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    REVIEW: Pros & Cons Of Deception by A.E. Wasp

    43697802. sy475

    Pros & Cons: Pros & Cons of Deception – A.E. Wasp

    FIVE JOBS. FIVE CHANCES FOR REDEMPTION. One thing’s for sure: these men are no angels.

    There’s nothing like being blackmailed by a dead man to really bring a group of cons together. The deal is simple, we do the jobs and Charlie’s lawyer wipes the slate clean for each of us, one at a time.

    Job number two lands right in my lap. I’m Bond. Wesley Bond. (I can’t resist saying it that way. Blame my dad, if you can find him.) You could call me a hacker. I redistribute wealth – moving it from rich slimebags to poorer but infinitely more deserving people – and make a tidy profit as I do.  My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to bring down some modern-day slave traders.

    I definitely choose to accept it.

    With the life of the one person in this world I love on the line, I can’t afford any screw ups or distractions. Unfortunately, my biggest distraction is my biggest asset – Danny Monroe. Danny is a leftover complication from our first job; a victim of the vicious senator we’d gotten locked up. He’s a smart, funny, gorgeous, ex-prostitute, who can’t seem to keep his clothes on. I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut around him. But I need a fake boyfriend, and Danny is the only option.

    Fooling the world into thinking we’re in love will be easy; fooling myself that I’m not might be impossible.

    We don’t know who the bad guy is, we have no idea how to prove anything. There’s no internet on the island, no cell service, and i’ll have only the bare bones of my gear. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to need all the help I can get.

    Like it or not, we’re all in this together.

    Pros & Cons is an MM version of Oceans Eleven / Leverage where a group of men with ‘special skills’ were gathered posthumously by the late Charlie Bingham, information broker and con-man extraordinaire. He ‘persuaded’ them into doing certain ‘assignments’.

    Charlie’s boys:

    Leonard ‘Leo’ Shook – The FBI agent goes undercover as a bartender. Had conflicting feelings about Charlie. Didn’t know whether to arrest him or ask him out. Last we know of Leo, he was getting cozy with the ‘interested party’ a.k.a Al over the phone. Hmm…
    Carson Grieves – Plays the part of a Spanish-speaking groundskeeper. Still not much is known about the man. Though he’s comfortable enough with the guys to go around without make-up. Has hinted on having a very lonely life when younger but that’s about it. Argh! I need your book, Carson!
    Ridge Pfiefer – Can salsa so he gets to be the dance instructor. Oho! Him and that Davis Ethan guy! Thief and diplomatic security, interesting combination. I guess they’re next.
    Wesley Bond – Poses as a tech billionaire on vacay with his boyfriend. Not much of a hardship there but unfortunately for him, all his hacking genius and social engineering skills couldn’t stop the inevitable: falling in love with Danny
    Castille ‘Steele’ Alvarez – the bodyguard and ex-soldier disguised as a child minder. Promptly built a child army. I liked him and Brekkie better in this book.
    Breck ‘Brekkie’ Pfiefer – the younger Pfiefer twin had to spend most of the time winging it with broken toilets as the maintenance man. Proudly showed off his toolbelt to Steele who lost no time admiring it
    Danny Munroe
     – Breckkie’s bff had to play Wes’ fake bf. All he had to do was smile and be charming. Easiest job of all, right?

    Charlie’s angels:

    Miranda Bosley – the lawyer popped up now and then but not much page-time for her. Too bad
    Josie DuPont – our international woman of mystery worked her magic in the kitchen and in the open seas. A literal lifesaver. Can’t do without our Josie.

    The second job involved cracking the case of a shady guest worker program in an island resort. Wes takes point but couldn’t use his hacker skills in the bat cave because the island had no internet connection. The gang flew in and infiltrated the resort disguised as workers while Wes and Danny pretended to be a couple.

    One misanthropic hacker redistributing wealth could only do so much, but I was more than that now. I was part of a team. Sometimes even the good guys had to fight a little dirty. Sometimes, to bring the truth to light, you needed to employ a little deception.

    Game. On.

    Wes is my favorite next to Carson. He’s a digital Robin Hood, who steals from the rich and distributes the money to various charities. That’s why he never gets caught. He’s skilled at manipulating people behind his computer screens. Face to face though, his foot is constantly in his mouth. And poor Wes seems to have a special talent for pissing Danny off.

    Danny came out to his parents at 17 and was kicked out of the house. He was forced to work as a rent boy in order to survive and was rescued by the gang along with Breck two years later. I loved how Danny managed to still see the good in people despite what he had been through. It makes a good contrast to Wes who was more jaded. The attraction between them started in Pros & Cons of Vengeance. Everybody knew it was only a matter of when. Wouldn’t be surprised if they started making bets.

    Romance was at the forefront, touching upon the age-gap and fake boyfriend tropes. Since this involved two people I really liked, I feel more invested in it. And I was pretty happy with how it was done.

    I’m guessing it’s a thing with this series that it’s going to be heavy on the relationships and light on the heist. It’s easy to forget they’re on a job with all those umbrella drinks and spa treatments. I hardly thought about it too until 75% in when things went FUBAR and adrenaline started pumping. After that, it’s one big suspenseful moment after another. Danny’s life was on the line and he’s on his own.

    There’s one thing that bothered me: the coms. I totally hated the fact that everybody could hear EVERYTHING over the coms. It’s used as a gag to butt in whenever things get steamy between couples. It was funny the first time it happened to Steele and Breck but after that, ewww!

    As predicted, I liked Pros & Cons Of Deception better than the first book. What it lacked on con procedural it more than made up for the lovable characters and their endearing connections. There so much growth in terms of characters and relationships. The group synced really well. Their banters kicked the book up a notch. They’re slowing becoming good friends whether they’ll admit it or not. Makes me wonder what they would do when the jobs are over. Is Leo going to arrest them? Noo!

