Tag Archives: FBI

5 and 4 Stars for Children of Noah (Mahu #9) by Neil S. Plakcy #Murder #MM @MLRPress @NeilPlakcy

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Title: Children of Noah (Mahu #9)
Author Name & Publisher: Neil S. Plakcy (MLR Press)
Publication Date & Length: August 9, 2015 – 231 pgs

Synopsis

A few months after the birth of his twins, openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka and begins a temporary assignment to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Kimo and his HPD partner Ray Donne are quickly thrown into an investigation into threatening letters sent to a U.S. Senator. Are these screeds about racial purity related to an escalating series of attacks against mixed-race couples and families on Oahu?

When arson at a day care center on the Windward Coast brings Kimo’s partner, fire investigator Mike Riccardi, into the case, Kimo worries about the future of his and Mike’s newborn twins on an island falling prey to hate and a cult leader bent on death and destruction.

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Review

FiveStars

I loved this so much!  This is one of the best crime fiction stories I’ve read in a long time.  I’ve finally found a series with a gay protagonist that rivals the best of mainstream bestsellers. I know I’m a little late to the party starting on book 9, but this was absolutely brilliant.

Kimo is a fabulous lead character.  I can’t think of a more complex or engaging character in any series I’ve read recently.  Plakcy has managed to sustain a fascinating character over nine books without the detective descending into the alcohol fuelled self-destruction so familiar in the genre.  Instead of wallowing like Harry Hole or Wallander, Kimo is a foster parent, a partner, a son and he is soon to be a father.  His partnerships are solid, both with Ray, his work partner and with Mike, his life partner.   

It is the story that gives readers a thrill.  Complex, layered and compelling, Plakcy paces his tale perfectly.  Readers are given just enough help to follow Kimo and Ray’s investigation, but never enough to ruin the suspense.  I kept making links to other series in my head.  The storyline reminded me of True Detective – a beautifully written series, but Kimo and Ray are such better characters!

And Hawaii!  Kimo’s island is beautiful, complicated and completely unique.  I love the colourful cast, the easy lifestyle and the blend of cultures.  

I also love the ease with which Plakcy writes Kimo’s non-traditional personal life.  This is not a story full of angst or homophobic government agencies.  Kimo, Mike and Dalton are a family.  Kimo and Mike are co-parenting with a lesbian couple.  Their friends and family accept them unquestioningly.  In a genre full of contrived conflict, Kimo’s relaxed modern life is absolutely refreshing.  

Possibly my only gripe is with the cover.  It looks really dated and doesn’t really suggest crime fiction.  I would hate for anyone to shy away from such a wonderful book because of a dodgy cover.  

A truly fabulous book!

Sarah

 FourStars

I enjoyed this book well enough.  It had some continuity issues throughout, but overall, it was well thought out and well written.

I usually have issues where racial purity is based on religion – it’s just a dangerous topic to write about.  However, Plakcy does a pretty good job.  The mystery is well planned and never gives you more than just a taste so that it is not spoiled half way through the story.

I was somewhat confused with the female character in this story – was she pregnant with her own kids or was she pregnant with Kimo’s kids?  When I am referring to the continuity issue, this is just one example where I was confused.

Overall though, I enjoyed the mystery aspect of this story.

AvidReader

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TWO 5 Star Reviews for 24-Karat Conspiracy (Precious Gems #4) by E.M. Lynley #MM #Suspense @Dreamspinners @emlynley

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Title: 24-Karat Conspiracy (Precious Gems #4)
Author Name & Publisher: E.M. Lynley (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 12, 2015 – 240 pgs

Synopsis

Love is the only gold

Former Ranger turned FBI agent Reed Acton faces his biggest challenge yet: a Christmas visit from partner Trent Copeland’s parents. He’s less equipped to handle hugs and holidays than the Taliban or international art thieves. When he’s assigned to track down a set of gold Babylonian artifacts looted from the Iraqi National Museum after the fall of Baghdad, things start to look up.

This time, Trent’s part of the mission, which takes them to exotic Istanbul. The crowded streets and labyrinthine markets fascinate Trent, but soon murder is on their trail. The investigation continues as Reed goes undercover at a US Army base, with Trent masquerading as his spouse. Surprisingly, fastidious and ever-fashionable Trent fits into base life right away and soon takes one of the suspects’ wives under his wing when domestic abuse rears its head.

