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REVIEW: Zipper Fall (A Steel City Story) by Kate Pavelle


Wyatt Gaudens, an advertising executive and adrenaline junkie, has fine-tuned the art of breaking and entering into apartments, misusing his considerable rock climbing skills. Once inside, he steals a pretty, shiny thing or two. When his friend Reyna complains that her jerk of a boss makes her workplace a living hell, he breaks into her boss’s home to get even. More than any other pretty thing, what really catches his eye the most is her boss, Jack.

Working hard to overcome his own lingering problems, investment specialist Jack Azzuri focuses on his second chance at making his business grow. But grief for his sister, Celia, recently killed in a suspicious climbing accident, sabotages his attempt to start over. When he meets Wyatt, he’s strongly attracted even though Wyatt is the last person he should associate with. With Jack’s explosive temper and Wyatt’s adrenaline addiction, the path to a stable relationship will be a tough climb. They might succeed if they can sort out what really matters, as well as learn to take the good with the bad. Wyatt hopes to speed their progress by solving the mystery that’s weighing Jack down: how did Celia really die?

Dear Kate Pavelle,

Unfortunately your book was a frustrating reading experience for me. I bought it specifically because I was in the mood for reading the story about a bad boy, but not so bad that he would be a killer, and a burglar who enters into apartments to steal pretty things sounded perfect.

Things went south very fast for me, though. I understand that Wyatt was supposed to be portrayed as an adrenalin junkie, but there is a fine line between that and overwhelming stupidity. There is no way for me to be convinced that Wyatt could have lasted for years as a successful burglar. When he enters an apartment and finds the owner home asleep, he decides that he is so smitten with the owner’s Greek god looks that he decides to film him, instead of you know, waiting till it is safe and making his escape pronto. Sorry, but no. And he knows that he is smitten within minutes, if not seconds.

When Wyatt continued to behave like an idiot and lost his day job in the most stupid way, any sympathy I had developed for him evaporated and unfortunately never came back.

The growing romance between him and Jack gave me whiplash. It was as if the writer expected me already to know these characters before the book began and did not give them motivations for their behavior that made sense to me. A lot of things were touched upon – dead family members, alive but feuding family members, past love traumas that weren’t really traumas — but nothing was developed in depth and very little made sense to me.

For example, more than halfway through the book we learn that Jack apparently has a controlling personality, and that apparently Wyatt decides he is not happy about that. But what was shown on the page was not strong enough for me to buy into his controlling personality, and more importantly, he does a 180-degree switch very fast. And then, hilariously, Wyatt does his own equally rapid 180-degree switch – one minute he claims he is being controlled and not happy about certain things Jack has done, but then when Jack starts treating him differently (as I said – very fast page space wise), he is unhappy that he is being treated like a “girl”.

I was also extremely confused about Wyatt’s relationship with his family. Based on his monologue, he was supposedly feuding with his father, but his father was right there at the first sign of trouble Wyatt got himself into (that he told his family about). I could have believed that because no matter how much we argue with the family, they will often still come to support us in times of trouble (of course not always). What I was confused about is that the story seemed to go back and forth about how much communication he had with his father and siblings in the first place.

I was also confused about Wyatt’s past love life, in the sense that I did not understand the purpose that the appearance of one of his exes served. I felt like the story kept manufacturing conflict out of thin air, but then failed to really develop it, so the potential for drama just went away. Please do not get me wrong – I was *not* looking for manufactured drama and angst! Earlier in the review I used the word “whiplash” and I think this is the best word to describe how I felt after I finished with this book. The story was pulling me in many different directions and did not properly take me in any of those directions to satisfy me.

I cannot really say anything bad or good about the writing style. It felt competent to me, but as I tried to explain above I was not happy with the story and I really was not that in love with the writing that it transformed the story for me. I cannot even choose the quote to give you a taste – probably reading the sample is the best way to get a feel for it.

Oh have I mentioned that halfway through, the story decided that it wanted to be a mystery as well? The less said about that the better.
Grade: D.

