I know it’s been awhile since I posted a book review but I got caught up since A Private Affair and I’m now THREE books ahead. And each book has been juicier than the last so I’m going to try to go back to Sweet Swagger and give you my run down.
Sweet Swagger was the follow up novel to Mike Warren’s A Private Affair which introduced the reader to Sean Matthews and his wild lifestyle. In my last review, I stated that two elements set this novel apart from the riff-raff: setting and pacing. Well, you can throw that out of the window because this novel took the wildest and weirdest turn I’ve ever experienced in a book. While the military setting remained, it was placed on the back burner in place of more nightclub scenes and “home life".
Nevertheless, the pace remained consistent and I was swept up, anticipating each page like a huge spoonful of chocolate sundae!
At the conclusion of A Private Affair, we found Sean confessing his love before his friend Cameron who was at the altar about to marry *GASP* a woman. However, Sean's arrested on suspicion of murder before he can blink (Cameron too) and Sean finds himself in a race to discover the truth before it’s too late. As if that isn’t enough on his plate, his wife suddenly dies and he’s left a single dad with two small children. But oh no, Mike Warren doesn’t leave it at that – the cherry on top? Sean enters “complicated” relationship with men and women that ties back into the murder and delves into an underground world of sex, lust and power.
About two-thirds into the book, the novel took an unexpected turn regarding this underground lifestyle and while at times graphic and a bit disturbing, I enjoyed the diversion from the main plot. Initially, I thought it was a bit fantastical and whimsical (Sean should still be grieving) but after finishing the novel, it made me wonder what people are really hiding behind closed doors. In essence, your next door neighbors may not be the quiet, normal couple that one thinks.
I was disappointed with the development of some of the characters such as Cameron and Cat (she was introduced in the first book). While I hold no discrimination against effeminate men, I still find it difficult to believe that Cameron went from knock-down-drag-out-of-the-flaming-closet-queen to straight husband and father. Additionally, I was a little weirded out by the new characters Justin, Ty and Mike, mostly because the affairs with them moved quickly. And kudos to Warren for keeping the continuity flowing from the first novel (HINT: floors + paint).
Lastly, the subplot mystery turned out to be a disappointment (very rushed scene) but equally surprising (my detective skills need some tuning). Additionally, Warren utilized the same technique from his first book to end the novel: the cliffhanger. I’ve nothing against this however, it’s very frustrating and disappointing and hope he’s planning a third novel.
Overall, this was a very strong counterpart to his debut book. The pacing, storyline and characters were just as salacious and sensational. Mike Warren has proven himself a true master of storytelling.