the family man coverRating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Tracey Smith has just started as a rookie agent with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. Along with his team, Tracey will use his psychology and analytic skills to help build a picture of potential suspects to aid local law enforcement. Tracey has barely arrived at his new office when the team is called to St. Louis to help with an investigation into a sniper terrorizing the city.

Jon Anderson leads Tracey’s team and is one of the best in the business. His ability to get inside a killer’s head helps him see the crime in unique ways, and Jon is beyond dedicated to his job. So when he finds himself unexpectedly drawn to Tracey, Jon is wary. Getting involved with a co-worker is off limits, particularly given that Jon is the team lead. But something about Tracey just seems to soothe parts of Jon that are plagued by nightmares and darkness.

Tracey is surprised to find himself drawn to Jon, especially since he has always identified as straight. But his attraction to Jon makes it clear to Tracey that he definitely is into men, and the pair can’t resist acting on their attraction, even if they both realize nothing more can come of it. But with a killer on the loose, Jon and Tracey don’t have time to focus on the personal. As they begin honing in on a suspect, the killings continue and the situation in the city gets increasingly tense. But when the sniper turns their eyes toward Tracey and the team, their lives may be on the line as well. Now, Tracey, Jon, and the other agents must do all they can to stop a killer before it is too late.

The Family Man is the first in A.J. Rose’s new Mind Hunter series and it is off to a great start. This is an exciting thriller focused on a team of FBI agents out to help catch a sniper terrorizing St. Louis. I found the suspense side of things incredibly compelling and I was totally drawn in to the investigation. Rose does such a nice job really giving the reader a front-row seat to the case as we watch Jon, Tracey, and their team work to figure out who is behind the killings. The work the Behavioral Analysis Unit does is really fascinating and I felt so drawn in seeing how they put the pieces together and watching how their minds work as they start to hone in on the killer. I have no idea how authentic this is, and Rose notes at the beginning that they took some liberties in terms of making these folks more on the ground investigating than they would likely be in real life. But as a reader, the details are so well done that I felt like I was following a real investigation. There is just something about watching smart, clever people work that comes together so nicely here. The case is exciting and intense and it all culminates in a really thrilling conclusion.

On the personal front, Jon and Tracey are both drawn to one another almost right away. It is definitely a surprise for Tracey, as he has never recognized his interest in a man before. The biggest complication for the guys is the fact that they are co-workers and Jon has a mentor relationship with Tracey. Given their work dynamic, as well as the fact that they are in the middle of a complex murder investigation, both men want to keep things casual, particularly as they have to keep the connection between them a secret. Jon also has some demons he is struggling with in terms of his darker side that helps him get in the heads of the criminals. Something about Tracey brings an unexpected peace to Jon and the two connect in ways neither anticipated. Of course, the men find that as they get more involved, feelings are coming into play that they didn’t expect and they have to figure out how to move forward. This is the first in a series and I think we get to a good place for Jon and Tracey here, while still leaving lots of room for their relationship to develop over future books. But we end things on a nice HFN that works well.

I found this story really well done and I was completely caught up in the investigation. I was just really fascinated watching these folks work and I think Rose adds a great sense of authenticity to the suspense side of things. I am really looking forward to more from this series.

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