Title: Whistle Blower by Dev Bentham
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 214 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author
Money can’t buy happiness. Jacob Nussbaum knows this better than anyone. He’s a corporate lawyer deep inside a huge New York firm, where he works overtime, sacrifices any chance at a personal life, and has been selling his soul for years. With a secretary as his only friend, he trudges on, until his whole world is blown apart by a manila envelope of photos—evidence that one of the firm’s partners is the dirtiest lawyer in one hell of a filthy business.
In search of the truth, Jacob travels to a small northern Wisconsin fishing resort. There he meets Ben Anderson, a brutally lonely man, who knocks him off his feet. Ben prompts Jacob to reevaluate his life. He’s a dozen years older than Jacob, still recovering from the death of his long time love, and doesn’t want to leave anyone a widower. But a jaded New Yorker on a soul-searching mission might be just the man to convince the grieving Ben that it’s never too late to begin again.
Whistle Blower by Dev Bentham is a sweet and sultry novel of healing for widower Ben Anderson. Still grieving the death of his longtime partner of twenty-five years when he meets Jacob Nussbaum, Ben gradually comes to terms with his loss but is he ready to commit to another relationship?
In his mid-thirties, Jacob has sacrificed his personal life to achieve professional success and despite making partner, he still continues to work long hours. After receiving an envelope from an anonymous source containing damning evidence against senior partner Marvin Voss, Jacob suffers a crisis of conscience over his chosen profession. As a corporate lawyer who helps major corporations settle disputes to their advantage, he has always maintained a degree of separation from the victims in the law suits. However, after viewing the photos from the chemical spill case he worked on with Voss, Jacob decides that no matter the cost to his career, he has no choice but to find proof that Voss is guilty of ethical misconduct.
The first step in Jacob’s investigation is to track down opposing lawyer Carl Halverson at a remote Wildcat Island Resort in northern Wisconsin. Upon his arrival, he discovers that Carl has changed his arrival date but Jacob decides to take advantage of his time off. Although completely out of his element, he relaxes for the first time in years and he enjoys spending time in Ben’s company and learning to row a scull. At the same time, Jacob continues to re-evaluate his life but he remains uncertain about his plans for his future and the situation with Voss.
After Manny’s death, Ben moved to Wisconsin and began operating the lodge year round. Although he has been gone for two years, Ben cannot bring himself to clear out Manny’s clothes or spread his ashes. Despite indulging in a couple of meaningless one night stands in the intervening years, Ben is nowhere near ready for another relationship which is why his attraction to Jacob catches him completely off guard. He genuinely likes the younger man and while he is willing to agree to a no strings fling, Ben is unprepared for his growing feelings for Jacob.
Ben and Jacob’s relationship begins with friendship and gradually turns to sexual once they decide to act on their mutual attraction. Their encounters are deliciously steamy and both men are surprised by their emotional connection. When it is time for Jacob to return to New York, their parting is a little bittersweet and they begin corresponding by e-mail. Jacob returns to Wisconsin to meet face to face with Carl and while waiting for his arrival, he resumes his fling with Ben. Both men realize their feelings run deeper than desire, but Ben refuses to take their relationship to the next level in an effort to protect Jacob from future heartache. Another trip provides Jacob vital information about Voss and unexpectedly leads to disagreement with Ben that completely derails their burgeoning romance.
Whistle Blower is a beautifully written romance that is remarkably free from unnecessary drama or angst. Ben and Jacob are well-rounded protagonists who are flawed yet immensely appealing. The resort setting is quite unique and Dev Bentham brings the remote island and its surroundings vibrantly to life. With its distinctive storyline and charming cast of characters, Whistle Blower is a realistic and engaging love story that I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend to fans of the genre.