Dr Edward R Newton is new to Auckland Med and Detective Mark Knight cannot stop flirting with him. Well, Mark is known to flirt with all the men, but Mark wants to ruffle the buttoned up forensic pathologist. Even though the doctor prefers to be called Ed, Mark is determined to get to the man any way he can, so Edward it is. But Mark doesn’t do relationships and Edward doesn’t do casual.
Edward knew he needed a change of scenery, but this latest move wasn’t easy for him. He’s not opposed to a relationship, but he likes to take things slow and responds best when he truly has a connection with his partners. Mark Knight, however, gets to him like no other but Edward has kept to himself for so long he’s not even sure how to go about letting anyone in.
Mark thinks that Edward is way out of his league, but there is way more to Edward than a suit and tie. The men can’t avoid each other, even if they wanted to, as dead bodies find them working together to solve a murder. When Edward finds an unexpected match between two cases, it sets off a dangerous chain of events that have the men hiding out together and there’s only so much chemistry the men can take until they give in.
Up Close and Personal follows along with the Auckland Med series. Edward is the doctor that works in the hospital and Mark is the detective that reluctantly has to watch an autopsy Edward performs. The hospital connects the series, as well as Mark being close friends with the MCs from previous books. Edward and Mark have crossed paths over the last few months and they have definitely noticed each other. Mark has a reputation as being a player and that is not at all what Edward wants to get involved in, except every time he sees Mark, he can’t seem to shake him from his thoughts.
I have read all of Hogan’s books and the characters and relationship development are what appeal to me most about her style. This story opens with a dead body and both men being called to the scene and then moving to Edward’s office. The men get under each other’s skin in the best of ways and, on the surface, there is an undercurrent of dislike. The men appear different, but underneath they are more alike than they know or even want to know. They both have reasons for not wanting to get close and it’s a slow burn for these men to admit what they want and talk it out between them.
A good portion of the story is then a murder mystery and the men being in danger and this part didn’t come together nearly as well for me. The detectives appear surprised at first when things don’t add up or people, both alive and dead, get caught in lies. And as that part of the story progressed, it struck me mostly as poor police work.
The middle of the story got weighed down for me. The case is linked to renewable energy and there is some scientific talk mixed in that wasn’t compelling enough to move this story forward for me. The case itself and the victim weren’t overly engaging, the bad guys stood out, and their finale earned several eye rolls for their overly basic approach. Also, to connect this story to the series, Mark has several internal monologues at seemingly inconvenient times to alert readers as to how he knows the other characters. These went on a little long for my tastes and were awkwardly placed for the context of the story. Then there were the injuries that were severe, but barely incapacitated the men as the story moves on.
These guys have a slow burn and when they finally connected, there was a lack of fire for me and their foreplay had much more spark. The previous book in this series was a great read for me, but this one didn’t hit all the same notes overall. Still, this series and this author appeals to me and I will look for an upswing on the next book.