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    REVIEW: The Left Hand Of Calvus by Ann Gallagher

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    Former gladiator Saevius is certain Fortune’s smiling on him when a Pompeiian politician buys him to be his bodyguard. That is until his new master, Laurea Calvus, orders Saevius to discover the gladiator with whom his wife is having a sordid affair. In order to do that, Saevius must return to the arena, training alongside the very men on whom he’s spying. Worse, he’s now under the command of Drusus, a notoriously cruel—and yet strangely intriguing—lanista.

    But Saevius’s ruse is the least of his worries. There’s more to the affair than a wife humiliating her prominent husband, and now Saevius is part of a dangerous game between dangerous men. He isn’t the only gladiator out to expose the Lady Verina’s transgressions, and her husband wants more than just the guilty man’s name.

    When Saevius learns the truth about the affair, he’s left with no choice but to betray a master: one he’s come to fear, one he’s come to respect, and either of whom could have him killed without repercussion.

    For the first time in his life, the most dangerous place for this gladiator isn’t the arena.

    This novel has been previously published under the pseudonym L.A. Witt, and has been lightly revised.

    INTENSE!

    The Left Hand of Calvus is an extremely well-written and tightly woven story of a gladiator involved in “a dangerous game between dangerous men” against his will. Authored by Ann Gallagher, also known as L.A. Witt, it oozes USTs without the MC, Saevius, fully understanding what was happening and with nary a sex scene in sight. People might complain about the lack of steam but I am the type who can happily live off USTs alone so this novel is totally my jam.

    And it’s not just tension of the sexual kind that is tight. There is constant threat to life and limb and Saevius was perpetually walking on razor’s edge. As a gladiator and essentially a slave, he had no choice but do anything his masters tell him to do. He was told to spy on his fellow gladiators both by Calvus and Drusus, albeit for different reasons. A slight misstep could get him killed by either masters and/or his fellow gladiators and he had to survive on fighting skills and wits. As a veteran fighter, Saevius was nothing if not a survivor and I enjoyed seeing him outwit and outlast hostile elements from his first person perspective.

    The author did a great job with the historical aspect giving many interesting details about gladiator life in and out of the arena, one of which was that it’s okay for rich married women to bed these fighters but it’s a big no no for them to sleep with a citizen or free man. This fact was cleverly utilized in the story. I also liked how 78 AD Pompeii came alive without overwhelming the reader with tons of info.

    The mystery sounds simple but executed with enough suspense and surprises to keep me glued to the book. Calvus suspects his wife was sleeping with somebody from Drusus’ ludus (house), who might or might not be a gladiator, and wants to put an end to the affair to save his reputation. Drusus, on the other hand, wants to find out who might potentially be another Spartacus. With both masters demanding complete loyalty, it was Saevius’ strange attraction to Drusus that tipped the scales.

    Seen through the eyes of the gladiator, Drusus was, for the most part, a mystery but damn was he intriguing! He’s cold, cruel, calculating and something else. I totally get why Saevius was drawn to him without actually knowing much about the person. And while the book is not really about romance, the romance kind of sneaks up on you in that delightful slow burn way. Then BAM! came that big twist which I never saw coming. The best part of it all was that Saevius was super cool about the whole thing. What a sweetheart! The only problem with twists like this is that the hashtag is a spoiler so I’m not putting a tag on it.

    I haven’t read that many gladiator stories but I think The Left Hand of Calvus is one of the best ones out there. The story is short, gripping and fast-paced. It just grabs you from the start and keeps you enthralled. If you like twisty historical stories about battle-scarred warriors grappling with impossible situations, this one’s for you.

    P.S.

    Other L.A. Witt books here

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Escape
    Artist: 30 Seconds To Mars
    Album: This Is War

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    Review: Falling Sky Duology by L.A. Witt

    I didn’t have much expectations when I went into this, other than it’s L.A. Witt. Her specialty is stacking the odds so high it seems impossible for the MCs to be together. Then by some miracle she brings them together in the most delicious way.

