Nick Rugo and Brian Kerr have settled into something resembling in normalcy. Or at least, as normal as any relationship between a disgraced cop and the brother of murderer can hope to find. Brian is working to become independent for the first time in his life. Nick is trying to help him in that endeavor, but their relationship is complicated and it’s been hard for both men to find an equal footing with one another. Adding to their stress are the police who have discovered Brian’s ability to Find people. Nick is his handler, but given that he’s persona non grata on the force these days, the entire situation is fraught with tension.
When the police end up abusing Brian’s skills, nearly killing him in the process, Nick finds himself on the edge of a precipice. He loves Brian and he loves being a cop, but those two things can no longer co-exist. As Brian’s violent brother Damon returns, Nick is forced to choose between upholding the law and keeping Brian safe. And Brian must decide if he stays with the brother, who has both protected and used him, or if he’s strong enough to finally be his own man.
Changes is the second in the Tracefinder series and follows Contact. These books are definitely not standalones and must be read in order. I chose Changes for our Self Published Book Week and, as usual, Kaje Harper does not disappoint.
Brian is a unique character and his ongoing conflict with his alter ego, Bry (which is a very simplistic way to describe the situation), creates a lot of the tension between him and the world around him. Everything is affected and, in Changes, we see him really coming to terms with the man he pretended to be and what he can actually achieve. It’s wonderful to see him come into his own and to put both Nick and his brother, Damon, in their place. Nick is harder to get a grasp on and there are times he seems incomplete or more ill defined when compared to Brian. But his own personal growth is no less compelling and in Changes we see him make some irrevocable decisions about the kind of man he’s going to be.
These characters aren’t just dealing with life and death; they’re trying to find a place for themselves in a world that would rather they simply did not exist. The struggles that Brian and Nick confront feel believable because we’re so invested in them as characters. Even Damon and Lori seem adrift and, despite the fact Damon has always protected his family, we get the impression that he’s struggling in a lot of ways. We have several new characters introduced in Changes and, while they’re a bit extraneous at times, they’re far from one note or lacking in depth.
Ultimately Changes is about Brian and Nick and how far they’ll go to make a new life for one another. This book is driven entirely by its a characters and, while the plot is strong enough, Nick and Brian help elevate Changes above the ordinary. This is a strong follow up to Contact and I’m looking forward to the next in the series, Choices. Consider this one highly recommended.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Self Published Book Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of ten HUGE prize bundles donated by some fabulous self published authors (you can see the full prize list here)! Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by NineStar Press: a Kindle Paperwhite loaded with 50 NineStar Press books! You can get more information on our Challenge Month here (including all the contest rules) and more details on Self Published Book Week here.