The good: I wasn’t confident Eric could be redeemed, but Chaser shows that there is a great guy hiding underneath.
The not-so-good: Sometimes Nell can be completely wrong when she decides to have a go at Eric.
Why I chose it: Been really enjoying Kylie Scott’s books – thanks to Pan Macmillan for the eARC.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Rating: 9 out of 10
I’ve been playing catch up with Kylie Scott’s Dive Bar series so it was lovely to be able to get ahead of the pack with an eARC of Chaser, the third book. It’s perfectly acceptable to read this book as a standalone, however I defy you not to go back and read the others once you’ve finished Chaser! If you have read the other stories, you will reunite and catch up with the couples of the previous books (and a glimpse of the boys from the Stage Dive series). The story is fun, sexy and sweet. You might think that’s a bit weird given that the hero and narrator of the story is Eric, grumpy bartender and king of the very casual relationship. I know I certainly was!
In the previous books, Eric has been…well, pretty much a tool. He’s sulky and immature with a penchant for getting into strife. I opened the book expecting that Jean would be the one telling the story, but nope – all Eric. It’s an interesting idea and I think it’s quite successful because the reader gets into his head straight away. From the first chapter, we begin to realise that Eric is not the shallow guy the other characters have thought him to be. There’s a certain vulnerability about him and he’s a man contemplating change. A girlfriend and dates rather than booty calls. Then Jean walks into the Dive Bar and Eric is set on her. She’s gorgeous. Then she stands up and he sees that she’s heavily pregnant. The old Eric would have turned away but the new Eric makes friends with Jean. It’s a sweet relationship that is a struggle on Eric’s behalf, given that he wants more. But there’s a baby about to be involved…
That’s not to say that the new Eric is perfect. He slips after the birth of Jean’s daughter, disappearing to take on the best night life of California. But Eric has changed and it’s not as good as it usually is for him. It was sweet and frustrating in equal measures to see Eric try and redeem himself for Jean (not that he needed to) and in the eyes of his friends. One of the characters, Nell, was particularly nasty in this one. She would not give the poor guy a break. I’m quite glad that Nell is loved up and unlikely to be the focus of a future book because she would be a difficult character for me to cheer on! I know she had her own fears and history with Eric to make her not overly sympathetic towards him, but…wow. She took every opportunity to call him out on past grievances!
Overall, I really enjoyed the male first person perspective of this novel. It was refreshing to see a romance from the male point of view and Eric’s uncertainty just made things sweeter. Kylie Scott nails the dialogue as real and funny once again. I’m hoping to return to the Dive Bar for another drink and read (and of course, the cameo from my favourite fictional drummer Mal).