    In the Falling Sky Duology, betrayal was what kept Liam Lansing and Daniel Harding apart. The need to survive and change the world was what bought them together. Everything in between was bullets, explosions, death-defying heights and one father hell-bent on having his son killed.

    The books are a seamless blend of action, sci-fi and paranormal. They’re a great example of unputdownable reads that hit the ground running full speed. It’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll be picking up that second book right after the first.

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    1. A Chip In His Shoulder – L.A. Wit

    “Contract killer” is a fitting job for a vampire, and it suits Liam just fine. Cast down from the wealth and status of the Sky for taking a human lover, Liam lurks in the poor and pollution-choked Gutter, killing to survive. Between his natural strengths and his Cybernetix mods, no mark has ever escaped him. 

    Liam’s ex-lover Daniel is the heir to Cybernetix—and its greatest threat. Horrified by people less man than machine and the exploitation of Gutter factory workers, he’d rather destroy Cybernetix than inherit it . . . if his father doesn’t destroy him first. 

    Years of anger and a heap of mods have kept Daniel and Liam apart. When Liam is hired to slaughter a man in his glass Sky tower, he walks right into a Daniel-shaped trap. Daniel’s father has betrayed them both, and only by working together can Daniel and Liam survive the coming day. They have no reason to trust each other, but as the dawn looms, a bargain that began with the simple urge to live soon reminds them of the love they once shared. Can they find each other again, or will the Cybernetix assassins find them first?

    A Chip In His Shoulder is told from Liam’s POV. He receives a call from Daniel’s father contracting him to kill his son. Liam does not want to pass up on the opportunity to kill the ex-lover who betrayed him so he said yes.

    The thing is, the blurb for the first book is spoiler-ish. I’m glad I went into this blind so the twists were quite effective. Obviously, had I known about the set-up beforehand I would have different expectations but I would still be curious how L.A. Witt would make it work since we all know Liam and Daniel would get back together again. It wouldn’t be MM if they didn’t.

    I loved how she did it!

    There was a standoff and words were exchanged.

    “Oh, fuck you Daniel. Why don’t you come down off your goddamned high horse for a minute. I mean, do you have any idea what it’s like to be in hell and hold that person who fucked you over might give enough of a shit to at least try to save you?”

    “Probably feels a lot like finding out the man you still love is willing to fucking kill you.”

    Bam! Crackle and zing all over the place!

    And then Daniel shot Liam.

    Thankfully, it’s didn’t end there. More shots were fired, a heart pounding car chase and suddenly Daniel found himself somewhere he thought he would never be.

    This is a short book so things happened fast. The tension was tight from the get go and the suspense never let up. The world building flowed smoothly along with the action with just the right amount of details to feel complete and build the foundations for the next book. I was completely hooked on the story. Daniel and Liam’s second chance romance was a beautiful thing to witness and they’re now up there on my fave couples list.

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Falling Sky
    Artist: Red
    Album: Of Beauty And Rage

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    2. Something New Under The Sun – L.A. Witt

    Liam Lansing is heir to a prominent family of bio-modified vampires. That is, until he chooses the wrong lover and is cast down to the Gutter to scrape for his life. 

    Daniel Harding is heir to Cybernetix and a prince of the corporate Sky. That is, until his ideology drives his father to put a price on his head, forcing him into the Gutter. 

    But Daniel and Liam won’t vanish meekly into the smog. Together, they plan to rip open the hidden corruption that runs the Sky—for vengeance, for justice, and for hope. They strike against the corporations in a daring raid. When everything goes wrong, Daniel must betray his core beliefs to save the man he loves and protect his dangerous secret. Only through courage in the face of death—or worse—might he and Liam change the world they live in and create something new under the sun.

    Something New Under The Sun continues Liam and Daniel’s struggle to take down Daniel’s evil father. It picks up 24 hours after the events of the first book. Liam takes Daniel to meet his friend, Gizmo, the tech genius who gives him his mods and Daniel takes Liam to meet other members of his anti-mod movement, Venus and Felix. With their help they plan a strategy to obtain the UV mod and other evidence of Cybernetix’s corrupt practices.

