West Coast Forensics: Real Trouble – Elle Keaton
Two men on opposite sides of the law: will they be able to set aside their differences and trust love?
Danylo Peters has issues, lots of them. He’s not on Piedras Island by accident, he’s not a nice guy, and Peters isn’t his real name. Dany’s in hiding, trying to escape his family’s influence and start a new life. But Dany must have been born under a bad sign because the very man he’s really running from is one of the first he runs into.
A new life in a new town seemed like the right decision for Soren Jorgensen, especially after a difficult case left him recovering from a gunshot wound and lonely as he’d ever been. Finding Dany living on Piedras brings back all the feelings he’d tried to lock away. He’s angry and bitter and Dany is not going to continue to get away with his old tricks. Too bad Dany is just as compelling as he ever was.
The two men find themselves on opposite sides of Soren’s first case on Piedras, but neither is able to deny the attraction between them. They keep finding themselves in compromising situations; if they’re found out there will be Real Trouble.
Real Trouble is set in the Veiled Intentions world, while familiar characters appear Real Trouble can be read as a standalone. Real Trouble is a dual POV following Soren Jorgensen and Danylo Peters as they fight their way to their HEA and is the first in the new West Coast Forensics series.
I love how Elle Keaton keeps bringing us back to Piedras Island, part of the real life San Juan archipelago in Washington. The first time I’ve known this place in Veiled Intentions was through the rather grim eyes of Niall Hamarsson, It felt like such a bleak place then. It slowly revealed to be a charming vacation town the longer Niall hung around his now husband, Sheriff Mat Dempsey.
This summer hotspot is not without its darker side. Yet another local was found murdered. With the newly married sheriff and his private detective husband away on their honeymoon, it’s up to the new deputy, Soren Jorgensen and island native, Deputy Birdy Flynn to solve this case.
They also had to investigate the fire that damaged a landmark hotel. To Soren’s shock, he saw the last person he expected to see working as the hotel’s new chef. His ex, Danylo Petyr a.k.a. Dany Peters. Suspect in the fire incident and member of a notorious crime family.
Dany’s history is tied to events in the other books. In an effort to leave his sordid past behind, he moved to the island under an assumed name. He’s now a hardworking, talented chef. Still as headstrong, troublesome and goddamn alluring as Soren remembered.
The deputy is a stoic, taciturn, gentle giant Dany likes to poke and provoke. The two were sorta together some years back. Dany disappeared after Soren was shot by Dany’s cousin. As their paths crossed again, they found the flames still burned hot even with the old hurts, the anger and the bitterness.
They might not be favorites or that memorable, I still found Soren and Dany likable, individually and as a couple. Their relationship development might not be that strongly established given that they had more page time apart than together. And they weren’t really communicating properly. However, their shared past already gave them an insta-connection. That, plus the swirling mix of intense emotions that drew them together convinced me that these two were meant for each other.
A huge chunk of the story is devoted to the case. This is the type of mystery where I don’t particularly care who had done it, I just liked tagging along with the detectives because the author made it enjoyable to do so. The investigation took me around Piedras. The setting was familiar and comfortable yet still offered new avenues to explore.
This opener has the same vibe as its sister series. It’s written in a straight forward style that kept the plot constantly moving. I really liked that even without the flash and bang, the book was consistently engaging. It’s filled with characters that felt like old friends and new ones I want to know better.
Fans of the author’s other series, Accidental Roots would recognize Soren and Danylo immediately. I haven’t read that series yet but I had no problems following their backstories. Although, I do think some readers might feel like they’re dropped in the middle of a story because of the many established characters and some references to events in the author’s previous works. I recommend starting with Veiled Intentions first.
Real Trouble did a great job as a police procedural. It has a second chance romance that’s good enough for me to root for. It’s also an engrossing story about small town camaraderie, family ties, building friendships, honesty, setting new roots and becoming a better person. All in all, it’s worth the trip.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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