Rarer Than Rubies
When Trent Copeland runs into Reed Acton at a Bangkok airport, he thinks the handsome American is too good to be true. Why would someone like Reed be interested in a quiet, introverted gay-romance writer? After all, even an obvious tourist like Trent can see that there is more to Reed’s constant unexplained appearances in his path than meets the eye.
Reed Acton has one mission and one mission only—he needs to get the map that was accidentally slipped into Trent’s bag and keep the mobsters who want the priceless artifact from taking deadly revenge. Trent Copeland is a delicious and damned near irresistible diversion, but Reed can’t afford distractions right now, especially if he wants to keep Trent safe.
From Bangkok’s seediest back alleys to the sacred north, the two men will fight to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and learn that the only treasure worth finding is… each other.
I found this to be a very enjoyable read. It was a mix of gay erotic romance and globe-trotting adventure — and as I’m a fan of adventure and thrillers that span the world, this was a nice treat. I found the plot and writing to be nicely complex — not as overly complex as these thriller/adventure books can sometimes be, but also not flat-out straight-forward. The mix of elements and plot style made for an entertaining read.
There were times where I felt the prose could have been tightened and cleaned a bit, but the pacing and story kept me going along. As well, I’m not usually one for details in writing, but Rarer Than Rubies could have benefitted from some more descriptive passages about Thailand and the streets of Bangkok.
Both Trent and Reed were well-crafted viewpoint characters. Trent starts as a naive romance writer who is in many ways the stereotypical gay guy (multiple types of body wash, fancy clothes, etc), but he grows and develops nicely through the story. That amount of character growth he undergoes could easily have come off as forced, as it is considerable, but Lynley carries it off ably. I have to say that I was quite hesitant when I saw that Trent is a romance writer — in the few books I’ve read where the author writes a character with a career the author personally has, I find it comes off as a bit lame. (I disliked the author main character in Stephen King’s The Dark Half, the minister main character in Prophet by Christian fiction author Frank E Peretti, or the semi-autobiographical Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card.) So, I did get off to a weak start with Trent as a character, but quickly warmed up to him, as Lynley crafted Trent well. Reed is an interesting character as we are never too sure if he is a good guy or a bad guy — but Lynley gets the reader to care about him before we find out his true motivations, so when we find out he’s good, it’s a nice payoff for the trust the reader invested.
Rarer Than Rubies is one of those rarer romance books that manages to deftly meld two genres — romance and, in this case, adventure — into a satisfying whole. It was definitely worth the read and I will be picking up its sequel, Italian Ice, soon.