Rating: 4.75 stars
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When FBI agent Ty Grady learns he is getting assigned a new partner after a disaster on his recent case, he is not particularly thrilled. Especially when he meets Zane Garrett, who appears to be an uptight, rule following, butt kisser — everything Ty is not. The men are assigned to a major case in New York, that of a serial killer who no one has been able to stop. Things have recently escalated and the killer has murdered two FBI agents. It is looking like the killer is either part of law enforcement or is getting help from the inside, so Ty and Zane are not only there to investigate the serial killings, but also to look into who within the police or FBI may be involved.
At first the men are like oil and water together. Ty is sort of a renegade, breaking rules and doing his own thing. He is one of those guys who gets the job done so the higher ups often look the other way, but he makes Zane crazy. Zane has been working for years to get his career back on track. He has been singularly focused on doing his job, moving up, and putting his past behind him. He fears all his hard work will fall apart if he is stuck working with a obnoxious and wild partner like Ty.
As the men continue to work together, they begin to find common ground and realize that their first impressions of each other weren’t quite right. Ty is a hard worker, great with understanding people’s motivations, figuring out what the killer is thinking and doing. And Zane’s professionalism hides a painful history of substance abuse and a much wilder side that he keeps locked away. As the case heats up with no leads, the men begin to fall out of their rigid roles and start to work together as a team. Soon they begin to not only like each other, but form a growing attraction. But even with their interest in one another, Ty and Zane’s primary focus is always on the case and the killer that continues to strike. And as they get closer to figuring out who the murderer is, they find that their own lives may be in danger as the killer begins to strike closer and closer to home.
Ok guys, so I see why everyone loves this series and I am even more ashamed that I haven’t read it before now. This was such a wonderful book with a fabulous combination of great relationship and character development alongside and a really well done mystery. Usually with this type of story you get one or the other, but Urban and Roux really excel at giving us both elements, making a really rich and rewarding book.
First off, I loved Ty and Zane. When we first meet them, it seems like you typical story of the oddball partners – the wild renegade rule breaker with lots of experience and the uptight cerebral guy who can’t handle himself on the streets. But Urban and Roux give us so much more than that and as we get to know the guys we find that they are incredibly layered characters with so much more going on than what we first see. And as they get to know and appreciate one another, we too learn more details about their lives and what has shaped their personalities. I found Zane especially fascinating and he turns out to be so different than he first appears. His rule following, uptight nature is really a cover he uses to try to hold himself together and move away from his troubled past. While Ty initial appears to be the wild card, his military background and experience actually make him a lot more controlled than Zane, who over time really lets his true self come out. It is fascinating how deep these guys go and the authors do a wonderful job developing these characters.
I also thought the murder investigation and mystery were incredibly well done. The story was complex with great detail and lots of side characters and moving parts that all worked together to create a mystery that was interesting and well developed. Again, so often in romances the mystery/suspense plot is more for show, something for the characters to do in between falling in love. But this story could have worked just as well in a straight suspense book and I found it quite exciting. I will say that I was a bit disappointed at the ending, the killer being a bit more obvious than I would have expected for a mystery this well done. But I still really enjoyed it and found it quite fascinating and thrilling.
My only other quibbles are fairly small. First, we get a lot of head hopping here, sometimes from one paragraph to the next. Reading on an ereader often adds to the confusion because the section breaks rarely come across perfectly, so it is possible that some of this was a technology problem. But I did feel there was enough jumping back and forth to catch my attention many times, especially the brief look into the killer’s head. I also think the story could have been tightened up. On one hand, I appreciated the detailed, almost epic feel to it. We get two major time jumps and a really thorough story. But I also felt like it was quite long and a teensy bit sluggish through the middle.
So yes, I am regretting that it took me so long to pick this book up. I thought it was wonderfully done with a great combination of well developed, nuanced characters and a really exciting mystery and suspense plot. Ty and Zane have me totally hooked and I can’t wait to pick up the next book in this series!