    The UV mod is something that can give vampires immunity to sunlight. The company is withholding its release in order to get more research funding from the vampires. They are also creating a virus that is harmful to vampires and then plan to create a solution to a problem they invented. All of these to bleed vampire wallets dry.

    There is also the problem of unethical working conditions of workers from the Gutter who work in mod factories that the anti-mod movement wanted to stop. Since Cybernetix is one of the biggest tech factories, taking them down is the way to go.

    This was as thrilling as the first book, perhaps even more so. The stakes are higher, the couple will need to infiltrate the company headquarters. They needed to sneak into Cybernetix not just once but a couple more times. First to steal the UV mod, second to get a passcode and third to rescue a hostage close to Daniel’s heart. It was one heart pounding moment after another and the close calls were too damn close.

    I loved that this is written in Daniel’s POV because we can see how badass and cocky Liam really is. Daniel, who has fear of heights, struggled to keep up, but he came through 101% when Liam needed his help.

    This was almost non-stop action from start to finish so their downtime was even more precious. I usually skip sex scenes but Liam and Daniel’s moments were short but beautifully written and you can really see their love for each other shining though. I like that their romance was compelling but didn’t take over the story.

    Like most LAW stories, it felt like our MCs would never get peace, much less an HEA with all the explosions and mayhem she threw their way. But Liam and Daniel were nothing if not resilient and they manage to claw their way into a position that can bring Cybernetix down. It was one hell of a fight and the peace that followed made it all worth it.

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Begin The Begin
    Artist: R.E.M.
    Album: Life’s Rich Pageant

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Blood & Bitcoin by L.A. Witt

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    Criminal Delights: Organized Crime: Blood & Bitcoin – L.A. Witt

    Chris Emmett has a talent for screwing up and landing on his feet. As a SEAL, he managed to evade bullets and court-martials alike. As an FBI agent, he dodged danger and disciplinary action—right up until he didn’t.

    With his career and freedom hanging in the balance, he’ll do whatever it takes to clean the slate… including an off-the-books deep cover solo mission. 

    The objective: infiltrate the Hive, a complex crime syndicate operating on the dark web, and find out who’s trying to kill Piker, the organization’s enigmatic and strangely alluring Mob boss. 

    The moment he’s pulled into the Hive, Chris enters a world where no one is what they seem, including the man he’s there to protect. Lines blur between moral and wrong, legal and criminal, ally and foe, and—as Piker’s seductive magnetism draws Chris in—straight and queer. 

    Chris is running out of time to stop a killer. He has dangerous feelings for a dangerous man, and the deeper he moves into the realms of modern day organized crime, the less he knows and the fewer people he can trust.

    And that’s before he learns the truth about Piker’s assassin.
    ————
    This 104,000 word book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance. For other books in the collection, please see: 
    Criminal Delights Listopia

    Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

    L.A. Witt and Michael Ferraiuolo is my favorite author/narrator combination. With them at the helm, you’re almost always guaranteed a thrilling experience.

    Blood & Bitcoin was one hell of a ride but one that didn’t go full throttle the way I wanted it to. This is by far, the lightest among the dark offerings of the Criminal Delights series. The characters make many morally grey decisions and ‘the end justify the means’ actions but as emphasized by Chris, it is for the right reasons. Which is all good because, yeah these are people we can root for but sadly not what was advertised in the blurb aka it needed more blood.

    Also, there were moments where I just about had enough of Chris getting caught one too many times. And Piker forgiving him yet again and again and again. Oh, just shoot him already!

    I absolutely love Piker! The man is lethal and mesmerizing as fuck. His effect on both men and women is palpable. I could definitely understand why Chris was so drawn to him. Michael Ferraiuolo’s Piker voice is really spot on and the slight exotic accent added to the crime lord’s enigmatic appeal. His past remained a mystery throughout the entire book. He’s so mysterious we don’t even get his real name.

    Chris I liked less. He was too reckless. He was bumbling his way through the missions. I don’t know if he is just extremely lucky but his unorthodox methods worked somewhat. It helps that he got more chances than most people would dare ask from a Mafia boss. He and Piker play a dangerously exciting game of Golden Retriever & snake. Who bites who first? And for that matter, are we even sure who is the dog and who is the snake?

