Punch Back

Cassandre Dayne
Punch Back
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Publisher
Rebel Ink Press
Release Date
October 2011
Genre
Action/Adventure Romance, BDSM, LGBTQ, Ménage or more, Multi-cultural/Multi-racial Romance

SUMMARY
In the year 2028, there are only a handful of honest cops in Detroit, a city run by brutal mafia families. Detective Dane Shannon is waging a war of revenge against the men that destroyed his life. Determined to track down the killers, he accepts every assignment, no matter how dangerous. Punch Back is an underground club catering to the vicious world of savage boxing where the losers are forced to engage in kinky acts of sex. The prize for the victorious fighters is a chance at winning the championship and securing a place in the upper echelon. It's also a perfect method for the Luciano family to take back their lost turf. Suddenly the losers are winding up dead, the owner suspected and Dane goes undercover.

Steele Lungren is the co-owner, a massive Russian with a dubious past. Angry at being in the middle of a waging war, he has nowhere to turn when he is pushed against the wall while his partner and current lover questions every decision. As Dane begins racking up wins, his attraction for Steele places the case in jeopardy. Forced to work together or one or both could end up slaughtered, they enter into a relationship that neither understand and the killer unleashes a weakness. Just as the killer is about to strike, certain truths are revealed. In the end, one of them will lose their battle with humanity and perhaps their life.

Book Review by Valentina Heart (author,reviewer)
Feb 13, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
114 people found the following review helpful
When I first read the blurb for this story, I was somewhat skeptical about it being savage or vicious, after all, blurbs are often so misleading. This time the blurb was right, and the book is brutal. The sex is rough, at times non-consensual, the fights are bloody and the told events from the past were not written to spare the sensible readers. I for one loved that. I enjoyed the sex scenes because I do like the unconventional and I did appreciate the snippets of the characters' lives where there were no flowers or sunshine.

PUNCH BACK is a futuristic story about a future where mobs control the cities and violence is both expected as well as enjoyed. Dane is one of the few cops who believes in justice and a better future. At the very start of the book he goes undercover, to fight at the Punchback club and learn all the info he might need to take down the bad guys. But Dane is a wounded man who has lost his wife and child and his reasons for living are few and far between. Beating someone up in a ring and getting beaten up back seems like just the thing to set free his demons.

Steele is a Russian part-owner of Punchback. Cold on the outside and not trying to change that impression, he hides his troubles even from his partner and lover Brice. The two indulge in using the losers of the fights in their club and satisfying their urges. But the mob is never too far out of the eye and the arrival of one of their trainees sets things in motion.

Aside from the world and the sex scenes, I pretty much didn't like anything else in this story. The characters were too inconsistent for me, their relationship rang false and the plot too overwhelmed with the information about the mob world and the club. If the story had been longer, those aspects would have probably developed nicely and made for a compelling read.

I couldn't connect to the characters and their sudden changes of character rubbed me the wrong way. I suppose I couldn't forget Steele's actions from the beginning of the book and accept the re-birthed man he appeared to be later on in the story.

Usually I like it when the past spouses, loved ones, aren't forgotten as the pages fly by, but in this book the constant reminder was simply too much for me. For the most part, the whole case and the mention of the mob family confused me. Brice seemed like an important character almost to the very end and then it turned out he was pretty much insignificant. Really, so many things didn't work for me that I simply couldn't enjoy this story.

However, the author's imagination is something I find very interesting and the dark side of this story pulled me in enough to check out her future works.
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