ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Pressure Head by JL Merrow


37458180Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: January 1, 2017
Received From: NetGalley

Some things are better left hidden….

Tom Paretski’s not just a plumber with a dodgy hip courtesy of a schoolboy accident. He also has a sixth sense for finding hidden things. Called in by the police to help locate a body near Brock’s Hollow, he’s staggered to encounter Phil Morrison, his old school crush—and the closeted bully whose actions contributed to Tom’s accident.

Phil’s all grown up now, and Tom’s unwilling attraction to him is back with a vengeance. Phil’s now openly gay—and what’s more, he’s interested in Tom’s personal charms as well as his psychic talents. As a private investigator called in by the dead woman’s parents, Phil is sceptical about Tom’s unusual gift, but nevertheless quick to spot its potential to aid him in his work.

The further they go with the investigation, the less they can ignore their shared past, and the more the pressure and the heat build between them. But Tom isn’t certain he wants to know the secrets he’s helping to uncover, while there’s a murderer on the loose who won’t hesitate to kill again—and this uneasy couple is moving right into his sights.

**NOTE: This is lightly edited reprint of a previously published novel.**


GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: homosexual


TROPES: enemies to lovers, hurt/comfort, mutual pining
TAGS: adult, contemporary, paranormal, romance, queer romance, queer characters, disabled character, law enforcement
WARNINGS: child death, kidnapping, bullying, homomisia, slurs, misogyny, ableism, suicide, racism, fatmisia, enbymisia, cheating, cissexism / transmisia, physical injury


Initially, I was a bit wary of this book because romances where bullies and their victims get together aren’t even close to good, let alone great. But, knowing this was going to be a series, I had a bit more hope that Tom and Phil wouldn’t be jumping into bed without addressing the past.

Luckily, this ended up being the case! From the start, Tom doesn’t let Phil get away with being a jerk, both in the past and present, and doesn’t hesitate to tell Phil off when he needs to. And Phil seems to obviously feel remorse about everything that happened. Though that, and the fact he was reacting out of a desire to stay in the closet, doesn’t negate what went down and Tom lets him know that. They’re eventually able to move past it into friends and, very near the end, into lovers. I liked that they slowly eased into the friendship and then relationship, because it didn’t feel like anything was really swept under the rug, and I look forward to reading the next books to see how things develop.

I also enjoyed seeing Tom with his various friends and that Merrow included scenes from his everyday life, not just ones with Phil or involving the murder case, though that was certainly interesting to follow as well.



JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Connect with JL:


Riptide Publishing
Barnes & Noble


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s