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Book Review - 'Ride to Redemption' by DJ Wilson

book cover
DJ Wilson

Ride to Redemption

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In the realm of romantic fiction, male authors are a rarity and when men do pen a romance, they tend to write from the woman's point of view. Not so with DJ Wilson. With his protagonist D, Wilson doesn't just dip his toe into the waters of eroticism, he jumps in with both feet. As a debut writer, he boldly dives into the territory of E L James and Sylvia Day, but instead he allows readers to experience these kinds of imagined scenarios from a guy's perspective.

It's a gutsy thing to do because Wilson is so honest in his portrayal of D. He holds nothing back. D isn't politically correct. He's full of locker room bravado. He's the type of guy who's going to brag about his conquests the morning after. D is all about the physical, even if he claims he wants something more substantial. Ultimately, he's after "someone who could see things through my eyes." And really, what man doesn't want that?

There's more than a hint of fantasy to Wilson's writing. D is looking for the perfect someone, the kind that doesn't exist. Reality is too messy and complicated for him to find a woman gift wrapped to his specifications. No matter how many fallen stars he wishes on, it's not going to happen. In fact, Wilson gives the usual preconceived notions a twist when it comes to gender expectations by having D say, "I'm not a toy to be played with, just to be discarded, when the fun runs out. Huff!!!! Sounds like a woman's complaint, I've heard too many times before. Go figure." The exultation of breath and the four exclamation points help drive the point home - both men and women want to be desired for more than their bodies, they want to be wanted for who they are.

There's a tension that exists in the narrative. D succumbs to Candi's charms because he likes that she's a good listener. He's had a slew of problems in recent years from marital to financial, and he's all about starting from scratch. D is crossing his fingers that Candi can be the key to his making a fresh start. He's lonely and looking for companionship, but the two of them end up spending more time fooling around than forging any type of lasting bond.

When it comes down to it, all relationships are about trust. If it's not there, it's not going to work, period. When details of Candi's background come to light, D is rocked to his core. He was starting to give his heart to this woman, and now he's in too deep to get out unscathed. In the beginning D said, "I silently wished that Candi could be a part of that hope I'd felt this morning and that we wouldn't end up as heartache later on."

As the first book in Wilson's series concludes, it looks like D is not going to get his wish. He's left reeling when Candi throws him a curveball, scratching his head at how these events could have transpired. He thought he knew her. He thought that even after she revealed all of her painful secrets, there weren't anymore shocking revelations to have to endure. Boy, was he wrong.

But not all is as it seems from D's vantage point. There's more going on than he's aware of. Wilson teases the reader into his newly released follow-up, creating a momentum to catapult the story forward. It's a trick of the trade to leave the reader wanting more, but in this case it's justified because it fully encapsulates the angst that D is feeling as the final chapter unfolds. Should he give Candi another chance? Should readers? If this ride is all about redemption, then Wilson's urging everyone to stay tuned, because it's not over yet.