    Although the chemistry and USTs between Piker and Chris were always a tantalizing hair trigger away from snapping, the romance needed a little more boost. Majority of the book, it was just mostly sex for them which is meh. But the last quarter of the book made up for the missing feels and convinced me their HFN would eventually be HEA.

    The part about the bitcoin was info dumpy but did not majorly hinder the story. The Hive also got me intrigued about the dark web which I only learned from some hoaky Youtube videos. I’m hoping for a sequel where we get to learn more about Piker, his hacker friends who form The Hive and see if Chris learned to be circumspect.

    Notwithstanding my complaint earlier about the book not being dark, in itself, Blood & Bitcoin is a very enjoyable suspense/thriller. It does not let up on the action and the twists and turns will keep your adrenaline running on high. There were many ever changing threads to unravel and identities to uncover. I had some inkling about Piker’s father but The Big Twist completely caught me off guard. That was, DAMN!

    I recommend Blood & Bitcoin for those into stories about people with the right intentions doing it the wrong way.

    P.S.

    Other Criminal Delights books:
    Only The Devil Knows (review here)
    Devil Next Door (review here)
    Wrong Way Home (review here)

    Rating:
    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: In For The Kill
    Artist: La Roux
    Album: La Roux

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    REVIEW: If The Seas Catch Fire by L.A. Witt

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    If The Seas Catch Fire – L.A. Witt

    Sergei Andronikov was a child when the Mafia wiped out his family, leaving him with nothing but a hunger for revenge. Years later, through ruthless strategy and tireless patience, he’s a contract killer working for the three families ruling Cape Swan… and he’s nearly in position to bring them all down from the inside.

    Domenico “Dom” Maisano is Mafia royalty, a made man… and a hitman. He’s caught up in a violent life he can’t escape, struggling to maintain an image he doesn’t want, and suppressing desires he can’t have.

    A chance encounter throws the killers into each other’s paths. Though Dom knows he’s playing a dangerous game, he’s intrigued and keeps coming back. Sergei can’t resist him either—Dom is everything he set out to destroy, but he’s also everything he’s ever ached for in a man.

    Then Sergei gets the contract he’s been waiting for—the hit that promises to bring the town’s Mafia to its knees.

    But when a capo makes an unexpected move, Sergei must choose between dropping the hammer on the families he vowed to annihilate, and protecting the man he swore he wouldn’t love.

    And the wrong choice—or even the right one—will destroy them both.

    I picked this up because I specifically wanted to listen to Michael Ferraiuolo. I went in blind and came out awestruck . It was so good!

    First of all, I was delighted to discover that the main characters were an assassin and a mafioso. I love stories with these kinds of antiheroes and double the thrill that this is a love story between the two.

    Sergei and Dom met in less than ideal circumstances, parted ways then met again because Dom couldn’t stay away. At first it was just for sex then the arrangement became something of an emotional lifeline for the two men desperate to escape a situation where the only time you get out is when you are dead. The book painted a good picture of the struggle Sergei and Dom went through. It was pretty much gutwrenching. It was such a convincing no-way-out scenario that I half expected the ending to be tragic. The only guarantee this ends happily is this being MM.

    Sergei saved the day with his resourcefulness and quick thinking. The man is deadly as fuck. Dom was the most reluctant made man there is. He had no choice because his uncle, the don, effectively traumatized him to submission. Dom was also his uncle’s personal hitman. Thing is, he is really just a gentle soul so even though he was bigger than Sergei, he could learn a thing or two about intimidating a target from the smaller man. They were supposed to kill each other but the chemistry between the two hitmen were off the charts. The enemies to lovers aspect was executed really well here.

    If The Seas Catch Fire is a book about people with guns so violence and death are a given. It was described as dark, but although there were scenes of torture, I felt it didn’t cross over to the disturbing territory. However, the protagonists make morally gray decisions so if you are not comfortable with these kinds of characters, this might not be the book for you.

