Release Day Review by Natalie: Hell and Back, by Dirk Greyson

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Hell and Back, by Dirk Greyson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 27, 2017

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Seventeen years ago, Forge Reynolds fell in love… and had his heart broken. When Staff Sergeant Gage Livingston was brought into Forge’s Army field hospital, temporarily paralyzed, Forge sat with him, read his letters, answered his mail, and formed a connection he thought would last. But Gage was sent home, Forge transferred to a new post, and his letters to Gage went unanswered.

Now in the middle of a bitter divorce, Forge is sick and tired of his husband’s manipulation. He’s almost ready to make any sacrifice to get closure—then he finds Granger murdered execution-style in their home. Forge had no idea about Granger’s illicit activities, but the killers don’t believe that. They think Forge has something they want, and they’re coming after him.

When Forge’s lawyer arranges for professional protection, the last face Forge expects to see is Gage’s. Can he even contemplate a second chance for them after almost two decades, or will hoping only lead to more heartache? Before they can explore the possibilities, they must figure out what information Granger had—that others are willing to kill for—or that possible heartache could become a certainty.


M/M Pairing
Gay Character
Older Protagonists
Second Chance Love

I’ve enjoyed romantic suspense a lot since I was first introduced to the subgenre, and Hell and Back is a good addition. Per the suspense part of this book, we’re thrown straight into murder and intrigue within the first few pages. There’s never really a sense of “whodunnit?” which was a nice change of pace – it’s more of a “what did Granger get up to?” The book unfolds over the course of about a week and wraps up satisfactorily. Most of the plot points along the way are pretty predictable, especially as Forge and Gage try to figure out the puzzle that Granger left for Forge. Rather,  watching Forge and Gage reconnect after 17 years apart is where the story is strongest.

One of the things I appreciated is that Forge and Gage actually communicate with each other, and something that could have held on as a point of miscommunication between them is resolved early on. It’s refreshing to watch two people who already know each other so well come back together, and the deep connection they build within the short time frame of the book is a result of the time they’ve already spent together. Forge’s struggle with the decade he spent with Granger and the slow dissolution of that relationship (including Granger cheating on him) was handled well and was a realistic and complicating factor in his re-connection with Gage.

The last quarter of the book felt hasty and a little contrived, but overall I enjoyed this one. It’s a good choice if you like romantic suspense, and it’s also nice to see some older protagonists getting a story.


Action, Adventure, Lust and Love. Dirk is very much an outside kind of man. He loves travel and seeing new things. Dirk worked in corporate America for way too long and now spends his days writing, gardening, and taking care of the home he shares with his partner of more than two decades. He has a Masters Degree and all the other accessories that go with a corporate job. But he is most proud of the stories he tells and the life he’s built. Dirk lives in Pennsylvania in a century old home and is blessed with an amazing circle of friends.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

You can purchase Hell and Back from:

Publisher | Amazon | Google Play

Or add it to Goodreads

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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