Rating: 2.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Criminal profiler Leo Reeves has been hand-picked to join an elite FBI team based in L.A. Armed with some serious credentials and a long list of cases he’s helped solve, Leo’s ready to meet his new team. His first day on the job doesn’t disappoint. Leo’s new teammates each have pedigrees as highly specialized as his own, and not a few are former members of the military. The one person Leo will have to watch out for is Max Prince. Not only does Max’s comportment attest to his military experience, but everything from his sense of humor to his smoking hot body sets Leo on fire. And the last thing Leo wants is to fall headfirst into a romance his first day on the job, let alone with a new colleague. It wouldn’t just be unprofessional; Leo’s got serious baggage that would make any potential partner—romantic or professional—wary. Specifically, the fact that his own father was a famous serial killer.

Max Prince prides himself on having excellent work ethics. When a new case involving a gruesome murder gets picked up by his team, he’s all business. Or he would be if a new profiler hadn’t joined the team. Now, Max’s attention is divided between the horrific details of the active case and the deliciously sexy details about Leo Reeves’ life. Max knows mixing business and pleasure is generally a non-starter and tries hard to master his errant libido. That becomes nearly impossible when he and Leo get voluntold to do some reconnaissance that requires going undercover at a BDSM club. The costumes and the Dom/sub roles make it impossible for Max to contain his passion for Leo. Even better, it seems Leo’s been fighting the same attraction. And with any luck, their undercover jaunt will garner their team the intel they need to take down a ruthless killer or two almost as fast as it will cement their budding romance. 

Prince of L.A. is the first book in the FBI Files series from author Patricia Logan. It’s a contemporary, quasi-procedural with a heavy focus on Leo and Max’s attraction/relationship. The story is broken down into chapters, but the narrator is not noted. Generally, I don’t mind unspecified narrators. In Prince of L.A., however, flipping between Max and Leo’s POVs can happen within a single paragraph. The most notable confusion happened when Leo and Max and Max’s dog, Bruce, were all in a scene and I couldn’t tell whose shoulder (man or dog) was being patted by whom (Max or Leo). 

Overall, I wasn’t very into this story. It felt like the two biggest themes, the crack FBI team and the attraction between Leo and Max, clashed. In very broad strokes, the plot builds up a very disturbing serial killer/trafficking case and the romance paints the two MCs as a pair of men who struggle to keep it in their pants regardless of the situation. Even the procedural stuff felt uncomfortably free. For example, on Leo’s first day at the office with this team, he’s going out with Max to follow up on leads in a murder case. Mid-week, he goes shopping for BDSM attire during work hours so he’s properly dressed to go undercover at a BDSM club that night. And by the end of the week, he’s with the team literally taking down the bad guys. This felt extremely accelerated to the point of being farcical. And there was the day where (again, all within the first week) Leo gets to return his rental on company time, which turns into lunch out with Max and that ends with the two of them spending the rest of the day at home fucking. Maybe this is how it really is for the elite at government institutions, but it was really hard to see these apparently elite agents going about business with no intel, no real planning, and a lot of free time to (sometimes literally) fuck around.

Speaking of fucking, I was confused by the way Leo’s and Max’s attraction plays out on page. There seemed to be a few attempts at getting Leo or Max boxed into an unrequited trope. Max fears Leo is a homophobe at first; Leo is worried Max is actually still in love with his ex-wife. All the while, the instalust is turned up to eleven. It felt like these two couldn’t be in the same room with each other without eye fucking one another. For example, when Leo finishes telling Max another FBI agent died in his arms, he is also noticing “a fire in [Max’s] light green eyes that looked so much like raw male interest in his features, it took his breath away.” So often, Max looks at Leo or Leo looks at Max and suddenly, they’re having sexy thoughts and almost popping wood. All while things get hotter and heavier in a serial killer case. (To be clear, they’re not getting off on violence at all; it’s like the whole murder situation is completely shoved aside so these two can appreciate how hot the other one is.) There was a token effort from both characters to keep things professional. But that usually got tacked on after one or the other of them spent a few moments opining on the other’s sheer hotness or brief fantasies about having sex. But even that “restraint” only lasted until they go to the BDSM club “undercover” for a night about halfway through the book.

These characters were incredibly attractive looking, but I didn’t really like them as people, even though they’re the “good guys.” They felt shallow to me, but part of that might be purely from the tone of how they and the rest of the team interact with one another. One big nope from me was how excited the whole team gets about the prospect of killing the bad guys. Not capturing. Not bringing to justice. Killing. I was also unenthusiastic about how it seemed like any character with FBI/military ties was somehow this golden unicorn of awesome and anyone who wasn’t FBI/military was just “less.” Like the medical examiner, who gets referred to by her first name despite the credentials needed to get the job and her being kind of good at it. She was, apparently, a bitch and therefore doesn’t require recognition of her skills. Likewise, Max really seemed to fault the mother of his deceased son for being manic depressive—like it’s her fault she’s got this diagnosis. Later, we learn that Leo, Ph.D. holder in psychology and professional profiler, cannot keep his cool even when it may risk their mission. All the hotness in the world couldn’t save these MCs from being red flags or hot messes in my eyes.

From one element to the next, the whole book just felt jumbled. There’s hyper dedication to describing what this team of FBI agents does in terms of action. Yet the two FBI MCs will shove all that aside to ogle each other and more. The hyper compressed timeline certainly didn’t help. I counted about three days cover to cover, but one of the MCs mentions a whole week had passed. There were plenty of reminders from Leo or Max that they were moving fast, but it was all just so much lip service in the end. Personally, I didn’t feel like these characters fit their roles. I also didn’t enjoy what I perceived as a lot of passive negativity that targeted people outside the MCs and their immediate circle. But maybe people who are diehard fans of law enforcement or procedural stories, or people who love it when characters are so into each other, murder and mayhem won’t stop the sexy thoughts, may get more into this story.

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