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"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde

The Definitive Albert J. Sterne

The Definitive Albert J. Sterne - Julie Bozza 5 beautiful, beautiful stars

Albert Sterne, forensics expert with the FBI, is so obnoxious on the surface that no-one bothers digging deeper. When he's sent to Colorado to investigate what turns out to be the work of a serial killer he encounters Special Agent Fletcher Ash and they end up reluctantly joining forces to unravel the case. It's only a matter of duty, though; it can't be more, because Albert doesn't do friendship - and he certainly doesn't do love!

This, ladies and gentleman, is my idea of a perfect blurb. It drew me in, I had a sample on my eReader in seconds and bought the paperback not long after. And loved it so danm hard!

I don't really want to write more about the plot, because really, it's hard to do it just right and IMHO, everyone deserves to experience this one uninfluenced. Suffice to say, Albert J. Sterne and Fletcher Ash stayed with me for a long time, mostly because they are both wonderfully complex characters with a life of their own, who threw me for a loop now and again. In some ways they might challenge your perception of what love is, what makes friendship real, and how much trust really matters, but leaves you with a satisfied little smile on your face. These two will probably always have a place on my "favorite-partners list".

But, of course there's a fly in the ointment. This is NOT your standard M/M romance. Sometimes while reading, you might start wondering if it actually is a romance at all. It has a strong, equally complex crime-solving plot, which I loved whole-heartedly. Not to fear, though, there is love, and trust-building and relationship-developing going on. And it is absolutely beautiful, but sure as hell not instant. This story strechtes over years (!), folks. So some patience is in order - just a fair warning. The end is absolutely worth it, though!

What makes this book really special to me is the writing! The writing, people! It's absolutely gorgeous, let me tell you. Ever since I've learned that Julie Bozza has some favorite authors I had to read in college, I start to understand where parts of it might come from. The rest though, is pure talent. It's most definitely different, which is why I understand that this book isn't necessarily for everyone.

It's not just story-telling, it's not just writing a love story. Some even might define it as purple prose,but I'm wouldn't be so sure about that. It's prose alright, but purple doesn't do it justice. Artistic would be more like it, and if you're looking for colloquial, skip this one and skip it fast. Julie Bozza's writing is beautiful, artistic, complex and even if it might seem to be very formal on the outside, it really isn't. You just have to look for finer emotions, for finer shades and colours, beneath the surface. It's a skill and a gift, something you won't find everywhere. As a German, I might be tempted to call it high literature, if it wasn't for my strong distaste for this label.

Still, this is one piece of art that made me laugh and cry, and broke my heart while putting it back together at the same time. I loved it, I adored it and it is one of my absolute favorites in this genre.