    More importantly, this sequel was just much more entertaining overall now that the set-up was established and the series hits its stride. I hope A.E. Wasp keeps the momentum going for the rest of the books.

    Also, for the love of god, Wes, FIX THE COMS!


    Book 1, Pros & Cons Of Vengeance review here

    Pros & Cons is best read in order. We owe it to Charlie.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Love Hope
    Artist: PIL
    Album: That What Is Not

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Pros & Cons Of Vengeance by A.E. Wasp

    43606374. sy475

    Pros & Cons: Pros & Cons Of Vengeance – A.E. Wasp

    *FIVE JOBS. FIVE CHANCES FOR REDEMPTION. One thing’s for sure: these men are no angels.*

    There’s nothing like being blackmailed by a dead man to really bring a group of cons together. And what a group we are: a hacker, a thief, a con artist, a thug, and a Federal agent with an axe to grind. The deal is simple, we do the jobs and Charlie’s lawyer wipes the slate clean for each of us, one at a time.

    Since job number one calls for some muscle, it looks like I’m up first. I’m Steele Alvarez, ex-Special Forces Close Protection Specialist (aka, a bodyguard for some not so nice guys).

    After learning what the job is — taking down a seemingly untouchable senator with a penchant for beating up young male prostitutes — I’m in. No questions. A bullet ought to do the trick.

    Then I met Senator Harlan’s latest victim: Breck Pfeiffer, the gorgeous hooker with a heart of gold and the soul of a fighter. One look at him and I’m gone. That kid laid me out harder than any punch ever did. I’ll do anything to protect Breck, even kill for him. But Breck doesn’t want the senator dead, he wants vengeance.

    If we’re going to find a way bring down the slimebag and get the blackest mark on my record erased, I’m going to need all the help I can get.

    Like it or not, we’re all in this together.

    Pros & Cons is an MM version of Oceans Eleven / Leverage where a group of men with ‘special skills’ were gathered posthumously by the late Charlie Bingham, information broker and con-man extraordinaire. He ‘persuaded’ them into doing certain ‘assignments’.

    It all became clear to me at that moment what Charlie’s ultimate motivation had been. These weren’t personal vendettas or petty crimes he wanted to be solved. He wanted justice, the kind he couldn’t get from inside the system

    The first book, Pros & Cons of Vengeance, did a good job setting up the series and introducing the cast. I might not like George Clooney but I definitely love Charlie’s boys.

    Leonard ‘Leo’ Shook – an FBI agent who’s been on Charlie’s tail for ages. I’m betting good money him and the mysterious ‘interested party’ will be hooking up soonish, maybe 5th book. And I think I know who that ‘interested party’ is.
    Carson Grieves – a man of a thousand faces. The most mysterious person in the group. He’s so mysterious no one even knows his real name, age or accent. He always blends in but in this group of ridiculously good-looking people, he stands out for being plain. My favorite character. Can’t wait for his book.
    Ridge Pfiefer – a thief. Kind of grumpy. The twin I liked better
    Wesley Bond – hacker and master of all things tech. Social engineer. He’s my second fave.
    Castille ‘Steele’ Alvarez – hitman, bodyguard and ex-Army Ranger. Doesn’t get along with Ridge but thinks Breck is adorbs.

    Then we have Charlie’s angels:

    Miranda Bosley – tough lawyer, executor of Charlie’s will and not someone you mess with
    Josie DuPont – international woman of mystery and jill of all trades. Can cook the best Mexican dishes. Teaches a class on underwater demolition. Also, not to be mess with. I think she and Miranda might be occasional bedmates.

    The ex-hookers with a golden heart:

    Breck ‘Brekkie’ Pfiefer – Ridge’s younger twin. Fell into Steele’s lap and was happy to stay there
    Danny Munroe
    – Breck’s friend who was dragged into the group and promptly adopted. He and Wes had that ‘I’m pissed at you because I like you dammit‘ thing going on. I’m going to love their book, I know it.

    Steele takes point in the first assignment. They were to bring down a corrupt evangelical senator who preaches against LGBTQ but hires and abuses rent boys whom he sleeps with and uses to blackmail influential people by secretly recording them while they do the dirty. Two of these boys were Breck and Danny.

    Steele was instantly attracted to Breck the moment he saw him but unfortunately they’re the two people in the group I’m least interested in. I have no complaints about them, I just didn’t really care much so I left them in peace a.k.a tune them out when they weren’t talking about the case.

    The book is written in both MCs’ POV, except for the prologue and epilogue which were in the ‘interested party’s’ and Leo’s perspectives. The premise immediately grabbed my attention with a plotline that was made for movies. A big part of the story was the romance, this is MM afterall, but I did wished there was a little bit more heist in it.

    The job is what I’m all about. Like in most heist novels, careful planning is the key. The fun part was the execution. I was keen on watching their elaborate scheme unfold because it’s going to be very satisfying to witness them destroy the bad guy. They’re pulling out the big guns at the end and boy, did Brekkie had his moment!

    But it was the ensemble cast that really made the book shine. Each character brought something special to the table, both in skills and personalities. I liked how each of them was given ample page-time without them taking over Steele and Breck’s story. I loved the humor, the dialogues and the grudging camaraderie of the group. Like all the best teams, they have that kind of charismatic dynamics that drew you in and kept you in. The kind that makes you go, ‘adopt me please!‘ A.E. Wasp did a fantastic job with these characters.

    Overall, Pros & Cons Of Vengeance was a fun, entertaining ride that succeeded in making me look forward to future capers. Recommended if you like cons, shenanigans and other creative ways of bringing the (other) bad guys down.

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Vengeance
    Artist: The Nipple Erectors