Losing Better - Katey Hawthorne
The fourth novel in the Superpowered Love series by Katey Hawthorne is very different from its cohorts. Rather than “awakened” men simply going through the motions of remaining hidden from the “sleepers”, we have two men who are trying to make a difference in their world. Gabriel, an FBI agent, is sent to bring down one of his own. A vigilante who has taken the law into his own hands and begun doing the hard work for his local police force by capturing the criminals for them. But there is a catch, for the man who Gabriel is tracking and determined to bring to justice is also the same man who, as a boyhood friend, was Gabriel’s lover.

Andrew lives in the very town he and Gabriel grew up in. Unlike Gabriel, Andrew sees his role as an overseer—a helper who has managed to nonviolently rid his town of corruption and means to keep it that way. When these two reconnect, despite Gabriel’s hidden agenda to gather evidence needed to lock Andrew up for good, sparks fly and old feelings of lust and love are rekindled. How can Gabriel possibly stay true to his task of uncovering damning evidence on the man who is slowly capturing his heart?

In a real reversal of my normal review style, I am going to tell you what did not work in this otherwise compelling and interesting novel. It was Gabriel. Truly. I could overlook the fact that he was not very nice to Andrew and that he was a bit smarmy in the way he lured Andrew into his bed in order to search his house and find evidence against him, but I could not avoid the pitfall of Gabriel’s own stream of consciousness. In the several opening chapters, I felt the entire pace of this novel felt off balance due to Gabriel’s cerebral dialogue and plotting. The continual need for Gabriel to justify what he was about to do to a boyhood friend in the name of justice was not only a bit angering, it was also too drawn out and inhibited the onset of the action the story kept promising, and definitely delivered later in the novel.

Now, despite this lazy opening, this was probably my favorite installment thus far in this series. Finally, we learn more about this world Katey Hawthorne has created. We begin to understand that it is somewhat futuristic in the sense that the government is very aware of the awakened race and, in fact, employs them to keep track of others. Not only that, but for once we see how the awakened view their role in this society—not as superheroes but, rather, watchman who are bound to keep others safe and communities clean. There is a decided sense of nobility about the awakened in that they take the task of using their powers judiciously and carefully so that no one around them is hurt. I adored Andrew. His deep sense of needing to do what was right, of removing corruption as it arose and of keeping his small town safe made him instantly likable and infinitely worthy of the near hero worship status his friends convey upon him. Plus, he truly loves Gabriel and it is apparent that despite the lies and secrecy, he will forgive Gabe of just about anything.

Gabriel grew on me more slowly but only because Katey Hawthorne made him a near villain-like character. I believe she cleverly crafted this character to be the antihero in some ways by making him heavily flawed and conflicted. His sense of smug self-control was irritating, but at the same time it was wonderful to watch the author chip away at that veneer to expose the needy and desperate man underneath.

All in all, Losing Better was actually my favorite story to date. Despite the slow start and snarky main character, it was a well-written story that picked up pace the further it went along.

Reviewed by Sammy at The Novel Approach