received via Netgalley]

About the Author

Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor.  She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a ground-breaking fiction hybrid, “Romance.  Worth the Risk,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” ("Happily Ever After") and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.

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1 comment:

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