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Summary

Nearing the end of a suspended jail sentence should unlock a brighter future for CJ Davis, only the chip on his shoulder is as hard to shift as his bad reputation. Born into a family of career criminals who live down Davis Road, an address the cops have dubbed Davis Row, his name alone is like a rap sheet that makes optimism impossible.

Brand-new parole officer Noah Huxley is determined to see the good in men like CJ. After all, he knows firsthand that bad things can happen to good people. His colleagues mock his doe-eyed optimism, but Noah soon sees CJ's bad attitude and bravado are weapons he uses to keep people at a distance.

Both men know one simple mistake can change a life forever. At first glance, they might seem to be polar opposites. Yet underneath, they're not that different at all.

Contains mature themes.

©2017 N. R. Walker (P)2018 Tantor

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Amazing

Get it!! Get it!! Get it!! There is nothing more to say. I loved this book and never wanted in to end.

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Superb

This is a brilliant book and is elevated by Joel Leslie’s outstanding narration. He clearly conveys CJ’s home life and his feelings of worthlessness etc. Noah, CJ’s parole officer knows what being lonely is like & he offers CJ help, support and friendship which evolves into an unofficial and eventual official relationship. Learning each first CJ experiences is beautiful to watch. He grows so much. Joel’s narration of CJ’s Pops, his kind of grandfather, who suffers with emphysema is spot on, as is CJ’s abusive father. A great, emotional journey that has you rooting for CJ from the beginning. Highly recommended.

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A solid sweet story

Enjoyed listening to this sweet love story. Joel Leslie’s narration is usually great, but he obviously doesn’t find it easy to pretend to not speak well with a common accent, or to be Italian, which was a bit distracting - but for most of the book he was still good. Worth a credit but won’t change your world or anything - just a nice listen.

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  • 03-08-18

brilliant as usual!

I love NR Walker and this story is no different. her characters have depth and her stories aren't all about falling in to bed at the drop of a hat. somehow she makes you believe when the characters fall in love in a week.
Joel's narration was good as usual aside from the odd mispronounced word (bouy, psuedoephedrine and TAFE to name a few). however after listening to several of Joel's Australian accent performances it's the lack of upward inflection on the word "right" that frustrates me most. If someone says: I know! right! it should have an upwards inflection as it is used like a rhetorical question.
unless it proceeds a statement like: Right! let's get started. then it's a downward inflection but should only have a short pause before the next sentence.
ok whinge over. otherwise Joel's performance was engaging as usual. 😊

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Belen
  • 26-08-18

4.5 Stars

One of the things I love about listening to Joel Leslie narrate is the way he draws the emotions out and really makes the listener feel invested in what's happening.

He provides clear and distinguishable character voices, and he performs the text in a way that had me completely sucked into the story and anxious for what happens next, which is a real gift because I've already read this book, but Joel made it seem like I was meeting Noah and CJ for the first time and the way he performed this made me fall even more in love with the characters and story.

The narration by Joel Leslie took a story I'd liked and transformed it into one I loved. Such a great job on this performance.

On Davis Row is a quiet, slower paced love story about second chances and finding your strength from within and from the people who support you. Told from both Noah and CJ's first person points of view there's a lovely thread of hurt/comfort throughout this story, both because of Noah's past and CJ's entire life.

On Davis Row is a quiet romance with medium angst, a bit of a slow burn, an absolutely wonderful happy ending, and great narration.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 06-08-18

The Book was amazing, the audio is phenomenal

Noah: You shouldn’t smoke, it’s bad for your health.
C.J.: You shouldn’t tell a smoker to quit. It’s bad for YOUR health.


I loved this book.

The book was awesome, but the audio was phenomenal. Any N.R. Walker book goes straight to the top of my TBR, and an audio narrated by Joel Leslie? I had zero patience for waiting.

When I was waxing poetic about the book after having read it, a friend asked me to explain why I loved the book. I thought I had provided the explanation in my review, but she challenged me to go deeper.

So here goes.

