Review: The Long Game by J.L. Flynn

18603661I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I have no personal connection to the writer and/or publisher.

Smooth talking. Ambitious. Loyal. Twenty-year-old Shay Reilly has proven himself to his Irish-American Gypsy clan on small-scale cons, but now the clan leader has a bigger mission for him: playing the long game. To rake in the big score he’s after, he needs to con co-ed Spencer into falling in love with him. He knows he should see Spencer as a mere means to an end, but that’s easier said than done when there’s a witty, attractive girl in your arms. Now the only thing that can keep them apart is the thing that brought them together: Shay’s plans of revenge against someone who wronged his clan and family years before-Spencer’s father.


I don’t really know what I expected the characters in this novel to be like so imagine my surprise when they ended up actually being quite while rounded. While not all of the characters are necessarily good people they are pretty solid characters, whether you like them or hate them.

In the character of Shay I was reminded of two other characters, for some reason. The well loved Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World, as well as one of the characters from the short lived show The Riches. Let me make one thing clear though, the plot does not in any way, end up like either of those shows. It was just a little niggling feeling in the back of my head as I read through the novel.

The main lead is well rounded, without being too flaw free, a pet peeve of mine, and he does show admirable growth throughout the novel which is always something to be considered an accomplishment.

The female lead, again, is a good girl without seeming too Mary-Sueish or TOO good, with her own flaws and ideals.

The background characters too, should be something the authors are proud of as they are also fleshed out and enjoyable, though some more than others.


There was a familiarity to the plot when I was reading, I will admit, but not something that I found overly daunting or dislikable. I actually really enjoyed it, and found myself whipping through the last couple of chapters in an effort to find out what was going to happen.

Sometimes the pacing raced on, with small vignettes it seemed being used as a nod to things which had happened which we might not have seen. I can see where this might not be the best for some people but I actually quite enjoyed it, as I am not a fan of those who insist on revealing every little detail of their characters lives. Sometimes you really do just want them to get on with it already, and this book does not disappoint.

While the plot is not perfect, it is an easy read, and detailed enough to capture a reader’s attention.

Overall Thoughts

I really, really, really, enjoyed this book. Though the first person narrative threw me for a loop at first I soon found myself sinking into the novel, and the world of the characters in it. It was clearly researched, which I appreciate and I find myself so excited to continue onward.

Good for?
Those who loved Shawn Hunter and The Riches? No?
People who grew up with novels as delightful and knowing as The Outsiders.
People who like contemporary young adult romances with a little bit of action thrown in.

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