Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.
I was intrigued by this book’s description and mostly by the fact that one of the heroes was a mysterious falconer. The love story seemed like it would be fascinating and a bit dramatic and I was also curious to read about falconry. I’m very happy I did because the book ended up being interesting in every aspect, from the love story to the setting.
Mark Bowman is a PAPD officer working at JFK Airport when one day he sees a man carrying a falcon as if it were a carry-on bag. When he confronts him he learns that his name is Hunter Devereaux and that he is working in a project that uses falcons to keep the airport free of other birds that may cause damages to the planes and even potential accidents. Mark quickly becomes fascinated by the birds and equally attracted to the man. They develop a relationship but whereas Hunter is confident and wants to live his life unafraid of what others may think, Mark is afraid of what his sexuality could cost him, so even though Mark has never felt this happy before, he won’t jeopardize his career by coming out. Mark would have to decide what’s more important to him and do it quickly since Hunter might not stay long enough to find out the answer.
This book is told in first person from Mark’s perspective and it reads as his book. Yes, the book is a love story but it’s also about Mark’s journey to self-acceptance where Hunter plays more of a secondary role as his love interest and he doesn’t have much of a story arc. Hunter is perfectly defined and at a place where is obvious that his life-changing experiences happened off-camera. I wasn’t aware while reading the book that a prequel novella about Hunter already existed, but it really doesn’t matter because we do get Hunter’s backstory in this book, and to be honest, I don’t want to hear that tale again nor see him go through it. I would have loved to see into Hunter’s head though; he was a fascinating character and much more mature than Mark. Sometimes I wasn’t even sure why he was so attracted to Mark and I felt like this hurt the book, but as I said the story was Mark’s and that’s where the main focus is.
Mark was an interesting character. He was repressed, unhappy, immature, ashamed and scared and he acted accordingly. This might sound like a bad thing but it was far from it. I found his character quite real and even though he got on my nerves I liked him very much. As I said before, his road to happiness wasn’t easy and he had to overcome his insecurities to get there, the thing was that his fears were well-founded and I could understand where he was coming from. My problem was that the book takes place during a couple of months but I think he needed more time to make his newfound maturity more believable to me. I was rooting for him just as much I was rooting for Hunter, but I think he needed more time to come into his senses instead of just having an epiphany near the end. I believe their happily ever after was definitely a given but that it would take time and hard work, not so much because they have issues as a couple but because Mark was left dealing with some heavy stuff at work. This is one of those books were a sequel makes perfect sense.
The book takes place in 1994 and is based in some true events. The whole falconry aspect of the plot was fascinating and detailed enough to make it interesting but not boring. I also liked the note at the end where Faber explains a little bit more about bird strikes in airports, the costs that it has and the different and unsuccessful measures authorities took to deal with it until they got to falconry which ended being the best solution. After reading the book I had a pretty accurate knowledge of how hard these people work and how passionate they are, so it was a plus learning about all of this.
Overall it was an interesting book with a unique setting. The love story was passionate and the characters likeable, it took me a bit to get into it at first and I had some issues with it but nothing too bad to deter my enjoyment of the book. If you like m/m romances then go for it because this is a good addition to the genre.
Review by Brie
New York, 1994.
What on earth is a live falcon doing in the middle of JFK airport? The answer to this question brings PAPD officer Mark Bowman face to face with falconer Hunter Devereaux, right in the middle of a fascinating field experiment using falcons to keep runways free of nuisance birds. The falcons are intriguing, but it’s arrogant, out-and-proud Hunter himself who really rubs Mark the right kind of wrong. Too bad Mark can’t act on the attraction: he’s deeply in the closet, and since he wants to keep his job, that’s where he's determined to stay.
However, every time their paths cross, Hunter gets a little deeper under Mark’s skin, until Mark can’t deny his feelings any longer. Giving in to his desire makes Mark happier than he can remember being, but Hunter isn't willing to hide their relationship forever. If they’re going to make a life together work, something has to give. Someday soon Mark will have to choose, or life will make the choice for him before he’s ready for it.
City Falcon by Feliz Faber
Dreamspinner Press. August 25, 2011.