Beneath the Burn

Beneath the Burn - Pam Godwin Imagine how angry I was when by ten percent into this book I just couldn't stand anything about it. It had so much potential to be a thrilling, dark read and then it just fell on its' face. Our main characters just didn't work for me. Everything felt inconsistent.

My biggest problem was with our hero, Jay, who is supposed to be some big-time rock star with all of these deep seated issues-- which is EXACTLY my thing-- but he didn't work for me. Like at all. I felt like the author was forcing him into a role which he did not fit. Jay was not a rocker, but a troubled man, an introvert with some deep-seated control issues, who would probably avoid the limelight at any cost. But here he is, a world-famous rock star? The scenes where he is speaking honestly and openly with the heroine and interacting with other characters, you just can't as a reader, believe that he is a rock star because he doesn't act like one. You also can't believe that he has addiction issues, except when you are explicitly told that he does, because he is able to function fine in main scenes without them. The drugs and the rock-star trope seem like a plot device, to add interest to the story, but it didn't feel authentic, or work for me.

I liked the premise, that Jay goes into a tattoo shop at a really low point in his life and meets our fair heroine, Charlee who has problems of her own to deal with. He has a horrible scar on his back from being abused as child, which is what is causing all of his major ISSUES. The heroine who understands abuse, connects in a deep and meaningful way over this tattoo. This creates some sort of unshakeable bond between the two of them and carries them over time and space. I liked the idea of that, but I didn't really buy Charlee, later on, sitting in captivity fantasizing about a guy she had given a tattoo to for an hour before getting re-kidnapped, but whatever. Especially when she had a very nice boyfriend at the time of Jay's tattoo, who is killed just before she gets re-captured. Wouldn't she be worrying about HIM? It seems a bit thoughtless on her part to be so fixated on a client and not the guy she'd been seeing for a year (or something). But, I was willing to over look it. The tattoo gets Jay and Charlee through until the next time they meet-- fine ok, I accepted that.

Unfortunately, the next time they meet, Jay is supposed to be a big mess and having sex with all these random girls and doing all sorts of drugs all the while being the member of The World's Most Famous Rock Band. (Aren't they always?) Somehow his band mates are well-adjusted and sober (no idea who that works, but again, whatever). Here's where it went totally downhill for me. Jay isn't really attracted to other girls, he struggles complete the "act", yet he is sleeping with them? He doesn't like people to touch him, but he is finding a lot of women to have intercourse with, and just tying them up to avoid contact? And Jay really likes leather pants, skin tight ones (again, what? This has been a sexy idea in some books, but the character has to be pretty alphatastic to rock it and not seem like some weirdo. The King in J.R. Ward's books-- he can rock some leather pants. This dude, not so much.) He is also a rock star that likes to hide in the shadows on-stage? I got that he has issues, but is rocking really the career for someone who ABSOLUTELY HATES attention from the public? He should have been written as an agoraphobic hiding in a cabin in the woods. THAT I would have believed.

Conveniently, this is all good for Charlee, because despite the severe abuse she has also suffered for YEARS and YEARS, nay since her adolsence, she likes to be dominated? She is also remarkably well-adjusted for a woman kept as a slave by a sadistic psycho since the age of 16.

Naturally, Jay can't handle Charlee's needs, because he doesn't want to do anything to hurt her (it's only other human-beings he doesn't give a crap about hurting). He's all possessive and protective of Charlee. He just seemed like a jerk to me.

The whole thing just didn't make sense to me. Once our heroine is back on the scene, we are experiencing Jay's issues firsthand, but Jay snorts coke once and then comes down off his high about five minutes later and somehow has no withdrawal issues to contend with as a long as Charlee is around. That's quite a rehab program!

Once they are reunited and have a bit of privacy (oh wait, they don't seem to care about that either. There is a long sequence of them practically screwing in the car and then again in the public area of the band's private jet. If we clock the time that Charlee and Jay have actually known each other at either of those points, including the tattooing, it is less than a day.) Of course, being madly in lust, Charlee and Jay just want to get it on a lot, but they are struggling because they are both all messed up. (Cue a scene in the airplane bathroom that just creeped me out. Because seriously, who wants to engage is serious acts of prolonged intimacy in an airplane bathroom, gross!).

I just couldn't believe anything about either of them, or their "love" story. Their actions, based on the history we are given, does not work. Additionally, in many of the scenes the writing lacked consistency. The conversations, all of which sparked the conflict that kept the book moving forward, contained dialogue that was conflicting, non-linear and confusing. It left me wondering what Jay and Charlee were talking about and how they got from point a to point b.

I gave up near the end, I just couldn't slog through anymore nonsense. 1 star, what a let down.