Michael MacGregor is a forensic psychologist who often works with the police. He also has a popular BBC television show and is relatively high profile. Michael is going through his second divorce and has rekindled a relationship with his first love, Nathan Quarryman, the police chief of the small town where they grew up, Elder’s Edge. He’s been in London teaching a course when he’s approached by a friend asking him to convince the police to reopen a cold case involving the murder of his sister.
Nathan and Michael haven’t spent much time together in the four months Michael’s been in London. Clearly their relationship isn’t in the greatest of shape, but he’s happy to have Michael home where he belongs. Nathan agrees to look back into the case, and it seems like it’s just in time because another body has turned up exactly where the original victim was found.
Now, with danger surrounding Michael and his friend, suspects aplenty, and a list of dead women, Michael and Nathan must also try to work together on more than just the mystery, but their love as well. Miscommunication, trust issues, and distance are getting in the way of their happiness. Will Nathan be able to keep Michael safe from harm? Will the murderer be found and brought to justice? Will the men’s love for each other survive?
I read and reviewed the first book in the Elder’s Edge series, Slow Road to Hell, and I enjoyed it very much. So, when this one became available, I had no qualms about reading it. I wasn’t disappointed at all. In fact, I think this one may be even better. Since I was familiar with the characters, I was able to relax into it. Like the first story, Dead Feint started out a little slow. I don’t necessarily consider that a bad thing. The author was establishing the mystery. Also, he was paying special attention to the relationship between Michael and Nathan. The men have been away from each other for quite awhile and their communication was less than stellar. There was tension and it was very well written. Perhaps too well written. I felt frustrated with both men. I wanted to reach into my Kindle and shake them. They were in love, but I began to wonder if that love was strong enough to get them through this difficult time.
The story really took off at about 30% and I became completely sucked in. The murders were gruesome, but not so much as to turn me off (I’m a gore hound, anyway, but sometimes it’s a little much.). It’s obvious the author did a lot of research into the subject matter…the psychology and police procedures. The plot was nicely thought out and had many layers. There was a lot going on, but I never felt overwhelmed. There were plenty of red herrings, which is great. It kept me guessing right up until the end. That seriously impressed me because I’m usually really good at figuring out the whodunnit. When the bad guy was revealed, I shouted “NO WAY!!” Kudos to the author for this.
Even though there is a romantic relationship between Michael and Nathan, I will say that seems to be second to the mystery. Yes, they had their issues and they were obviously in love, but the men were also busy trying to catch a murderer and Nathan was busy trying to keep Michael safe. There were a few romantic interludes in the book, and maybe three sex scenes tops. When they were focused on their relationship, it was sweet and sexy. Both of our guys were exhausted, physically and emotionally. They were able to offer each other comfort, and I felt that was very important. Pressure can make or break a couple, and there were times when I wasn’t sure if they weren’t going to break.
Now, a few words about the mystery itself. There is not much I can say because I don’t want to give anything away. I can tell you there are three dead women and they’re tied together due to some people they associated with. That’ll pretty much do it 🙂 There are a few suspects and they all could have been the ones to do the deed. Plenty of red herrings and false leads led to some excitement. What I particularly enjoyed, though, was the psychology. Michael had a knack for reading facial expressions and body movements. Also, he was excellent with questions to be asked of suspects. I found all this to be very interesting, and thanks to this book, I’ll be doing some googling to read more about it.
As I mentioned, this is the second book in the series. I suppose you could read this without reading Slow Road To Hell, but I’m not going to recommend it. Some exposition is given, but to truly know Michael and Nathan, you really should read book one. As I said, I enjoyed it very much, and it would make your experience with Dead Feint much richer.
The ending wrapped up nicely, and left me with a feeling of hope for Michael and Nathan. I’m not going to call it an HEA, but I’ll go with HFN. There will be a third book, and who knows what Grant Atherton has in store for them. I highly recommend this one, especially if you’re a mystery fan. I think you’ll really enjoy it. I’m excited to see what book three will bring.