Book Review – Last Loose End by K.R. Allen

Thanks to Gay Book Promotions for the opportunity to read and review.

Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 270
Characters: Cole/Sean
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller

Over the years, acting on instinct has gotten Australian secret agent Cole Pearson into as much trouble as it has helped him out of. This time the impulsive rescue of Sean Trammel sees him AWOL and on the run across Queensland. The mining analyst it seems poses an immediate and significant danger to someone powerful and masked gunmen in a corporate office in Brisbane is just the beginning. Searching for answers a strange conspiracy emerges and Cole discovers himself to be just as much a target as his new companion. Cole unexpectedly finds himself desperate to keep Sean alive for reasons purely personal and uses every skill at his disposal to protect him. And when they dig deeper into the mystery they realise that the hunters are equally determined to stop Sean sharing whatever secret they are certain he knows.

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One of the reasons I picked up this book was that it was set in Brisbane, and I enjoy different settings, and especially references to locations and culture down under. The other was that I enjoy a well written action drama. The story doesn’t disappoint on either of those points. I found the setting very easy to visualise, well described, but not overly so, and it felt very real.

The action part of the story starts immediately, and I thought it was very much a roller coaster read. The details, especially with how Cole ensures they stay safe, and the tricks he uses to disguise himself and Sean from his pursuers, are very well thought out, and brilliantly sneaky. The fight scenes are well choreographed, and I liked that there were consequences and how both men don’t come away uninjured. It felt very realistic.

I did find, however, that the early chapters were a little long, which made it difficult to find a good place to put the book down in between reading sessions. Given the length of it, I didn’t find it a ‘read in one go’ book. And although I enjoyed the action, I did wonder if some of those scenes could have been cut, as at one point I found the book dragged a little despite how much there was going on. It was still a good read though.

I loved the slow burn romance between Cole and Sean. I thought it was realistic that they took things very slow, including working out what their reactions to each other, and their growing feelings for each other meant. I liked their character arcs, and how more is revealed to the reader, and to each other, as they let their guards down, and start to trust each other. I appreciated that Sean doesn’t trust Cole immediately—it added to the realism of the story and characterisation.

The plot, and why the bad guys are after Sean, unravels at a slower pace than the action, and I enjoyed the reveal, and the layers of conspiracy. Nina is a great character, and I enjoyed her role in the story. She’s very direct, and a good friend.

I’d recommend Last Loose End to readers who enjoy thrillers with plenty of action, a slow burn romance, and an added bonus of an Australian setting. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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