Review by Rafa: Unspeakable Words, by Sarah Madison

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Unspeakable Words, by Sarah Madison (2nd Edition)
Series: The Sixth Sense, Book 1
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 10, 2017

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


Special Agent John Flynn is everything Jerry Parker is not: dangerously handsome, coolly charismatic, and respected by his peers. Special Agent Parker is dedicated and meticulous, but his abrasive personality has given him a reputation for being difficult. When new information on a cold case appears, Parker is assigned to work with Flynn, and the sparks fly as their investigative styles clash. Contact with a strange artifact changes everything when it bestows unusual and unpredictable powers on Flynn… and the two men must learn to trust each other before a killer strikes again.


M/M Pairing
Gay Character
Bisexual Character
Opposites Attract
Gay For You

Warning for some Bi-erasure/Biphobia

Unspeakable Words was my first book by Sarah Madison and up to a certain point, I thought it was well-written, just perhaps lacking in oomph. Jerry is a very buttoned up and highly detailed-oriented agent who doesn’t get along with his peers, whereas Jerry is the hotshot who was flown back into town to follow up on an unsolved cases. The book, which was written in Jerry’s POV was (unsurprisingly) meticulously detailed, but I did find it a bit slow in terms of both the mystery and the relationship between the two FBI agents.

The main overarching case didn’t get very far and in fact went unresolved (don’t forget, this is book one in a series) but thankfully a secondary mystery component provided some distraction. As you may have already guessed, the book took a wild leap into the paranormal early in the investigation. I have to admit, I was really curious what the “unusual and unpredictable powers” would turn out to be, and I was not let down. At first, I was somewhat bemused by the turn of events and wasn’t sure what to make of it, but Flynn’s “powers” turned out to be a godsend. Not only did the investigation pick up soon after, but the tone of the book went from dry and a bit dull to light and humorous. Flirty, even. Oh, and the cats helped too.

Despite the ongoing investigation, there was a lot of down time in which the two men were able to overcome their differences and start to bond. As I mentioned, this slowed the pace of the book down somewhat, but just like the main mystery, I suppose a solid foundation needed to be laid down with the entire series in mind. If you’re like me and prefer a more (cough cough) “explosive” dynamic between your crimefighting duo, then this book might not be for you. The heat level was very low, which is fine, but it was also a bit cheesy, and I definitely wasn’t a fan of the flat-out “gay for you” element to the story.

A bit of biphobia surfaced briefly but quite significantly when Jerry (the gay character) attempted to make a distinction between “gay men who sometimes sleeps with women” and… bisexuals. Cue eyeroll. Jerry’s opinion of the Kinsey scale notwithstanding, I wasn’t at all convinced of their attraction or feelings when they got it on during the home stretch. There was no insight whatsoever into Flynn’s thoughts throughout the book including his attraction to another man, and Jerry’s feelings for Flynn definitely seemed to lean more towards lust than any deeper connection.

As far as the case they were working on, there wasn’t really much in the way of teasing for the next book in the series (not that I would’ve preferred a cliffhanger), and Flynn’s powers were also left up in the air. As for Jerry and Flynn, I thought they were better suited as working partners than lovers. I probably would’ve rated the book a solid 3 or 3.5 stars before it took a disappointing dive in the final stretch.


Sarah Madison is a writer with a big dog, a big horse, too many cats, and an extremely patient boyfriend. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she’s not out hiking with the dog or down at the stables, she’s at the laptop working on her next story.


You can purchase Unspeakable Words at:
Dreamspinner Press
B&N Nook

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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