N.R. Walker is a talented writer. I don’t say this lightly as I have read thousands of books and listened to hundreds of audiobooks and N.R.’s works of fiction are consistently among my favourites. (Her latest, ‘Galaxies and Oceans’ is in my top 5 of all time.) That being said, I prefer her later books to the earlier ones. To me, that is often the sign of a good author—someone dedicated to the craft. Each new book – no matter the content – shows greater depth of character, of narrative, of story. N.R.’s men are so much more than just two guys meeting and hooking up and having their happily ever after.

Noah Huxley and C.J. Davis are two such men. Noah has just moved to Maitland, and on his first weekend in town, he goes out to get something to celebrate his new home. He winds up with lemon- and eucalyptus-scented candles. C.J., for his part, can see the division in 10 Mile Creek as being a chasm because he lives on “the wrong side of town. My side of town.”

Both are, in essence, very lonely men. I understand that. I can even relate to it, and I believe most readers can as well. Who can’t name a time in their lives when they weren’t lonely? When they didn’t feel alone?

So, despite the power imbalance and relationship dynamic of parolee and corrections officer, when the two men run into each other at the only store in 10 Mile Creek, it’s a bit of a miracle (or speaks to their loneliness) that the two men agree to eat together (a burger with beet root and pineapple?!?! I thought pineapple on pizza was questionable…)

And the men have very strong reactions to each other. C.J. thinks Noah has “blond hair, blue eyes, and a jaw that could cut glass” while Noah thinks, “I don’t know what it was about him stuck with me. Like a pulled thread on a woolen blanket, holding its own at the moment but it could unravel if I wasn’t careful”. Yet in the seriousness and solemnity of their professional relationship, there are moments of humour. For instance, the men have fun naming Noah’s car.

This must be a guy thing, because I just bought a car and it never occurred to me to name it. (Okay, I can think of one famous erotic book where the female lead named her car, so maybe it’s just me.)

Now I wish C.J. and Noah were here to name my car. Apparently it has to be a ‘her’. Any suggestions?

But I digress. Humour? Well, there’s the night Noah overindulges…

N: I’m very familiar with the back door option, yes.
C.J.: That was the worst joke ever.
N: No it wasn’t. I’m really funny.
C.J.: You’re really drunk.

And once they’re inside?

C.J.: Jesus, you’re a real pain in my ass.
N: I’d like to be. If you’d let me. Get it? Pain in your ass? Told you I was funny.

As barriers start breaking down between the men, Noah begins to realize just how isolated C.J. is. He has Pops who has raised him and Mr. Barese who gave him a chance and a job, despite knowing C.J. was a ‘Davis’. Noah was warned about the men who have inhabited Davis Road, and a simple glance at C.J.’s file was all every officer has ever done before, but Noah has decided he will be different. He reads C.J.’s file and the details are heart-breaking. I wish I could say C.J. is the exception and a rarity, but there are so many kids who live in poverty and wind up in the criminal justice system. Along with the ‘Davis’ label, C.J. has also been raised without physical warmth. Love? Yes, from Pops. But affection? No. So when Noah hugs C.J., both men come to profound realizations. Both men see the importance of touch. I get that. I have sought out touch – hugs, holding hands – anything to connect with other people.

The ‘professional’ relationship keeps the men from moving their relationship forward. The ethics of this are questionable, but this is real life. Sometimes there are inappropriate feelings and relationships. The men can’t move to official ‘boyfriends’, but there is a progression that was wonderful to watch. Far from insta-love, these two take time to get to know each other. There are a few misunderstandings, and ironically, it is C.J. who in the end pushes for better communication. He also pushes Noah to talk about the tragedies from his past. Heartbreak. Both men have been to Hell and are now working their way back.

Together.

I had my doubts of how they would make it work because there were just so many barriers. Yet Ms. Walker guided the men (and me) to a happy ending.

C.J.: Do you like olives?
N: God Lord, no! They’re little black circles of nastiness.
C.J.: Thank God. For a second there I thought I was going to have to call this whole unofficial boyfriend thing off.
N: Olives are a deal breaker? Duly noted.

Huh. Craziness? Pineapple on burgers is okay but no olives on pizza? Barbarians.

