Audiobook Review: Badlands by Morgan Brice

Posted March 25, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Audio Delight, Reviews / 18 Comments

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review: Badlands by Morgan Brice
Narrated by Kale Williams

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: Badlands #1
Genres: M/M Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on March 12, 2019
Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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The Delight

A psychic who has the key to dreadful events, a skeptical yet dedicated police detective, and a serial killer with his own agenda on the Myrtle Beach Grand Strand sounded just the thing for a suspenseful, paranormal romance from a new to me author and narrator.


Badlands is the start to a series and introduced a psychic shop owner, Simon Kincade, and police detective Vic D’Amato when a serial killer starts killing the temp and seasonal workers along Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand.  The chemistry is good and they both anticipate getting to know one another better until Simon learns Vic is a skeptic and Vic learns Simon believes in the ‘woowoo’ of ghostly visitations.  But, in spite of their rocky start, they both tentatively give the other a chance even though with each killing, Simon looks more and more like perp than innocent.  Soon the serial killer turns his sights on Simon and they must outwit someone more powerful than the average human before it’s too late.

Badlands is one that I have mixed feelings about.

The set up was all systems go for me with the twisting murder plot involving ghostly witnesses and magical aid along with the internal conflict this pair face as they attempt a relationship.  I left out a lot in my summary, but they have both been burned by past relationships and psychic gifts were at the heart of both those pasts so they have a lot to overcome.  It was fascinating learning the darker side behind the Myrtle Beach Tourist and hospitality industry.  I loved all that part and loved the colorful, well-drawn cast of characters particularly Simon and Vic.

What got to me was the prevalent remarks that occurred a few dozen times about the police.  Everyone in this book had the idea that either the police were doing nothing because the deaths were low-paid foreigners or people living on the fringes or, the police wouldn’t use what they knew so why tell them anything.  It got really old because, for a bunch of people who were supposedly scared or cared, they sure were willing to sit back and do nothing, but criticize, clamming up when the police interviewed them or showed them drawings of a suspect- you know, working that case they were supposedly not working….

What got me frustrated was that Simon, who was hearing all this, could have set them straight that Vic and his partner were working overtime on the case and Vic was desperate enough to get the killer that he went to a psychic when he doesn’t even believe.  Simon bemoans to his friend, Tracy, about wanting Vic to stand up for him before others when it came to his psychic talent (which, btw, Vic did stand up for him), but this shows he wasn’t willing to do the same when it comes to Vic’s rep as a cop.

The other thing that drove me nuts- and will always drive me nuts when it crops up in a romance- is when one romance partner decides to keep important stuff to themselves and take the choice of action away from the other one because they are so sure they know what will happen if they do or they feel they are acting for that person’s best interest.  In this case, it was Simon withholding tips and facts and things of interest about the case.  He likes to say its because the police and Vic won’t believe him, but that doesn’t fly with me because he’d already told Vic a few airy fairy things the ghosts shared and Vic acted on them even though he got teased and questioned by his partner.  In fact, Vic defended Simon hotly every time Simon’s gift was questioned and tried to keep an open mind after the first time when he freaked and left.  Not once, did he give Simon reason to hold back.

The story lagged in places and it was mostly due to going over the same ground almost verbatim and sometimes within a few chapters of the last time.  It was pertinent and fascinating detail the first time, but not the second and the third.

Now, for all that got into my craw, this was an overall win and this is because of Simon and Vic as a pair together and how they wrestled to overcome tough pasts to reach out to the other guy.  They had their sexy times, but I enjoyed it when their were other moments together as well.  And, they both had good friends in Simon’s bestie and cousin and Vic’s partner.  I can see how the relationship both as a couple and detecting partnership along with fitting their lives together will only get better as the series progresses.

Kale Williams was a great voice for this story.  He gave the locals a southern drawl and Vic had a good raspy northerner voice.  Gender was done well and he matched up well with the pace and tone of this book.  I would definitely pick up other books he narrates and hope he is the narrator for this whole series.

All in all, I was glad to have listened to this one.  As you saw, it was not a complete win for me, but  there is plenty to love and want more of for future books.  I’m hoping that future books will pace better now that the intro to setting and world are done.  This one will be for those who enjoy spicy m/m romantic suspense with strong paranormal elements.

My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met

New Release #29
Literary Pickers #64 home alarm
Audio #28
Books N Tunes #15 Bruce Springsteins’ Dancing in the Dark


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

As someone who comes from a family of law enforcement that would get old fast. It is sad because I love the premise and mystery aspect.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Yeah, you’d definitely not think much of this one, then. I feel like an editor should have picked up on how inconsistent that attitude felt when it was literally everybody and not just one or two people.

2 years ago

Oh wow this one looks awesome! I love the cover for it. And even though I’m not normally one to read M/M romance, this actually looks really good.
Ash @ JennRenee Read

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Ash

Glad to point one out to tempt you, Ash. 🙂 I like the cover for this one particularly when it suits the story, too.

Mary Kirkland
2 years ago

Well I can see why you would have some problems with this one. Sounds like the story premise was a good one. Hope the next book is better.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Yeah, it had some hiccups, but, hopefully with book two, some of that will be absent. 🙂

Melissa (Books and Things)

Aw too bad it wasn’t a total win. Sounds like the narration saved it a bit though.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Why, howdy, lady! 🙂

Yes, it was not a complete win, but it was engaging in some ways and had really good narration work so I can keep going and see if some of that irons out.

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

It drives me nuts when one character keeps information from the other partner too! I get so frustrated! I’m glad that this was an overall win despite a few things that you didn’t like. Great review Sophia!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Yes! You get it, then. I kept grumbling at my Kindle that he needed to tell the trained cop all the truth. 🙂

2 years ago

The set-up for this one sounds good. That sounds like it would get old quickly with the characters all thinking the police wasn’t working the case and then being uncooperative when said police was investigating. And especially frustrating when Simon could’ve easily set them straight. And what you mentioned about the romance always gets me annoyed too, I hate it when someone keeps information a secret and then makes the choice for the other. And with Vic not giving Simon any reason to hold back that just seems frustrating. At least if Vic gave him a reason to hold back… Read more »

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Lola

Overall it was very good. Just a couple things to irritate me. I’m hoping book two doesn’t have some of that stuff.

2 years ago

Mixed bag overall but still sounds worth reading.

Karen @ For What It’s Worth

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Karen

Exactly. Stuff that annoyed, but nothing that kept me from liking most of it and wanting more. 🙂

Rachel @Waves of Fiction

Glad to hear you enjoyed the story enough even with some niggles to continue on with the series. Hopefully the next one is even better. Wonderful review, Sophia Rose! 🙂

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Thanks! I wasn’t put off completely, but just a little. I’m hoping a few things will be absent in book two and it will be a complete win. 🙂

Carole rae
2 years ago

Ooo. I think I seen that somewhere for free…mmmm. Maybe it was Audible

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Carole rae

Could be… I know this one has several novellas and three novel-sized books already released in the series. Sometimes the audio editions start much later.