Friday, September 13, 2013

After Midnight by Santino Hassell - 4 Strong Stars

After Midnight
**The following review reflects how I felt about the book at the time of reading. I do not believe in erasure, therefore I am letting my review stand.

However, due to too much supporting evidence of abuse, lies, fraud and slander, I can no longer recommend this work.**

After Midnight by Santino Hassell

Available for purchase at:
All Romance Ebooks

ebook, 2nd edition - Revised and edited, 244 pages
Expected publication: September 17th 2013 (first published June 1st 2011)
Original title After Midnight
ISBN 9780615841
Edition language English


Prepare to:

-Fall hard for Gordon!
---Be teased to near death!
------Get completely sucked into this raw world!


In a nutshell this is a dark, raw romance that has intriguing chemistry between the two main characters. This world is uncomfortably similar to our own, but just edgy enough to keep you off center. I loved the relationship development, ensuing mysteries behind every character and the intense action scenes.

Confession: I haven’t finished reading the ICoS series. And I don’t think it mattered one bit! I am familiar with the post-war world that Mr. Hassell and Ais created, having read Evenfall and part of Afterimage, but I’m not an authority. After Midnight can easily be read completely apart from the ICoS series.


…he was an anxious wreck most of the time; constantly frightened that his life would return to the old days. He knew Pandora just relaxed him enough to think clearly, but it still felt like magic. Rainbows and star shine and the will to keep going.
Gordon Frost - He seems to fall somewhere between anxious class clown and unaware genius. Okay, genius is way too strong, but he does have potential to not fuck up everything. If only he could keep his mouth shut. He also has this “woe is me” thing going on, but it’s genuine, not whiny. It just made me want to hold him.

“You are the most batshit covert criminal…whatever guy, that I’ve ever met. You just tried to choke me and now you’re commenting that I have a fever.”
“I was making an observation,” Adam said with a defensive edge in his voice.
“Whatever, man. Just whatever.”
Adam Blake - Typical agent. Gorgeous, deadly, dry, and so fucking sexy he crinkled the pages of my kindle. At the same time there’s this mysteriousness about him and it’s hard to know what makes him tick. For all that Adam was a badass, he seemed so straight edge it was painful.

The relationship between Gordon and Adam is delightful. For a long time it goes something like this:
“Keep talking and I’ll gag you.”
“Blow me.”

Honestly, I really do love the chemistry between Gordon and Adam. At one point there’s this kiss that stops a bout of hysterics that is so vivid and intense my heart cracked. That’s when I realized just how much I was in Gordon’s head.

Side characters:
Rachel -The best friend and sexy badass.
Chance - I want his story, there’s so much more to know.
Marquis - I don’t even know what to think of him. He’s a…conundrum.
The Twins – Scary, sexy, scary.


It’s 2021 and more than ten years ago the world suffered nuclear attacks that killed untold numbers, decimating major cities and creating marked changes to the world as we know it. Survivors have found ways to endure, cope, and some, even to thrive.

He imagined it swirling into his system and entering his bloodstream while he anticipated the next few minutes, when the effects of Pandora would kick in. Every time he popped a cap he knew what true love felt like, and every time was like the first time.
Drug use is a popular coping mechanism, and luckily for Gordon he deals in the most popular drug of choice. Pandora. He partakes himself, frequently, and seems to change in front of your eyes. From self-doubting and insecure to mouthy, aware and horny, he goes through his days surviving. After a particularly bad day Gordon goes home only to be abducted.

Sadly, the first thing to cross Gordon’s mind was: Wow, he’s pretty fucking hot.
Mr. Greek, or Adam, as we come to know him, is an assassin for “The Agency “and always has to do what he’s told. Except he’s got a goddamned conscience. The mess he finds himself in, all because of his attraction to Gordon, is a train wreck waiting to happen.

From here on out there are people in the shadows, clear cut threats, jealousy, conspiracy theories and Gordon running for his life. Until he is caught…again.

In the two days it took Gordon to become mobile, his paranoia had reached astronomical heights.

For me, the subtle feeling of gloom in this world comes not only from the eerie similarity to our present world, but also from a less-is-more approach. Mr. Hassell has certainly tightened up his word count and made it count! Bravo.

The Blurb:

Gordon Frost is a survivor. He survived a war that ravaged the nation, and he made it through the orphanages and crime-ridden slums that followed. With few prospects for the future, Gordon carved out a niche for himself in the expanding drug trade of Lexington, PA. It’s not pretty, but it's his, and it beats what he was doing before. But a classic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time results in a brush with death, going by the name of Adam. Afterward, the life that seemed good enough before, isn't quite the same.

Adam Blake is an assassin on the brink of being terminated by the very organization that controls him. He completed his mission, but not without being seen. With his secrets in danger of being exposed by Gordon, Adam knows he should kill the smart-mouthed redhead, but finds himself intrigued by the troublesome civilian instead.

When Gordon’s knack for finding trouble combines with the dangerous consequences of Adam’s indecision, their worlds intertwine in an explosive way.

The pacing, the controlled imagery and the character connections are very well done. Although there was a little sluggishness in the middle, and there were a few awkward passages, the ending makes up for this with blazing action and drama.

Ultimately it’s very readable and engrossing. You’ll find a clever combination of humor mixed with tension, heartache, and even subtle human messages that give poignancy and a deeper connection to the story.

There was something special about coming so close to death and managing to escape.
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I would like to thank Santino Hassell and Susan Lee for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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