Narrator: Tristan James
Length: 9 hours, 48 minutes
Miro Jones loves his life and his partner at home and on the job, Ian Doyle. Unfortunately, Ian has been spending more and more time away from home, called away for his military service. As much as Miro tries to be supportive, it is increasingly difficult to be alone for such long periods with no idea when Ian will return and virtually no contact. Even when Ian comes home, his regular absence is putting a strain on their relationship.
As Miro begins to wonder if things can continue to work between them, even as much as he loves Ian, old threats return and new ones appear. As Miro finds his life at risk once again, he realizes that the bond he has with Ian is one that is unbreakable and the men are determined to move on to a future together.
Tied Up in Knots is the third book in Mary Calmes’ Marshals series and continues the adventures of partners Miro and Ian. The stories are interconnected and this book is best read after the first two in the series.
This book is a bit of a departure from the first two in that it is primarily relationship focused with less time spent on an investigation or suspense plot. The story mostly deals with Ian and Miro’s relationship and the impact that Ian’s regular deployments are taking on their lives. The men are clearly in love and there is never any doubt, but they are struggling as Miro is having trouble dealing with Ian being gone and so much uncertainty about when he will be coming and going. On one hand, he knows how much military life means to Ian and he doesn’t want to change him, but on the other, it is really hard to be the one left at home. So I did appreciate that this story deals with this big hurdle for the men, something we have been seeing develop over the books and come to a head here in this story.
On the other hand, I felt like this one lack some of the punch of the other books as there isn’t really a case or much of a focus beyond this issue. We do see Miro involved with some things at work, but the book feels like it sort of jumps around to lots of small issues and events without giving us a chance to really sink into any of them. There is some suspense at the end as Miro is once again threatened. I found this portion a little over the top, both one surprising threat that kind of came out of nowhere, as well as the more expected one that should have been totally impossible. In some ways I really liked how these two pieces play together, as it is clever and surprising, but it also felt a bit like we jumped into a crisis and jumped out without a lot of time spent on the suspense side of things. So there just wasn’t quite enough here in this story for me to really sink into for a reasonably long book.
I once again listened to this in audio with narrator Tristan James. Pretty much everything I have said about his narration in previous reviews of this series holds true again. He speaks with good inflection and pacing and it is generally pleasant listening. At times I had trouble distinguishing between Miro and Ian, but there are a lot of side characters and I think James handles them well. I do find he voices Miro with kind of a droll, blasé sounding voice that often makes Miro sound like he doesn’t give a shit about what people are telling him. I haven’t read this in book form, but I don’t think that is how Miro is actually supposed to be portrayed and I find the narration sometimes a hindrance to connecting with him. From a technical end, the pauses between chapters are pretty long and awkward and left a lot of dead air.
One bit of fun here that I really loved is that at one point Miro is on a case and he encounters Kane and Connor Morgan from Rhys Ford’s Sinners Gin series. Not only did I love seeing the cameos for these guys, but James also narrates that series as well, so he was able to bring in their voices to match that audio. So nothing that would affect your enjoyment here if you haven’t read that series (though you totally should be reading it), but if you are familiar with those books it is a fun cameo.
So I don’t think this was my favorite book of the series, but I do really enjoy the series overall and I am looking forward to the conclusion in the next book. This installment is a bit of a departure from the others, but it leaves these guys in a really good place and sets things up really nicely for the final book.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.