tramps and thievesRating: 4.75 stars
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Length: Novel

Former cat burglar Rook Stevens is now officially on the right side of the law and has settled into life with his boyfriend, detective Dante Montoya. Rook’s instincts toward self protection and the need to always be ready to run haven’t completely left him, but he is learning to be more confident in Dante’s love and their relationship.

However, no matter how hard he tries, trouble seems to always find Rook. He finds himself stumbling upon another dead body, this time of his cousin Harold. And once again, Rook is being accused of the murder. Fortunately, this time he has Dante on his side and, despite a cop who is trying to pin the crime on Rook, Dante is determined to keep Rook from taking the blame. But as more murders pile up and the case gets wilder, Dante and Rook have a tough battle to keep Rook out of jail, find out who is really behind the crimes, and keep Rook from ending up in the killer’s sights.

Tramps and Thieves is the second book in Rhys Ford’s Murder and Mayhem series. I absolutely adored the first book so I was thrilled to see a follow up for Dante and Rook. As with the first story, this book is incredibly exciting with a captivating mystery and a wonderful relationship between Dante and Rook.

So first off, the mystery and thriller aspect here is fabulous. The case has twists and turns and each new finding leads into something else to discover. There are so many moving parts and Ford manages them all with ease, keeping things flowing but never too easy. I found it exciting and the suspense kept me captivated throughout. I’ll admit I had a teensy bit of trouble following the last bits of the reveal, but overall I found it incredibly well done. The investigation also gives us a chance to dig deeper into the Martin family dynamics, and we spend more time with Rook’s grandfather who I love despite often being a prickly asshole. I also enjoyed the furthering relationship between Dante and his partner Hank, and their friendship and mutual support was nice to see expanded upon.

Even with the mystery element taking center stage, the foundation of the story is Rook and Dante’s relationship. We saw over the first book how Rook slowly began to let down his guard with Dante and believe that he could really have the love and companionship he craved. At the same time, it isn’t always easy for Rook. He has to occasionally remind himself that he can trust in Dante, that what they have is real and solid. We see at times he starts to back away, only to have Dante reaffirm for Rook that he isn’t going anywhere and Rook doesn’t have to run. Ford does such a wonderful job with the nuances of this relationship, showing the little details that make up these characters. I really love these guys together and enjoyed seeing them further their connection here.

So this is a series I adore (out of many wonderful series from Ford). If you enjoy her Cole McGinnis or Sinner’s Gin series, I really think you will find this one equally good. As with the others, Ford really does a wonderful job combining taut, exciting mysteries with really well developed relationships. I am really thrilled about this one and I definitely hoping for more in this series.

P.S. If you are fan of Ford’s other books, there are a few shout outs here you will find sprinkled in…

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

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