Cat Grant – Bannon’s Gym 01 – Black Dog

Black Dog (Bannon’s Gym 01), by Cat Grant

Genre: Contemporary, MM Romance

Stars: 5

Note: A new edition of Black Dog was released today (April 1, 2014), by Samhain Publishing. While this review is based on the formerly available, self-published edition, the blurb and book info (including purchase URLs) are for the current version.

 Cat Grant - Bannon's Gym 01 - Black Dog

Which dog wins? The one you feed.
Danny Bannon and Eddie Roscoe have been fighting, in and out of the ring, for more than fifteen years. Mutual attraction and small-town ties hold them together, yet they’re haunted by a shared tragedy that still hangs between them.
Their tenuous, on-again off-again relationship takes a hard right cross with the arrival of Tom Delaney, a teen on the run from his punch-happy father. In no time, the kid shows himself to be a boxing prodigy.
But Tom’s politically influential father isn’t yet down for the count. When his mother shows up at Eddie’s diner with a shiner and a haunted look in her eyes, Tom is hopeful for her future. But when that hope is snuffed out, Tom’s rage has him ready to turn his new fighting skills to a deadly purpose. Revenge, or die trying.
Unless his surrogate big brothers can put their painful past behind them to keep history from rising up for another round.

I love the way this story is written. It is as if I was reading Eddie’s mind most of the time, with occasional glimpses into Danny and Tom’s thoughts. Cat Grant brings their interactions to life with a style that had me almost mesmerized to the point I kept reading and reading until the last page.

I also love that this story has 3 main characters. In the beginning, I had to guess, in the best possible way, about whose love story I was reading, whose internal pain I was feeling, and whose grief I was crying for.

Despite the heartache, Black Dog does not leave the reader wallowing in misery, thanks in part to the detailed information and events about Martial Arts. I now find myself wanting to watch Martial Arts competitions! This part of the story is really entertaining; to the point I was visualizing the action that took my breath away.

The story is also written tactfully; it’s very mindful of those who suffer, or have suffered, from domestic violence. It has a heart felt message as well as an empathetic description of Tom’s healing process following a tragic event. This tragedy caught me so unaware that I felt a total shock. It left me shaken, but my compliments to the writer: this part did not turn into a melodrama.

I am doing my very best not to give away any spoilers about this story so you get to experience this amazing roller coaster of emotions and events just like I did. To do otherwise, I think, would be unfair to the reader and the writer.

The flow of Black Dog is just so smooth. Honestly, I was left in awe of the writer’s skills until the very end. The ending was not clear enough for my liking, so I was left wondering whether this is a standalone story or not. Until I figured out Black Dog is the first book in a series, I was a little frustrated. I am aware that some readers like this feeling of frustration and intrigue, and will wait patiently until the next book is published…me? I am not really fond of spending a sleepless night to read a book, only to find the end did not feel like an ending and I have to wait for the next in the series for resolution.

But still, this story is beautifully written and even though I am not into series’, I shall wait for the second part because I really loved Danny, Eddie, Tom, and the wise old mother Gloria. So…I want to know what happens in the next story!

I highly recommend this book to those who like wounded alpha males who need some loving.


Publisher and Original Publication Date: Samhain Publishing, April 1, 2014 (re-release publisher and date, originally self-published in August, 2013)
Purchase URLs:

Formats Available: epub, mobi, pdf
Length:  145 pages
Reviewed by: Lily
Author’s Website:


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