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DOUBLE REVIEW: Pity the Living, Not the Dead – T.L. Travis

Pity the Living, Not the Dead - TL Travis

Genre: Paranormal, Dark, Romance, Vampires

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewers: Tony, Maryann

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About The Book

Pity the living, not the dead they say.

Trust is earned, not given.

Clichés meant to make one feel better in a time of sorrow. How do these apply when the one you trust most isn’t among the living? Beware of things that go bump in the night when what you really need to fear is life itself. The one thing you will never get out of alive…

Elijah Walker has done his best to blend in amongst humans for centuries, drinking his fill and doing his best not to kill. Humans. Witnessing their digression firsthand, reverting to their caveman beginnings makes it hard to contain the beast lurking inside.

Liam Aldrich has spent his life in his family’s shadow. Never allowed to step out of line and forced into a life made for him rather than one he would have chosen for himself. Now the one time he has a choice that only he can make could end it all.

With Liam’s life and Elijah’s heart on the line, the pair are left at a crossroad forced to determine a path in which they could find may not align.

A portion of this book was previously available in the Virgin Shifters anthology.

The Review

Tony:

Pity the Living, Not the Dead is about a two-hundred-eighteen-year-old English vampire with an over-embroidered vocabulary hitting it off with Liam, a red haired American of Irish origin.

We all have problems, and Liam’s is his family. They only see him as a cog in their whisky distillery management team, not as a person. Liam is in the same position as his sister Olivia. The pair of them, being the youngest of seven, have a lot to put up with.

Olivia is strong and has struck out on her own, going into nursing and moving out of the family home. It is not so easy for Liam, as he feels invisible when he is home. Then things change when he meets Elijah.

Elijah is the vampire, and he is drawn to Liam in a way he has rarely been drawn to anyone. Luckily for Liam, Elijah lives by a strict moral code, one that allows him to screw humans who take his fancy, but not to kill any living thing that deserves to continue living. Yeah, if you are no good, then you’re gonna be a dead thing drained of blood if Elijah gets his fangs into you.

The story follows Elijah’s wooing of Liam, from meeting him on a park bench to beyond. There are problems for them to face, and face them they do. There is a lot to like here, and their relationship feels right. Liam has some hard decisions to make, and it’s difficult for him to come to terms with them. The story takes the time to let that happen.

Any doubts? Well, a few. The writing at the start is a bit stilted, but weather that as it improves greatly.

I also found it difficult to picture Elijah’s turning to be in 1821. The setting felt at least a hundred years earlier. But that’s just a small part of the story. If you are after an HEA, skip the epilogue, as that’s something else altogether – at least for the rest of the world, a lead into another story altogether. A particularly dark one at that.

Aside from those things, there is a lot to enjoy here!

Maryann:

Lately, I’ve read several vampire stories, and they all have their own touch of uniqueness.  Now, TL Travis brings us Pity the Living, Not the Dead, with its own unique vampire / human relationship.

This story opens in 1821 England. Elijah is a young man who had a loving mother and wanted the love of his father. At eighteen he found love. But with a cruel and abusive father and a betrayal, he only found his freedom and life taken from him.

Why he was given a chance at rebirth he will never know. He had a reason to kill centuries ago, but all that is in the past. Now he’s survived in the human world for two hundred years.  He’s remained a solitary vampire, mainly because he has never found the “one” – or anyone he could trust. 

In Anacortes, Washington in 2021, Liam Aldrich has just turned twenty-one. He’s a promising young man, has a college education and already has a career lined up in his family business. But Liam has never had one second to live free. He’s controlled by his Irish-Catholic family, especially his father and brothers. The only one in his family that he really loves is his sister Olivia. For Liam, the only freedom he has is late in the evenings, and a walk to the waterfront is his only place of solitude.

Elijah finds himself drawn to the pure and innocent Liam. Liam brings out feelings in Elijah he hasn’t felt in a very long time. Liam too, feels an attraction to Elijah. 

They start to date, and Elijah tries to make Liam understand that he can make his own choices and leave the control of a family that will never give him his freedom. There will be important decisions to make and moments dealing with the unknown for both Elijah and Liam.  

I think the issue of dominance and control is addressed well in the TL Travis’ “Dedication.”  No one has the right to control you, and it’s a form of abuse.

It’s also a story of choices and the unexpected, and taking the chance to hope things will turn out for the best.

In my opinion, the frightening one in this tale wasn’t Elijah, it was his evil father and how Liam was treated by his family.

The connection between Elijah and Liam just can’t be denied. The banter between them is sweet, but there are also serious and emotional moments. And the love and support between Olivia and Liam is a very important piece to the story.  

The “Epilogue” set in 2055, reflects that there is a purpose and reason why survival is important.

This is a well-written story by TL Travis, with outstanding character portrayal. It also sends a serious message. 

The Reviewers

Tony:

Tony is an Englishman living amongst the Welsh and the Other Folk in the mountains of Wales. He lives with his partner of thirty-six years, four dogs, two ponies, various birds, and his bees. He is a retired lecturer and a writer of no renown but that doesn’t stop him enjoying what he used to think of as ‘sensible’ fantasy and sf. He’s surprised to find that if the story is well written and has likeable characters undergoing the trails of life, i.e. falling in love, falling out of love, having a bit of nooky (but not all the time), fending off foes, aliens and monsters, etc., he’ll be happy as a sandperson who has just offloaded a wagon of sand at the going market price. As long as there’s a story, he’s in. He aims to write fair and honest reviews. If he finds he is not the target reader he’ll move on.

Maryann:

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 

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