It’s either a brave or a stupid person who threatens anything Nikolas Mikkelsen loves.
Ben usually overlooks Nikolas’s occasionally jarring dissonance. Not this time. A deep rift, a terrible lie, separates them. Eleven thousand miles from Nikolas, in New Zealand, it’s bitter winter as Ben films the tragic story of a post-apocalyptic gladiator, a victim of his own personal darkness. But on receiving a death threat, Ben suspects the truth of actor Oliver Whitestone’s suicide. Someone doesn’t want this movie made. It’s fortunate for Ben, therefore, that dissonance is a state of unrest, a longing for completion. As if Nikolas would stay at home in disgrace while Ben Rider-Mikkelsen becomes the target of a crazed stalker…
Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives, not by chapter, but defined.
The Bruise-Black Sky is the fifth book in Wiltshire’s More Heat Than the Sun series. These books follow the same couple and each book builds off some events from previous ones. In some ways these stand on their own but as there are ongoing storylines, I’d definitely recommend listening to them all and in order – starting with Love is a Stranger. This review contains spoilers to earlier books.
The pacing of this book is a bit slower and the emphasis is much heavier on the relationship between Ben & Nik and less on the thriller/suspense aspect. That’s not a complaint at all. I still thoroughly enjoyed this one, just in a different way.
Nik & Ben’s interplay has shifted a bit during this one. Ben has a new perspective on their power dynamic after recovering from amnesia and they’re both still dealing with Kate’s betrayal. More of Nik’s past is revealed. Layering in a stalker who threatens Ben’s life and they are thrust into world-wide travel in an attempt to stop the person responsible.
Wiltshire gives us new insight into Nikolas the father-figure as his bond with Emmy deepens and he teams up with one of her classmates in an unlikely adventure. At the same time, he is Nikolas/Aleksey and protectiveness for those he loves is expressed in dark and twisted ways.
Sprinkled in all this is humor. So many laughs, giggles, and smirks in reaction to the interplay between all the characters. Squeezy continues to be one of my favorite side characters and I was thrilled to see more of him in this story. While the “bro banter” between Ben & Squeezy is delightful – the antagonistic collaboration of Nik & Squeezy to keep Ben safe is truly hilarious.
Then – the ending. I was totally caught off guard. I loved it and hated it and loved hating it. An emotional roller coaster. While this does not end on a cliffhanger – a new mystery and whole new direction is opened up. I’m thrilled that book 6, Death’s Ink-Black Shadow, released today so I can jump right in.
Gary Furlong. It’s repetitive, but his narrations are glorious. Complicated emotions come across effortlessly with Nik at turns dark and vulnerable and Ben generally cheerful yet deviously provoking Nik. He has even more accents to work with here (hello New Zealand & America!) and they are wonderful. The hacker was obnoxiously comical.
About the author:
John Wiltshire is the pen name. The author was born in England. She spent twenty-two years in the British Army, perfecting the art of looking busy whilst secretly writing. She retired at the rank of Major, and finally settled in New Zealand.
Although she has no plans to return to the army, she can occasionally be caught polishing her medals.
You can connect with John Wiltshire here:
About the narrator:
Throughout his life he has worn many a hat: He has worked as a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, Tennessee, but made the leap to voiceover in 2015. Gary has narrated over 120 books spanning various genres.
You can connect with Gary Furlong here:
My Favorite Quotes
Don’t swear at me, Nikolas. – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #ThrillerTweet
Perhaps that is how it should be. We can make our own destinies in life and we can make our own families—conscious decisions. – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #ThrillerTweet
He’d never been cast such a wide-eyed stare of approval as he was by Miles Toogood. – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #ThrillerTweet
He’d go to New Zealand and tell Oliver Whitestone’s story. He thought maybe it would help him find his own. – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #ThrillerTweet
that was so ridiculous he was trying hard not to think it, which, of course, ensured it went around and around in his head all day. – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #ThrillerTweet
Someone had given him his own heart to carry around in his hands, having to keep it alive in all its fragile wonder, so necessary…how can you function, how can you think rationally like that? – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #ThrillerTweet