Review – Burden by Annemarie McKenna

**BP Note: Corrected links. Sorry about that.**

Burden cover image
Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

There’s more than one way to guard a body.

In the year since his car flew off a cliff, Detective Brennan McGuire has struggled to relearn the simplest tasks—like speaking without a stutter—and even more with trying to fill the gaping holes in his memory.

But when his daily visit to a local coffee shop turns into a melee of flying bullets, Brennan’s instincts take control.

So much for Keegan Monroe’s first day off after a long undercover assignment. One minute he’s relaxing over coffee, the next his cheek is kissing concrete. Question is, is the gorgeous man on top of him his savior, or the one who took a potshot at his head?

As Keegan shepherds the too-quiet, too-skinny Brennan through the investigation, attraction flares into nights of white-hot passion. But with each scorching encounter, more and more of Brennan’s memories shake loose…and it becomes clear someone doesn’t want him putting those pieces together.

With Keegan’s oath to protect and serve putting him squarely in the crosshairs of a murderer, now the question is, who is protecting whom?

Product Warnings
This book contains a good amount of stuttering, forgetting, remembering, danger, hot man love (cop style), and hordes of cuddly kittens.

This blurb came from Goodreads.

I decided to try McKenna’s writing when I read the blurb for this book. It looked so very different from the usual amnesia romance that I couldn’t resist. Burden certainly proved to be different, no secret baby or prior relationship, but plenty of secrets. Keegan has lived a secret life for the past few years while working as an undercover police officer. The case was wrapped-up and arrests made so he had a chance to relax and catch up on life while he waited for the trials. He was enjoying coffee and conversation with his best friend when he found himself tackled to the ground by a very attractive stranger, hearing gunshots. Brennan was on his daily trek to the coffee shop, where he would struggle trying to order his coffee and pay without collapsing or fleeing in panic. While Brennan might not make his brain work the way he wanted, his cop instincts still existed so when he caught sight of a man aiming a weapon at a fellow customer he reacted and tackled the man to get him out of the line of fire. In the ensuing chaos, Brennan found himself cuffed and awaiting interrogation.

I thought that McKenna did a great job of portraying how circumstances, tension, and a hostile environment could be a challenge for anyone. Add in someone who knows what they should be saying and doing but they can’t and it had to be a living nightmare. I felt so bad for Brennan who did the right thing but couldn’t explain why. Even after his situation was explained, I could tell that Brennan still felt ashamed and that he was useless. Yet, on the drive back to his place, it again seemed as if his instincts were still sharp, he just couldn’t reason or think anything through. I found that dichotomy fascinating.

I also liked how McKenna flipped between Keegan and Brennan’s points of view so I could see the combination of attraction, puzzlement, curiosity, and frustration that they shared in common. I enjoyed watching the attraction grow between them even though a few pieces seemed a bit unfinished. For example, Brennan made a statement to the effect that he isn’t usually submissive so I was expecting one of their sexual encounters to have a more dominate Brennan. I was really looking forward to that scene because I wanted to see how that was going to play out with his mental and sometimes physical struggles. Unfortunately, that scene never materialized.

The suspense aspect of the story while initially strong became predictable towards the end of the story. The uncertainty about the actual target was or if both men were targeted for separate things did help. However, I figured out one of the bad guys was rather early on in the story which was slightly disappointing, I just didn’t know what his motivation was. McKenna did include an interesting twist when it came to the bad guys but overall I thought the suspense was the weakest aspect.

Burden was an enjoyable read with some flaws. I thought Brennan’s struggles to regain himself and his memory were the strongest aspect followed by his relationship with Keegan and than the suspense. I enjoyed Keegan’s best friend and wished I could have seen their interaction more because he seemed like a grounding influence. Given the description of his wife, I also wanted to see her reaction to Brennan. I loved Brennan’s Aunt Caroline and the four vicious kitties. While those were all enjoyable I did wish things had been fleshed out a bit more for Brennan’s character and that I could see some character growth in Keegan besides his attraction to Brennan.

I give Burden a C+/B-

Links to purchase:

2 thoughts on “Review – Burden by Annemarie McKenna”

  1. The purchase links are all going to a Maisey Yates book (Unexpected).

    I don’t usually read m/m, but I love stories with wounded , emotionally and/or physically, main characters. I also really liked some of Annemarie McKenna’s earlier books, particularly Blackmailed, Two Sighted and the Strength of Three. I may have to give this a try.

  2. @KatieF: YIKES!!! Katie, thank you so much for pointing this out. They are fixed now :(. I don’t even have the excuse of drafting them on the same day.

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