Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Length: 11 hours, 48 minutes
Red Fish, Dead Fish is the second book in the Fish Out of Water series and should be enjoyed in order.
PI Jackson Rivers and stuffy lawyer Ellery Cramer connected a few months back when Jackson sought out Ellery to help exonerate his brother-from-another-mother. Neither of them expected their investigation to blow the lid off long-standing corruption in the Sacramento PD and district attorney’s office. Not that this was a surprise for Jackson; he’d gotten bounced off the police force after turning state’s evidence against his dirty partner.
While on that case, Jackson was seriously injured—shot in fact—and Ellery nursed him back to health. They’re still together, but Jackson’s sure this is temporary; Ellery’s too good and proper to want a promiscuous PI-slash-former cop with a junkie for a mother as a life partner, right? Still, Jackson can’t really refuse Ellery’s attentions, and Ellery’s lush home isn’t under demo to repair the bullet holes from the drive-by that might have killed Jackson, but didn’t. The round up of baddies netted some big fish, but one slipped the net: Tim Owens. And all accounts, even some off the record, indicate that Owens is a psychopath. Is he responsible for the murders of sex workers and addicts that have been cropping up in parks not far from Jackson’s duplex? It seems as if Owens is leaving some gruesome messages that lead Jackson into a trap that even Ellery can’t figure out.
This book is just as gritty and fantastic as the first one. The growth of the relationship between Ellery and Jackson is escalated by some seriously messed up stuff—not least of which is Owens getting his maniac hands on Jackson for a spell. There’s a lot of action and police-procedural bits that rang true, for me. I love the antagonistic banter Jackson and Ellery have with each other, with the police, and with Jackson’s adopted family. It’s a wild ride, honestly, and I felt pulled along by the strong narration from Greg Tremblay. His mastery at differentiating Jackson’s gravelly voice and Ellery’s pinched tone always kept me in the loop regarding the story. Plus, the raw emotion kept me riveted long past my bedtimes. I had no trouble following along, and felt as if I could see what was happening. The pace is brisk and the action is intense. My heart broke for Jackson so many times! He’s in bad spot after bad spot, sometimes of his own making. His determination to keep his troubles to himself do cause more problems, but Ellery is a fantastic foil to Jackson’s questionable decision making. I seriously thought Ellery was going to put Jackson over his knee for a spanking at a few points. The love Ellery holds for Jackson is unquestionable—and I like how his pompous attitude is a front for such a tender heart.
I actually listened to the story twice, and would go back for more.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.