Rating: 4.5 stars
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Things continue to be rough for SPECTR agent John Starkweather and his boyfriends Caleb/Gray. With their boss still on their back and no one happy with the way the grendel case went down, John has been placed on interview duty, trying to find out who is behind the sudden influx of demons in the city. Meanwhile Caleb is stuck with two new partners who hate him and won’t let Gray help with any of the demon hunting. The men are miserable at work, but neither sees a way forward other than to go along and keep their heads down.
That doesn’t mean that Caleb and Gray aren’t chafing at the restrictions, especially as they spend time with the only other existing host/drakul pair, Yuri and Dru. Yuri has spent his time living life on his terms and refuses to comply with mortal rules or the restrictions anyone might try to place on him. Caleb finds himself sorely tempted when Yuri encourages him to let loose and stop trying to fall in line. But Caleb and Gray love John more than anything and don’t want to see him hurt or his job in danger. However, as the investigation heats up, the men might find that whichever move they make, their lives are still at risk.
Breaker of Chains is the fourth book in the second season of Jordan L. Hawk’s amazing SPECTR series. I absolutely adore this urban fantasy/paranormal series and found this book a great turning point in the second season. The first few books this season have been rough as Caleb and John struggle in the aftermath of the Ft. Sumter attack. Rather than being seen as heroes, they are feared and hated for the part they played. As a result, the men have found themselves sidelined at SPECTR, particularly since their boss can’t stand them. So it has been rough going for the guys and I enjoyed seeing things start to turn the corner here.
The title of this episode is Breaker of Chains and perfectly describes this story. The men have been hamstrung, forced to sit on the sidelines and out of the action. Caleb is not even allowed to let Gray out, let alone let him help hunt. Their partnership is broken up, they are all being set aside, and no one is happy. But Yuri and Drugoy are there, tempting Caleb and Gray, showing them what life can be like if they just ignore the chains of the mortal world and do what they please. So Caleb is really torn here, part of him wanting what they offer, and other part knowing that taking that kind of action puts John at risk. And Caleb and Gray love John more than anything in the world. So the story is about that conflict, between keeping things safe and falling in line, and taking action that could give them what they want, but also jeopardize everything. I won’t spoil things, but I will say that this one has more of a cliffhanger ending than any of the previous books as things go too far in a lot of ways. If you heard someone screaming at midnight a few days ago, it was probably me when I realized the book was over!
This story is part of a serial, so it probably goes without saying that the story arc continues throughout and you need to read this from the beginning. Unlike most of the others, this installment is focused much more on the big picture with work and the relationship, and less on investigating a particular bad guy, though these guys are both working on cases and Hawk ties all the elements together nicely. I loved how even though there are a lot of problems going on right now for the men, we can still see how much they love one another and how connected they are. Even as everything kind of explodes around them, I have confidence in this relationship and I love this unusual triad.
So once again, another great installment in this fabulous series. I absolutely love SPECTR and definitely encourage you all to give it a try.