Payback, John Inman

PaybackRating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: Gay Romance

Tags: Angst, Contemporary Setting, Loss, Mystery, Revenge, Romance, Violence

Length: 200 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Dreamspinner Press, – Pre-Order – Release Date: February 2, 2015



Blurb –

When Tyler Powell’s life is torn apart by an unspeakable crime, the need for vengeance takes over. Every moment of every day, as he tries to pull his shattered existence together again, it’s all he can think about—revenge.

Will he give in to his rage and become the very thing he hates most? A killer?

Only with the help of Homicide Detective Christian Martin, the cop in charge of his case, does Tyler see the possibility of another life beginning—the astounding revelation of another love reaching out to him. A love he thought he would never know again.

Will he let that love into his life, or is he lost already? Is payback more important to Tyler than his own happiness? And the happiness of the man who loves him? Tyler is determined to find a way to exact his revenge without sacrificing all hope for a future with Christian, but it will be difficult—if not impossible—and in the end he might be forced to make an unbearable choice.

Review –

I’ve read a lot of books with characters who lose their partner and move on to find love again. I’ve never been a fan of those that rushed the grieving process and had the one left behind jumping right into a relationship shortly after. I’ve read almost everything John Inman has written. I can’t even tell you the last time I looked at a blurb before adding one of his books to my TBR. In other words, I always assume (from the books I’ve read before) that I will love the next one. In the case of Payback, I didn’t doubt for a second that I would enjoy the story. However, I was nervous once I started reading it for the reasons mentioned above. I shouldn’t have worried because while Tyler and Christian happened relatively quickly after the death of Tyler’s husband, it was written where it seemed as if a lot of time had passed. You’ll have to read the book to understand where I’m coming from.

With that being said –

Payback 2 With QuoteTyler and Spence are a happily married couple. The book starts out with a very graphic sex scene between them, but it’s not just sex. The reader is able to see the love the two men share. You know that one of them will be taken away soon. The author taking you into their world so intimately right off has you feeling for both. You will fall in love with Spence. He’s the ultimate partner. You’ll also love Tyler. The two just work so well together. But by bringing you into their intimacy, you are also where you’ve already developed feelings for the characters and this makes the rest of the book that much more real.

Tyler and Spence take their dog Franklin for a walk shortly after they have sex. They go to a dog park they often frequent and everything is going fine. Then suddenly it’s not. Franklin takes off and it’s when Spence and Tyler go to find him that everything falls apart. I won’t list the details of what happens, but it’s a very difficult scene to read.

Tyler wakes up from a coma three weeks after the dog park incident. Suddenly, his entire world is turned upside down. Spence, the man he loves, the man he married, is gone. Still recovering from his own injuries, Tyler is forced to try to heal physically on top of grieving for the only man he’s ever loved.

Sad man in a empty roomHe didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.

He’s interviewed by Homicide Detective Christian Martin while still in the hospital. How can he help find the killer (s) when he was in a coma for a few weeks and his memories are sketchy? Christian is kind and patient. Unlike what you would expect of a seasoned detective, Christian takes his time and allows Tyler to tell his story at his own pace. This begins a journey of sorts for Tyler. When he’s released from the hospital shortly after the interview with Chris, he’s forced back to the home he shared with his husband. It’s so.. empty. He goes from grieving to wanting revenge against those who destroyed his life by taking Spence away from him. The author wrote this well – the grief and the anger. You can feel what Tyler is feeling as he is forced to face the rest of his life alone. He starts avoiding family and friends and even his job. He walls himself into his home and is in fear every time he takes one step out of it. The only thing keeping him going is the need for revenge. He wants to do to those what was done to him… he wants to destroy the people who took Spence away from him.

Then we get back to Chris, the detective. I loved him at his introduction and this grew the more I read. Christian is possibly one of the most patient men I’ve ever seen in a book. It’s obvious fairly early on that he has developed feelings for Tyler, but he doesn’t push. He knows that Tyler is grieving and never does he try to push himself into the other man’s heart. There’s also the fact that he knows that there won’t be any type of future for either until the killers are caught. Why would Tyler want him if he failed to bring justice for what was done?200493387-001

More happens, of course, as Tyler makes moves in the direction of getting revenge. Certain parts of the story will have you thinking “Wow… did he really just do that?” but after all he’s gone through, you might just understand why he does the things he does.

This is a book about finding love again. Yes, Tyler and Spence had a beautiful and special relationship. Never does John Inman take away from what the two men shared. Everything – from before the murder to what happens after – is written with sensitivity. The reader is allowed to go inside the mind of a man who believes he has lost everything and then to see him opening his heart again for another. Sure, it happens relatively quickly, but like I said above, it didn’t feel like only a few months had passed. A lot of things happen from beginning to end.

This is two love stories in one. In the beginning you have Tyler and Spence. They were beautiful together. Later, you have Tyler and Christian. While Christian doesn’t replace Spence in Tyler’s heart, he is eventually allowed in. None of that is rush, rush, whether it be the love or the intimacy. Tyler has to get over the feelings of guilt of cheating on Spence and he has to help do what needs to be done to get the killers off the streets.

200215687-001This is a John Inman book, so of course there’s a pet in it. Franklin the dog wasn’t in the book a whole lot, but he didn’t have to be. He was there when it counted. I won’t say more than that or it will be too telling.

This is also a mystery. You want to know who the killers are and why they did what they did. Mostly, you want to see them get what they deserve. I was very happy with the resolution. I admit to being a bit unsure of how certain things would play out in regards to Tyler’s actions a couple of times, but I was very pleased with the way that came together.

Overall, a great book. You’ll cry a lot. You’ll smile a few times. You might even chuckle a bit. In the end, you’ll be glad you read it. I highly suggest keeping tissues close by. I can’t imagine anyone reading this and not being strongly touched by it.

Highly recommended.


This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Kazza K

Great review, Cindi. Glad you enjoyed it so much.

john inman

Thanks for the great review. I appreciate it. You folks always make me smile.