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Sirius started reading books when she was four and reading and discussing books is still her favorite hobby. One of her very favorite gay romances is Tamara Allen’s Whistling in the Dark. In fact, she loves every book written by Tamara Allen. Amongst her other favorite romance writers are Ginn Hale, Nicole Kimberling, Josephine Myles, Taylor V. Donovan and many others. Sirius’ other favorite genres are scifi, mystery and Russian classics. Sirius also loves travelling, watching movies and long slow walks.


  1. LG
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 11:05:26

    Your problems with the lack of motivations may be due to the fact that this appears to be P2P fanfic.
    See here. – I can’t compare texts, but it seems pretty clear.

    I had thought DA was no longer reviewing Dream spinner Press books for exactly this reason?

  2. Sirius
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 11:29:17

    Looks like you are absolutely right LG. If I knew it was P2P fanfic I would have never reviewed it. As to not reviewing Dreamspinner books when I joined DA I was told that it is up to individual reviewer now. I buy a lot of the books I review and I buy some books from Dreamspinner. I mostly buy authors well known to me, but wanted to try somebody I never heard of. Needless to say this does not inspire me to ever pick up anything from Dreamspinner author unknown to me ever again. And I just had to go to fanficnet to find it. Not happy at all :(.

  3. LG
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 11:34:38

    I have a lot of Dreamspinner books I bought ages ago, before I learned that they knowingly publish quite a few fanfic works. I spent money on them, so I want to read them at some point, but Dreamspinner is tainted for me now. :(

  4. Mara Allen
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 11:38:01

    @LG Dear Author briefly stopped reviewing Dreamspinner Press books because of plagiarism charges and Dreamspinner’s questionable response to those charges. I think the P2P was a lesser issue. Last spring, Dear Author decided to overlook the charges and begin reviewing Dreamspinner books again.

  5. Sirius
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 12:21:29

    I do not think I will stop reading Dreamspinner books completely but I seriously doubt I will ever review any of their books at DA again.

  6. Joy
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 20:45:17

    What is p2p? I read Zipper Fall and enjoyed it despite its weirdnesses, but all I can google up for p2p is filesharing stuff.

  7. cleo
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 21:19:34

    @Joy: P2P = pulled to publish

    ETA – that means it was originally written and posted on-line as fanfiction, and then pulled from the fanfic site to be published as an original work (with the names changed from Edward and Bella or whoever)

  8. Sunita
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 21:47:30

    @LG: We stopped reviewing DSP books in part because of the plagiarism kerfuffle a while back, but also because we got tired of the editing problems. After a year had passed the reviewer pool at DA changed, and it seemed unfair (to me at least) to require reviewers to hold to a policy when they hadn’t been part of the decision process. So now it’s on a more case by case basis. We will review DSP books, but it’s contingent on individual reviewer decisions and about individual books.

    ETA: Wow, I just clicked the link. That’s amazingly blatant. In my previous experience, the fanfic origins are somewhat more buried. Brave new world indeed.

  9. Sunita
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 21:50:46

    @LG: Unfortunately, several m/m presses publish P2P books. So it’s not just DSP, and there’s no way of knowing in advance which books are original and which are fanfic conversions. It makes me very wary of trying new authors, because I generally want to avoid P2P.

  10. Sirius
    Oct 30, 2013 @ 11:44:11

    @Sunita: I could not believe how word by word it is, you know? And it is still THERE – not that hiding it makes it better, but I am just amazed and not in a good way. One thing is for sure – I will never touch any book which has this writer’s name on it ever again.

  11. zippers
    Dec 01, 2013 @ 10:56:34

    I read Zipper Fall and absolutely loved the weirdness, hope she writes more

  12. Sirius
    Dec 01, 2013 @ 11:18:14

    Zippers I am glad you enjoyed the book – if this author writes more I hope it won’t be word by word fanfiction. Not that I would ever trust her to buy anything else written by her but for the sake of others I do hope so.

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