Review: Strong Medicine by JK Hogan

strong medicineReviewed by Jen

If you’re looking for a light, sweet romance, this is definitely not the book for you. But if you can handle a story that’s a bit darker…  a story with a hero who is deeply damaged and finally given a lifeline… If you want a book that’s truly compelling — well, clear your schedule and start reading. Once you get a few chapters in, this story won’t let you go.

The majority of this story takes place inside of the walls of a psychiatric facility. Cameron is there, working as part of a DUI sentence. The former child-star and pop group frontman must get substance abuse counseling, while serving as volunteer helping other patients. Folks are there for a variety of reasons, from eating disorders to depression to PTSD. But one man, Jonah, is not like the others. He’s there voluntarily, and he’s in and out of the facility twice every year.

The doctors aren’t sure what’s wrong with Jonah. He goes days at a time without sleeping. He hallucinates. He goes off into trances.  They know there’s been some kind of trauma, but Jonah won’t talk about it. He can’t –or won’t– connect with people. That is, until Cameron enters the picture. Jonah remembers his face from tv in his childhood, and it opens the door to a friendship, and eventually, an attraction that prompts him to truly fight his demons as he never has before.

This romance is a very slow burn. The author really takes time to put us inside these characters. She lets us really get to know them, to feel for them as individuals before there is any movement on them as a couple. Considering their positions and the depths of Jonah’s problems, this would never have worked any other way. Both of these men felt so fleshed out. And I was impressed by how clearly Jonah’s POV articulated his illness.

Be aware, this isn’t your standard tortured hero story. The backstory took me down roads I didn’t expect. It was tough reading at times. But I really appreciated that this wasn’t predictable. The road is difficult, but the reward is better for it.

There is some sexual tension and we get some satisfying love scenes, but this book is much more about the journeys these men take to get to a better place in their lives. Jonah’s transformation is much more obvious, but Cameron comes a long way as well. They earn their healing and their happy ending, and it definitely satisfies.

It’s a good book. If the darker elements don’t worry you, I would definitely recommend.

Rating: B+

*ARC provided for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

Strong Medicine
by JK Hogan
Release Date: May 11, 2016
Publisher: Wilde City Press

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