Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 3.75 stars
Narrator: Tristan James
Length: 8 hours, 48 minutes
Someone is setting up Reno Detective Cristian Flesh. Cristian is out and proud around everyone, including his co-workers on the police force. He has a specific set of rules he lives by, he’s not into monogamy any day, and he is often looking for his next hook-up. These often anonymous hook-ups also include Cristian being dominated as he can’t wait to give in to his submissive side time and again. A new bed partner each time is completely working for him, until his latest one nighter turns up dead and Cristian becomes the prime suspect.
When the public defender can’t defend him, Cristian reluctantly agrees to a high priced lawyer. When Colby Maddox steps into Cristian’s world, everything changes. Cristian is insanely attracted to Colby, but Colby says he isn’t into men and that he has a girlfriend. When passion takes over, Cristian finds himself wanting to toss all of his rules for more nights with Colby. But it’s all still complicated for Cristian as Colby isn’t out and a murderer is still on the loose.
At 25 years of age, Cristian is the youngest cop ever to make detective on the force. He’s confident and he’s worked hard for it. If anyone has a problem with him, well, it’s their problem not his. Cristian has so much going on with him. At first, we see him out almost every night as one of his rules is he never takes the same man to bed twice. He’s not the same romantic lead that we have seen over and over again and I liked that and I liked him. Will he be for everyone? Probably not. Cristian is not about monogamy at all. When he meets Colby, Colby intrigues him like no other man ever has before, but Cristian still is not interested in a one-on-one relationship and he makes it clear to Colby. But slowly Cristian finds himself breaking one rule and then another as Colby becomes the only man always on his mind.
The men begin their relationship as lawyer and client as Cristian is framed for murder. For a supposedly smart detective, Cristian makes dangerous and questionable decisions about the men he goes to bed with, as well as how he runs down leads. I found the mystery and the detective work the weakest link here for me. Cristian is framed for murder, but at one point he admits to almost forgetting that the real killer hasn’t been caught. When Cristian’s personal life and his relationship with Colby became the focus, I was intrigued by that storyline, but the murder mystery end sort of disappeared for a while and then came back to life in full force. There was also well placed evidence to find the killer that was a little too convenient for me.
Cristian has a past that he refuses to talk about–it’s one of his rules. But he lets Colby in ever so slowly and his troubled past is only hinted at. Being that this is the first in a series there is still much more to be revealed. There was interesting character development for Cristian as he thinks he really wants to continue on with his ways, but once Colby is under his skin that’s all he wants. There are also well placed secondary characters that helped keep the overall interest high within the story. I could have used some POV from Colby to up the attraction and intensity of their relationship for as it was it was one sided without his voice.
Tristan James is the narrator for this one. I have listened to another series that was narrated entirely by James that was excellent and I had a difficult time reconciling that this was the same narrator. First off on a positive note, James’narrative tone was pleasant and easy to listen to. Cristian is the POV character and his voice gets the most air time. However, Cristian is 25, and James’ voice is older and that’s an issue I have when listening to audios when the narrator sounds older than the character. Colby’s voice was not distinct. Well, sometimes it was and other times it wasn’t and he didn’t always sound the same. The secondary characters were a cast of stereotypical voices from the wealthy older lady, to the Dragnet-style sounding cop, to the female characters that didn’t particularly sound female. James also said “prostrate” at one point instead of “prostate” but then it was not possible to determine whether it was a narrator or book issue. I would not have gotten to this book if it wasn’t for the audio version and, while it wasn’t my favorite performance by James, it was a decent enough listen to encourage me to continue on with the series.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.