    Author L.A. Witt impressed me yet again with her story telling. The twist and turns, the gritty atmosphere, the heartbreaking family situations and intense scenes all came together in a powerful emotional rollercoaster that I have come to associate with her angstier books. She makes her characters go through so much shit that I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up dead. How Sergei and Dom pulled it off was pure suspense. It was almost perfect but of course, something had to go tits up and there was a very close call so boy, was I relieved to see them miraculously survive!

    I had a great time with this book. It’s a winning combination of good writing and outstanding narration so I recommend experiencing If The Seas Catch Fire in audiobook form.

    P.S.

    I also recommend other L.A. Witt books, the riveting Bad Behavior series, review here, and the fluffier, To My Future Number 1 Fan, review here.

    Rating
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Slow Burn
    Artist: David Bowie
    Album: Heathen

  • Uncategorized

    They spoke three languages between them, and there weren’t enough words to convey what they’d take to the grave, what they’d had a chance to taste before fate inevitably closed in.

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    Bad Behavior: Romantic Behavior – L.A. Witt & Cari Z

    Detective Andreas Ruffner is no fool—he’s found a man who loves him, puts up with him, and has stuck with him through hell and back, and it’s time to put a ring on it. Darren Corliss is the love of his life, and he wants the whole world to know it.

    Now the fun part—the wedding!

    Well, after the not-so-fun part of planning the wedding in between dealing with overbearing and impossible-to-please family members. With future mothers-in-law driving them both up a wall, the guest list growing out of control, and the wedding getting ever more complicated, Darren and Andreas have to wonder if they’re in over their heads.

    But they’re going to make it to the altar if it kills them … and at this rate, it just might.  

    YES!!!

    Andreas finally found the nerve to put a ring on it but the process of getting through the preparations was as tough as one of their cases. As long as it ended up with him and Darren being married to each other, neither of them tried to complain. Everybody is happy for the couple and Emily is excited to be the flower girl but Andreas’ mother is another story.

    I am ecstatic they’re making it official! After what L.A. Witt & Cari  Z put them through last time, I would riot if this doesn’t end happily. Luckily Romantic Behavior gave the boys their much deserved happy ending.

    CONGRATULATIONS!

    P.S.

    Review of Bad Behavior books here.
    Review of L.A. Witt books here.

    Rating:

    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Milk and Black Spiders
    Artist: Foals
    Album: Holy Fire

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36291125-romantic-behavior)

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    Bad Behavior: Reckless Behavior – L.A. Witt & Cari Z

    After too many years of putting his job first, Detective Andreas Ruffner is getting his priorities straight. He’s ready to spend some quality time with his adult kids, not to mention come clean about some things he should’ve told them a long time ago. And introduce them to his partner and boyfriend, Darren Corliss.

    But in a heartbeat, a family dinner turns into Andreas’s worst nightmare. When the dust settles, one of his kids is hurt, and the other three have been abducted.

    Andreas is going to find his kids, and nothing, not even a broken ankle, is going to stop him. Thank God for his sharp, level-headed partner … who has a crisis of his own pulling him away when Andreas needs him the most. As both men try to support—and lean on—each other, they get no closer to finding the kids. And the longer the children are missing, the less likely it is they’ll ever be found.

    If I thought the last case was tough, this one was heartbreaking! L.A. Witt & Cari Z made the boys go through hell.

    It started with Andreas and Darren having dinner with Andreas’ kids, Erin, Ben, Casey and Emily with Andreas introducing Darren as his boyfriend and dropping the HIV bomb. Ben took it well but Casey needed more time to process it. After dinner, the girls went for a bathroom break and Ben and Casey went to their car. Next thing Andreas heard were gunshots and a car crash, then his ex-girlfriend Lisa was panicking because the girls were missing.

    From then on, the story went on a relentless pace that had me feeling exhausted for both Andreas and Darren. Andreas was still nursing the broken ankle he got from the previous case and he can barely walk. It didn’t stop him from taking the lead in the investigation because heaven help anyone who gets in his way.

    This abduction case took all they got. Andreas and Darren barely had any sleep. The boys were pushed to their limits but even as tragedy struck they kept pushing back. Andreas would have probably lost it but Darren was his rock. The case highlighted how much they have come to mean to each other and how solid their relationship is. I love the Han Solo shoutout!

