Author: Lisa Henry
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Rating: 5 stars
Type: Novel From Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Gio Valeri is a big city police officer who’s been transferred to the small outback town of Richmond with his professional reputation in tatters. His transfer is a punishment, and Gio just wants to keep his head down and survive the next two years. No more mistakes. No more complications.
Review: Eight months ago Gio Valeri was on top of the world. He was on track for a successful career in the Queensland Police Sevice as a member of the Tactical Crime Squad, out and not only an accepted, but valued a member of the team, and living with a boyfriend he loved, a fellow cop. Then everything came crashing down. Gio, ostracised and endlessly tormented by his teammates, is given a promotion and sent 1700 kilometres from the Gold Coast to the back of beyond and a town called Richmond. It may have been described as a fresh start by his superiors, but Gio knew it was really a two year sentence serving at a two man police station far from the fast pace and glittering lights he’s used to.
It’s a struggle for Gio to wrap his head around the vastly different way policing is done in a place where backup can be hours away (if at all), everyone knows everyone and the police have to live amidst the community they serve. His new boss, Sergeant Jason Quinn, seems to take him at face value, despite the reputation that has followed Gio all the way from the Gold Coast. But when push comes to shove, can he really trust that Jason will have his back?
Jason has heard the rumours surrounding his new senior constable and has concerns about the type of man he’ll be working with. He already has enough on his plate as a widower with a ten year old son to care for and a job that means he’s never really off work. As Jason shows Gio the ropes of working in a remote outback town and Gio settles in to his new role, the two men’s relationship starts to shift as they acknowledge the physical attraction between them. Neither is interested in a romantic relationship, just to scratch an itch and maybe relieve a bit of loneliness.
Two Man Station is a superbly written story showing betrayal, loneliness, friendship, and life in the outback drawn with uncompromising realism. The characters are flawed and likeable and completely wonderful. Their struggles, their choices, their realisations, their fears and their hopes are relatable and believable. I fell in love with both Gio and Jason, even when they broke my heart a little, and wanted nothing more than for them to find their happiness together.
I’d describe this book as gritty rather than angsty. It is a realistic portrayal of the lives of Jason and Gio and the town they police. The secondary characters were as fully realised as the MCs. The setting the story plays out in as much a secondary character as Sandra (who mans the counter at Richmond Police Station), Taylor (Jason’s son) or Vicki (the town’s paramedic and ambulance driver). As an Australian (who lives on the Gold Coast), it was a real treat reading about all the things I grew up with and saying myself, seeing the landscapes I’m familiar with come to life on the page. The language describing that setting is gorgeous and so evocative of the uniqueness of the Australian landscape; from the melodious calls of the magpies to the red dirt, the slow pace of life in the heat of the outback, the flies and the flooding plains of the monsoon season. This story has a laid-back pace to it that perfectly suits the setting.
The characters, the landscape, Gio and Jason’s story were all so captivating that even with the slower pace of this book, I wanted to keep reading and found it very difficult to put the book down. There was not a single thing about this book that I didn’t love, including the beautiful cover.