Now, on to Joel Leslie. I love Joel Leslie. When he narrated C.J. trying to read, my heart stuttered. When he portrayed Noah being drunk, I felt he hit the nail on the head. The feeling and emotion Joel infused into his narration got to me. Over and over again, I was pulled in. Reading the book was moving, but listening to the audiobook was powerful and transcending. I look forward to new magic from Joel and N.R. Thank you for this treasure.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amanda McCoy
  • 08-09-18

N.R. Walker does it again.

I'm a huge fan of N.R. Walker. This was another great story and amazing read by Joel Leslie. You can't help but fall in love with both C.J. and Noah. Thank you for a great read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Texan2
  • 01-09-18

Joel Leslie Always Delivers

Joel Leslie and N.R. Walker make such a dynamic duo. Joel Leslie, is a supreme narrator, he is at the top of his game every time he enters the booth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Christina Wade
  • 24-08-18

This duo is absolute perfection.

I read this ebook back in November when it was released and loved it. This is my review of the story from November as I wouldn't change a thing. My review of the vocal performance is added at the end.

So…full disclosure: I’m a HUGE fan of Ms. Walker’s and am a bit gushy at times. While this book was very different from what she normally writes, I’d say it’s one of my favorites. The only thing that came to my mind when I read ‘The End’ (after sitting quietly for a few minutes) was ‘oh my God, oh my God Nic, what have you done to me?’ This book is heavy, at times hard to read, sweet, sometimes funny and honestly everything I love in a story. I felt EVERYTHING the characters felt right along with them.

I am a SUCKER for flawed (‘broken’) characters that have been shattered by their circumstances or the people in their life. I love the healing and redemption and watching that character FINALLY get what is deserved. And…just…Clinton. He ripped me to shreds. He has been knocked down - hard; kicked while he was down; crucified solely because of his lineage; and in case that wasn’t enough, spit on by life.

Normally, the ‘broken’ (I don’t like that term but can’t think of anything else to write) character is my favorite. And I loved Clinton but OH.MY.GOD. Noah. He is everything we all wish we could be. He is going to make a difference in the world; make it a better place to live. And he is absolutely perfect for Clinton and everything Clinton needs. I love them together. Their chemistry – both emotional and sexual – is palpable.

The supporting cast is great. Pops and Mr. Barese are amazing. I loved Gallen…and Terrell. Even the class instructor was pretty awesome for the 5 seconds we see him.

One of my favorite things about Ms. Walker’s writing is that at 90% of her books I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. And I know it’s coming but I usually can’t predict what’s going to happen. She doesn’t follow the ‘formula’ that so many other authors follow. It’s at 94% when it finally drops in this book. But everything that followed was GOLD and PERFECTION.

I didn't think this book could get any better but Joel Leslie proved me wrong. Again. Listening to his performance of this story just makes it so much better. This was such an emotional read for me and his performance amplified those feelings, so much so that I'm not sure when I'll be able to start another book. His performance is, as always, perfect.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anne-Marie Mogensen
  • 23-08-18

Loved it

N.R. Walker is a definite #oneclick for me whenever she releases a new book. I am in love with her writing and find her characters endearing, complex and so very interesting.

As for her plots she is not afraid to think outside the box and that keeps her books fresh, new and entertaining.

Then add in the narration by Joel Leslie. The man is a genius when it comes to accents and I adore the life and depth he brings to the stories.

This combination of author and narrator is simply an amazing duo.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Zara
  • 22-08-18

Amazing

Amazing book. Make you cry both happy and sad tears. Amid make you fall in love with the bad boy and just want to hug him.

Amazing and enjoyable narration.
So good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Denise
  • 06-08-18

Beautiful

I really loved this story, so far in the books I've read N.R. Walker has the best characters, I've never hated one of the main characters and wondered why one MC would want to be with the other one. This slow burn was lovely, there was great character building and true friendship building before anything physical. The only thing I wished would have happened that didn't was for Noah to go back to his co-worker about CJ and dealing meth and set him straight. He was a good coworker but he still needed to be set straight. That was my only disappointment. Joel Leslie is the best.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pat Johnson
  • 13-10-18

Beautiful book

I have read the kindle edition 4 times as this story seems so absolutely real.
The caring from Noah gets to me each time .
To see these guys + pops settled makes me extremely happy.
If a lot of guys had a Noah in their life their lives would change .
N.R. Walkers words paired with the narration of Joel Leslie is perfect....