I did not hate this book, but it could have been so much more. I am intrigued by prison stories as they create an atypical environment for relationships to develop. The idea of men becoming your 'girl' and protection is fascinating. Protection definitely explored this universe. This is a bittersweet story and the main characters Gab and Joey were compelling. I especially liked Gab, even though he was a double lifer, he had many redeeming qualities, charisma, and inner conflict.
Where this book (really a novella) failed me was that it was a bit rushed and the author did more telling instead of showing what was going on with the main characters. Generally books suffer from too much story and could use editing to tell the tale in fewer words. I think Protection had the opposite problem; I would like to have taken more time for the relationship with Gab and Joey to develop. Gab and Joey's *relationship* started on a very bad note and one that [b:Special Forces|6708511|Special Forces (Special Forces, #1-3)|Aleksandr Voinov|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1268577845s/6708511.jpg|6904341] fans will have experienced and I just think it was resolved too quickly after all, it took Dan and Vadim literally years to come to terms with their initial encounter, and even then it haunted them. Regarding the show not tell, I just am not a fan of the author telling you exactly what the character is thinking, I prefer to learn about them through their actions. Of course, if the author took more time with the story, there may have been more showing, less telling.
By the way, I read the coda and, it was really a shoulder shrug for me. I just was not vested enough in the characters to follow them to where they ended up.