Freeman - Clare London The opening prologue to this book had me jumping up and down with excitement!!!

Freeman 2

The night was dark, the pavements shadowed by the diffused gleam of the streetlights. Occasionally I'd hear a car passing, raising spray in the gutters, and the trajectory of it's headlights would flicker across my window blinds.

This is a compelling read and I was sucked in, mouth agape ready for the promise of more… it set the scene for the book perfectly, a story shrouded in mystery, the dark atmosphere almost oppressive with a narrator both unemotional and detached from the proceedings despite the fact that he was placed right in the middle of it. He is dark and mysterious, knowing, an observer lurking in the shadows of a seedy night club, the boy next to him a stranger, yet somehow he feels protective towards him… he knows this world and it’s nefarious characters, yet he sits, watching like a predator patiently stalking its prey, no emotion, guarded, yet totally aware!

There is no colour in this world, rather you get the feeling of a blanket of sadness and melancholy vividly enhanced through the writing of Clare London. It has the feel of a dark noir detective thriller, I could practically feel the fog swirling around my ankles! The mystery is enhanced by a constant underlying thread woven into this tale, we catch an occasional glimpse of it before it disappears back into the shadows, the dark plot and lack of information draw you in with each page turned relentlessly teasing, wanting to know more… hanging on the narrators every word to try and piece it all together, with a constant stream of questions in your head almost pleading for answers.

Our enigmatic narrator is Freeman a man of few words, dispassionate with a dangerous edge to him. He has returned to London after five years of self-imposed exile, wanting to escape the world and friends he no longer recognised. His return and stoically guarded demeanour have unsettled the equilibrium and his old friend and business partner George, his ex-wife Stella and ex-lover Miki are more than a little nervous about his intentions. He seems to be dismissive of them, but I felt that he got some satisfaction from unsettling those around him, I didn’t feel resentment or even revenge from Freeman… it was more a feeling of acceptance and hurt but we don’t find out the true reason of his return until the end of the book and despite Freeman being the narrator we never really fully understand him or see what’s going on inside his head, it’s as though he is hiding it from himself as well as us!

"No mystery, right. A businessman who lives in a fucking expensive flat, on his own, with some weird neighbours. With no sign of what that business actually is. A man who drinks too much coffee and works out of an alley behind the high street. A man who's young and pretty fit, but who watches strange films and listens to old music."

I grinned. "That's me" I replied.

Kit is George’s new plaything, his toy… to do with as he pleases, he is smart but very naïve, thinking George is his chance to make something of himself, he is a misguided young man, fragile, lost and certainly doesn't belong in a world filled with the seedy underbelly of the criminal element of London but he too has his secrets.

Suddenly it was all about Kit, all about him. All I could think of, all I could want and need. It was as if I were sinking, drowning, but with no attempt to save myself. My common sense stepped outside my body, gently shaking it's head, watching with disapproval as my heart beat faster and my blood turned from sustenance to desire.

Kit and Freeman are drawn to each other and it certainly wasn't because of Freemans scintillating conversation! I got the impression Kit felt safe with Freeman, a haven to escape, if only for a little while from a lifestyle he knew in his heart was all wrong… he feels guilt for letting himself be used and tries to justify it not only to Freeman but also himself. Freeman is not very forthcoming, he is a loner, a man who prefers his own company yet Kit has somehow wormed his way into his home and heart and it’s Kit that becomes the focus of his attention. Kit is relentlessly inquisitive, questioning, wanting to know something, anything about the man who hides behind the façade that is Freeman. But it’s not something Freeman dwells on, he has firmly buried and turned his back on a life his conscience wouldn't let him be a part of and his heart didn't want to be reminded of. I was hurting for both these characters, Kit for his naïve innocence, wanting something better and believing George is the man that can take him there… as a mother I wanted to cry, my heart was breaking for him and with Freeman it was his lack of emotion that was so compelling and gut wrenching… with him, it’s what we don’t see that hurts the most.

I felt something catch in my chest and a breath that was more like a gasp escaped through my lips. I felt as if something inside me started to unravel. The bindings slipped swiftly away, freeing me. sharp, silvered threads whipping away on the breeze, allowing me to breath again, to feel again.

This book was so close to being on my best ever list based on the first half, but after that I was slightly disappointed but I’ll tell you why… at the 20% mark there is a scene in the club owned by George, now bearing in mind I love my dark m/m novels and for me this scene set the tone of the book… the promise of seedy nightclubs, drugs, sordid sex and violence, these men were dangerous and George was embarking on a deal that would see him as formidable opponent in London’s underground dealings… I wanted more dark, more danger… I wanted these men to be as bad and cut throat as promised, but that was as bad as it got it never quite delivered the characters I wanted. Now for those of you that do not enjoy the raw and gritty novels I lean towards then you will love this book… it skirts the fringes of danger with nothing more than a few scuffles and arguments and perhaps without that scene I probably wouldn’t have been quite so gutted that I didn’t get my desired slice of depravity.

Having said that this is still an excellent read, there is always that threat of danger with an underlying mystery excellently executed. The romance between these two men was intense and passionate full of sexual tension and some very hot sex scenes! Watching Freeman let Kit into his heart was beautiful to watch, Kit was an open book and wore his heart on his sleeve but Freeman had opened his heart and mind to sex being more than just the some of those three letters... and although they were total opposites in every sense of the word, it worked, this crazy relationship was right and they were perfect together.

Throughout we only have Freeman’s thoughts and perspective, but Ms London does not rush him, no… we are slowly and painfully drip fed information with layer upon layer slowly pulled away never getting the whole picture until the end, and I love that Clare London challenges us as readers to draw our own conclusions and fill in the gaps that Freeman has been so reluctant to share. Ms London brings us stories filled with atmosphere, the intensity of which is palpable at times and Freeman is a shining example.

This book is Highly recommended... I LOVED IT!!!

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