    One good thing that came out of this was that their fellow cops rallied behind them albeit somewhat grudgingly since Andreas and Darren were still on their blacklist. Even Internal Affairs was moved.

    Family bonds is a key theme in the book and even though the case was a nightmare, there remains a strong feeling of love, care, devotion and dry humor to lighten things up. Andreas’s family remained close and Andreas is friends with both his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend who in turn were both supportive of his relationship with Darren. Andreas kids were amazing and tough, especially Erin who, despite Andreas’ reputation, has endeared herself to everyone at the police station when she started working there as an intern. She gave them a much needed break on the case. I hope she follows her dad’s footsteps because she makes a good cop. Darren’s mom and stepdad also gave much needed support to everyone even though they themselves have to deal with grief. The main antagonist himself was motivated by familial ties. 

    Both Risky Behavior and Suspicious Behavior were awesome reads but Reckless Behavior stood out as being the most personally case the Andreas and Darren had dealt with. The boys suffered dead ends, setbacks and personal tragedies but throughout all these they remained strong. The execution of the plot was practically flawless, the characterization and writing were on point. Michael Ferraiuolo expertly wrung out every emotion from every word.The hopes and frustration, exhaustion and pain, the terror and suspense and finally the relief and peace. It was beautiful!

    P.S.

    Review of Risky Behavior here.
    Review of Suspicious Behavior here.
    Review of L.A. Witt books here.

    Rating:

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Afraid of Everyone
    Artist: The National
    Album: High Violet

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35611965-reckless-behavior)

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    Bad Behavior: Suspicious Behavior – L.A. Witt & Cari Z

    Detective Darren Corliss is hanging by a thread. In between recovering from a near-fatal wound and returning to work at a hostile precinct, he’s struggling to help care for his ailing brother. His partner and boyfriend, Detective Andreas Ruffner, wants to help, but doesn’t know how. And with his own family crises brewing, Andreas is spread almost as thin as Darren.

    For cops, though, life takes a backseat to the job. When a stack of unsolved homicides drops into their laps, Andreas and Darren think they’re unrelated cold cases. But when a connection surfaces, they find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again.

    Except they’ve got nothing. No leads. No suspects. Just a pile of circumstantial evidence and a whole lot of hunches. Time is running out to stop the next murder—and to pull themselves back from their breaking points.

    Phew! Our boys can’t catch a break. What with the hostility from their peers, Asher’s rapidly worsening Alzheimer’s,  Andreas’ family trouble and a serial killer on the loose.

    Narrator Michael Ferraiuolo continued to impressed me with his delivery. He was not only reading, he was really acting. I love the small but effective touches he added, like the sniffling, the coughing, the little laughs. It gives an extra something to the narration. Really awesome!

    This is another addicting case to follow and I liked L.A. Witt & Cari Z’s take on the serial killer trope. Usually, it takes the entire book to uncover who the serial killer is. In this case, they know who the killer is, they just had a devil of a time proving it. Their evidence were all circumstantial. 

    The case proved to be a very frustrating one. They were sure their main suspect was it but life threw them curve balls and red herrings which nearly broke Darren’s confidence. Ironically, it was Andreas who remained optimistic. Their strategy was out of the box and as was their way, involved bending the rules slightly. It was great to see Andreas and Darrin evolve into a power couple, both personally and as working partners. They have developed a sort of telepathic connection where each of them instinctively knew what the other was thinking. This kind of bond usually takes years to form but Andreas and Darrin just synced really well. 

    The climax was full of suspense and fraught with great danger that was compounded by the fact that the other detectives continued to hold grudges with Andreas and Darrin. Detective Paula Morris, Andreas’ loyal friend and one of the best characters of the series, played a crucial role.

    Although the story was still written in dual POV, I think this was a slightly Darren-centric story. He had to deal with brother’s condition and the possibility that he too might have the gene. He was also the one making major conclusions on who the serial killer is. In addition, we get to know more of Andreas’ background and family life and witness Darren squeeing at Andreas interacting with his four year old daughter, Emily.  

