blood & thunder

Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars

Narrator: Mark Westfield
Length: 7 hours, 50 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Audible
Book Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance

The Destructive Delta team has been coalescing into a cohesive unit since the events four months ago, when Isaac Pierce kidnapped and tortured Agent Sloane Brodie. Pierce has been creating havoc across the city, keeping the team on their toes as they try to close in on the madman and bring down his organization. But every time they think they have a lead, things don’t turn out like they expect. Pierce is playing with them, and his true motives are unclear.

While Sloane and his team, along with the rest of THIRDS, work toward finding answers, Sloane’s personal life is both good and bad. He and his partner, Dex Daley, are enjoying an intimate relationship as well as bonding as partners at work. But Sloane’s past is keeping him from fully committing. Dex cares for Sloane deeply, and he’s willing to give Sloane the time he needs, but he gets increasingly frustrated as Sloane keeps shutting him out.

When Dex disobeys orders in order to save a teammate, things come to a head between them, and both men know things have to change. But before they can really begin to discuss their relationship, everything goes sideways. The case is getting more intense and bloody, and the connection back to Sloane—and other first generation Therians—is becoming intensely clear. When the THIRDS is compromised and Pierce gets information that could be catastrophically detrimental to the organization, Destructive Delta will stop at nothing to bring Pierce down before the information can be released. If they can’t, everything the THIRDS has worked so hard for the last two decades will come crumbling down.

This second book in the THIRDS series basically picks right up where Hell & High Water left off and the intense emotion carries right over. Cochet continues to build on her characters and on the world in which they live. Not only do the characters keep growing and revealing parts of themselves, but the mystery deepens. This story really is a continuation of the first, and just like the first book, it wraps up the major plot points while seeding in new ones for the next story. It’s very well done and left me itching for the next book.

I continue to love the crap out of Dex. He’s just so real. Fun, funny, with a huge heart, he’s an all-around great guy. He also has weird quirks and flaws. He’s human in the best possible way. I honestly feel like he could step off the page and into real life. He’s not perfect by any means. He makes mistakes and has to pay the consequences. But he’s learning, changing and growing, while still remaining true to himself. He’s a favorite character of mine, and I love watching him interact with the other characters in this story. He has a particular relationship with each one of his teammates, and it’s fantastic as a reader to see that consistency carry over.

This story is a little bit on the darker side for Sloane’s narrative, and I liked that we were finally given some answers as to why he is the way he is. It was really well done, though there were a couple moments where I was admittedly as frustrated as Dex was at the not knowing. I could understand some of Sloane’s reluctance to admit things, and when he finally did I could understand why. But I definitely had moments where the push/pull between him and Dex, and the secrecy, was a little much. In the end, though, I thought he had the most growth, as he was finally able to open up and trust Dex. I liked where there relationship was going too, and thought it felt true to the characters.

There’s a definite threat in this book, one that is more defined than the first book. But I have to admit that I had a couple of small issues with when and how things were revealed. It wasn’t a huge deal, though I kind of felt there were points when I was being strung along unnecessarily.  Really, this was down to personal preference, so I won’t dwell. Overall, it was well done.

This story is action packed, and for the most part, the pacing is really good. There were scenes and chapters that had me on the edge of my seat, stopping my knitting and listening intently with my heart in my throat. And I’m going to jump right into talking about the narration here, because let me tell you, Mark Westfield continues to be an outstanding narrator. His voice is perfect for the feel of the story, and his narration brings the story to life in ways I’m not even sure I can describe. He’s got the characters down so well, and everyone had a distinctive voice. Not to mention, there are some awesome effects in this one, like when the team members are speaking on the radios, which give this audio even more depth. I could listen to this book again and again, and that’s due to Westfield. The story is great, but the experience is made even better by the narration.

So yeah, another one that’s highly recommended. The story is good in and of itself, and had good character growth and continuing development that is so important with a continuing series. Nothing felt stale or repeated, and I liked that the plot feels like it is advancing. But if you’re so inclined, I urge you to get the audio as it takes the experience to another level.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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