Rack and ruinStory Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.75 stars

Narrator: Mark Westfield
Length: 7 hours, 6 minutes

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

The THIRDS, and Destructive Delta, are facing threats from two factions. The Order of Adrasteia are Therian-hating humans, and the Ikelos Coalition are human-hating Therians. Their warring is causing destruction, and the Coalition is leaving battered and beaten humans in the wake of their quest for justice. When people start dying, it’s up to Sloane, Dex, and the team to get to the bottom of things. They have to find out what is going on and put a stop to it before things get even more out of hand. Especially since a mole is leaking information to the Coalition.

But while the team is struggling with the external foes, things aren’t perfect within either. Dex and Sloane are moving toward permanence, and their relationship is growing, though the strain of keeping it a secret remains and Sloane still has a lot of baggage. Ash is acting even more like a dick than usual, and his drastic change in attitude toward Cael is surprising. Cael can’t focus, and his head is elsewhere. Something is obviously off between the super close Calvin and Hobbs, and though Dex knows there are feelings between them, the two men clearly have not resolved anything. This strain within the teams’ personal lives is making things even harder.

But despite all this, Destructive Delta is still the elite team with a job to do. They are going to have to pull themselves together and focus on the job. When they finally catch a break, they move in to finally bring down the Order. But disaster strikes anyway.

This is the third installment in Cochet’s THIRDS series, and few months have passed since the end of the last book. I love the way the author is continuing to build on the story, and the consistency within. There are plot points and clues that she has peppered throughout the story and in previous books, which make this growing threat make sense. I really appreciate that nothing ever comes out of left field, that each revelation has a basis in clues already layered in. Even when there’s a moment of surprise, with a little bit of thought the pieces all snap into place. I like that the story keeps growing, that it builds on before without feel stale or that it’s the same thing repeated again.

I like seeing the growth in both Dex and Sloane, as well as their relationship. Dex continues to be a favorite character of mine, and I love the way he throws himself into things with his whole self. He goes after what he wants, what he thinks is right, with singular determination. But at the same time, he shows infinite patience with Sloane. As partners at work, they are functioning well, but their personal relationship is starting to really creep in. And even though Dex is ready for more on the personal side of things, he understands Sloane’s skittishness. That’s not to say that Sloane’s backing away doesn’t hurt him, but Dex understands. I like seeing these guys continue to work so well together. They are growing individually and together, and I just adore them.

I’m also liking that the secondary characters are starting to get a bigger role. Obviously the later books are already out and so I know who is going to get their turn in the spotlight. But I have to say that the way the author builds each of these characters, showing us more of them and giving them bigger parts, makes the progression feel natural. I liked that we got to see a different side of Ash, one I always felt he had in him, and I like how he adds to the story. On top of that the plot keeps getting deeper. I said before, it’s building on itself, and I don’t really know a better way to describe it. The links are all there, even if they aren’t immediately apparent, and I’m really loving this aspect. It gives the story a richness, and makes me eager to keep going.

Listening to this series in audio has been, and continues to be, an awesome experience. Mark Westfield has an amazing consistency with the characters and his narration is so smooth. He has the right tone for the story, his voice providing the perfect feeling. He does an exceptional job with Dex, in particular, capturing the character’s spirit. He does well with the female characters, and gives the men very distinctive voices as well. Westfield has a knack of voicing a character in a way that just fits their personality so well. I have to admit that, on occasion, Sloane sounded a bit too much like Dex, especially when they were having back and forth conversation, so I had a moment’s pause to figure out who was speaking. Westfield does such an amazing job overall though, that I think it increases my enjoyment of this story. I don’t have a moment’s hesitation to recommend this book, particularly the audio version, which is utterly fantastic.

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

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