Hard Proof by Debra Kayn
Series: Notus Motorcycle Club #1
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on May 30th 2017
Genres: Biker / MC
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Identical twin sisters move to St. John's, Oregon, buy Vavoom's Bar, and purposely put themselves into the path of Notus Motorcycle Club. Burdened by a deep, dark secret, Clara has to be careful because one wrong step, one wrong word, could land her and Gracie in prison.
Her need to stay close to the motorcycle club members backfire when Wayne Shaw throws her heart into a tailspin. There is more to the possessive biker than she originally thought. Cornered and out of options, she can only go forward and hope Wayne protects her.
Wayne Shaw splits his time between working at Port Loaders, searching for missing persons in partnership with the local police department, and keeping Notus Motorcycle Club together in hopes a brother will come home. Skilled at finding clues normal people miss, he has no trouble telling the new owners of Vavoom's apart. He only wants Clara.
When a little girl goes missing, followed by a teenager disappearing, Wayne's need to keep Clara safe while searching for a serial killer gets tested... until he's no longer sure who is the hunted and who is the hunter.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Expectations play a major role in the enjoyment a reader experiences with each story they read. I anticipated Hard Proof would be based around a Motorcycle Club, with all the usual testosterone leaping off the pages. What I encountered was a suspenseful story about two women who sought the support of vigilantes. The Notus MC were men who achieved results where the police couldn’t.
I enjoy reading the author notes at the end of a book. It’s a great way to put your emotions in check and make the connection between the creator and your experience. It’s here where Ms. Kayn discusses presenting a different kind of MC, which went a long way to answering my concerns. Unfortunately, certain aspects I consider essential for a book in the MC genre were not present to the degree I expected.
First and foremost is brotherhood and club time. Secondly the structure of the MC is based on there being a: President; Vice President; Sergeant At Arms; Road Chief; Patched Members and Prospects. A quick count of the minimum of the positions I could recall would suggest at least 8-12 characters are required to bring an MC story together. The reason for the Notus MC having limited members was explained but I missed the extra drama having a larger cast of personalities provides.
The Notus MC consisted of Wayne and the four mates he considered brothers. One guy had been absent for years, so realistically four men in total formed the club. They all came across as nice guys, who earned an honest living and worked in their spare time solving crimes. Their call to fame was they were vigilantes driven to protect their community from hideous crimes, especially those against women. A highly commendable stance, but it could have worked just as well if the guys were straight out private investigators that happened to ride motorbikes.
When I read, either music, gifs or subtexts subconsciously enter my headspace. Early on in this story the first one to jump to mind was “Today’s show is brought to you by the letter B (Biker) and the number 7” (it’s mentioned). The result being my thoughts ran interference between concentrating on the drama and suspense I was anticipating.
As I was amusing myself with flashbacks to childhood television, the alternative chapters began to introduce a sinister angle, slowly obscuring my humorous deflections. I was pleased to discover I was wrong in my assumption as to who was causing the mayhem and glad the story wasn’t as predictable as I imagined. It wasn’t until I was well over two-thirds into the story did I find my focus. By this stage though the sentiment of missing the biker read I had hoped for was firmly in place.
The plot was sinister, but I lost faith in the rationale of the methods in what was being pursued and the entertainment value of the men they sought assistance from. There were aspects to the investigation that just didn’t add up.
Losing my connection and respect for what the twins had sought out to achieve impacted on the romance within the story. The romance wasn’t instant, nor was it drawn out but when they got together I didn’t embrace the chemistry supposedly brewing. Hard Proof while not the structure I look for in an MC/Biker romance would be one for readers who prefer a gentler tale will appreciate.
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