    Suspicious Behavior, the second book of the Bad Behavior series, moved Andreas and Darren’s relationship forward, dealt with the repercussions of their first case and showed that they can handle cases outside narcotics.The workaholic pair were tenacious in their pursuit of case and weren’t afraid to get creative with the rules. It was only when they broke their bones were they forced to have that much needed break.  Overall, the plot was gripping with cleverly written twists and turns and major arc and character developments all around. 

    Love it!

    P.S.

    Review of book 1, Bad Behavior series, Risky Behavior here.

    Rating: 

    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Deep Red Bells
    Artist: Neko Case
    Album: Black Listed

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34998102-suspicious-behavior)

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Risky Behavior by L.A. Witt & Cari Z

    Bad Behavior: Risky Behavior – L.A. Witt & Cari Z

    It’s day one of Darren Corliss’s career as a detective, and not only has he been assigned a notoriously difficult partner, but the guy might also be a pill-popping dirty cop. Internal Affairs needs proof, and Darren gets to be their eyes and ears whether he wants to or not.

    Detective Andreas Ruffner doesn’t play by the rules, and he doesn’t play well with others. With bodies piling up and a list of suspects who are way above his pay grade, the last thing he needs is a wet-behind-the-ears kid for a partner. Or babysitter. Not even if that partner is easy on the eyes.

    As Darren gains Andreas’s hard-won trust, they both realize there’s more than just mutual suspicion simmering beneath the surface. But their investigation is heating up as quickly as their relationship, and Darren has no choice but to go along with Andreas’s unorthodox–and borderline unethical–methods. As IA puts the squeeze on Darren to give up the man he’s falling for, he has to wonder–is Andreas the only cop left in this town who isn’t dirty?

    Declaring this week Bad Behavior Week because Andreas and Darren happened…

    I didn’t expect to like Risky Behavior as much as I did. This is also my first listen to Michael Ferraiuolo and boy, did he knock it out of the park!

    Majority of crime stories are solving serial killings, which I enjoy but then again, just how many serial killers are there in the US? On a refreshing note, Risky Behavior is about busting a drug gang whose connections go all the way to the top. Detective Andreas Ruffner thought himself a lone wolf out to take down this corruption. He was saddled with Darren Corliss, a rookie partner aka babysitter because Internal Affairs thinks he has something to hide. 

    Andreas is an asshole to most people. He trusts no-one. He has his reasons. Darren knows he has to earn that trust and though he was the younger of the two, he wasn’t a doormat. He was up for the challenge. The two didn’t get along at first. Both found the other attractive despite being at odds with each other on their first meeting but I love how L.A. WItt & Cari Z handled the development of their relationship. They had both characters playing it cool and most importantly, keeping it professional. Until they noticed the other one noticed. And then it slowly evolved into trust and a partnership, in both sense of the word, in a very convincing manner. It was so good I’m not even bothered by the almost 20 year age-gap.

    The rest of the cast were great characters. Not all of them were likable but the combination of the authors characterization and Michael Ferraiuolo’s delivery made all the characters stand out. It reminded me of the cop shows I used to watch. I could imagine Bad Behavior as a drama series and the supporting cast would be those characters actors who always look familiar but you don’t know the names of.

    Jamie Bamber as Detective Andreas Ruffner

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    Dean Geyer as Detective Darren Corliss

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    The case is one hell of a hook, keeping me glued to the story for hours. For this part alone, I would recommend the book to mystery/crime fiction lovers who might or might not be into MM. The case was complicated and challenging with widespread repercussions for the entire city. No wonder Andreas was willing to do everything to crack the case. Darren earned his stripes by quickly learning to play the game and sticking his neck out. The two men go against Internal Affairs and government authorities, and make unholy alliances with unlikely individuals. Riveting stuff!

    Risky Behavior is a very well-written police procedural story with great characters and cunning twists and turns. Add to that the brilliant narration by Michael Ferraiuolo and you got yourself a winner! 

    P.S.

    Review of L.A. Witt books here.

    Rating:

    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Honest Town
    Artist: Simple Minds
    Album: Big Music

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33411778-risky-behavior)