Their faux marriage leads Reed to appreciate Trent in ways he never expected, strengthening their bond—until Reed has to confront the worst demons from his past: his relationship with his estranged family.

See Reviews for Rarer Than Rubies (Book One), Italian Ice (Book Two), and Jaded (Book Three)

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Review

FiveStars

Our two favourite international super-sleuths get uncomfortably domestic in the fourth book in the Precious Gems series. Trent’s parents bring Oklahoma’s college football, Christmas sweaters and exuberant affection into Trent and Reed’s stylish LA lives. Later in the book, Reed is forced to confront his own parents for the first time in many years when the couple has to work closely with Reed’s buttoned-up homophobic father while undercover.

Lynley still gives readers an exotic destination as Trent and Reed’s trip to Istanbul is described beautifully. But most of this story takes place in the US, as the couple navigates the perils of a long-term relationship. Over three books, Trent and Reed have survived all sorts terrifying situations. But if Reed really doesn’t do families and Trent really isn’t cut out for life as an army wife, do they have enough in common to survive the mundane realities of life stateside?

This is the funniest book in the series and possibly the most well-observed. Lynley captures her men’s excitement, vulnerability and fear as Trent and Reed transition from lovers to partners. Both sets of parents allow readers unique insights into the men we’ve come to love. This book has slightly less action than we’ve come to expect from this series, but

Lynley’s character and relationship building is brilliant.

Sarah

FiveStars

I loved the fact that the author gave the series a theme. It was fitting. Each story reflected exactly as the title suggests. Another reason to be impressed with this author. I was really looking forward to this 4th installment. I devoured the 3 previous books and could not wait to see how Trent and Reed were doing. This story is just as suspense-filled and captivating with Trent and Reed. It also gave the author the chance to show us just how much the characters had grown. When we met them in the 1st book, Rarer than Rubies, they each had some growing to do. I fell in love with them in the 1st book, because of that insecurity, and chemistry. And lots of hot sex! That is what is so enjoyable about a series, that has a great author writing it, you get to read the character’s maturing, growing in to their own personality. I smiled a lot during this story. I loved the way Trent and Reed treated each other, with sarcasm, humor and sexy seductions. Their love for each other, is really felt through the pages. They were perfect work buddies too. Such strong loyalty to one another. I really enjoyed them both for their separate, interesting personalities. An enjoyable series that keeps your full attention… to the very (happy) end!!!!!
Thank you EM Lynley for creating such an adorable, interesting, and cool couple.
Kimberley

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4.5 and 4 Stars for Jaded (Precious Gems #3) by E.M. Lynley #MM #Suspense @Dreamspinners @emlynley

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Title: Jaded (Precious Gems #3)
Author Name & Publisher: E.M. Lynley (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 22, 2013 – 250 pgs

Synopsis

Gay-romance writer Trent Copeland finds his life in a rut while his boyfriend, Special Agent Reed Acton, is away on an undercover mission. After attending a special course at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Trent’s eager for another challenge. He jumps at the opportunity for a trip to Japan to oversee appraisals of two art collections to be sold at the gallery he co-owns. But the trip isn’t all cherry blossoms and Hello Kitty. When one of the collectors he meets—rumored to be the head of a Yakuza gang—turns up dead, Trent is accused of the murder and thrown in jail.

Reed drops everything to help find out who really committed the crime. He’s in unknown territory in Japan, forced to navigate Tokyo’s sex underworld to unravel the truth and save Trent. He poses as a “host” at a seedy late-night club. When Reed’s undercover activities place him at a ruthless Yakuza leader’s sex party, he must be willing to go to any lengths to secure Trent’s safety and freedom. But trusting the wrong people brings both Reed and Trent to the Yakuza leader’s attention. If they’re ever to have a happy ever after, they’ll first have to call on every skill just to stay alive.

See Reviews for Rarer Than Rubies (Book One) and Italian Ice (Book Two)

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Review

FourandHalfStars

This is my favourite book in the series. Japan is served up in exquisite, exotic detail. We learn much more about Trent’s life and get to see more of the people who are most important to him. Trent is confident with a whole set of previously unknown skills and contacts in the art world.

Reed enters this story after Trent is arrested. Undercover without Trent, Reed battles attraction to another man with honesty and a self-awareness not demonstrated until this book. Once again, Trent and Reed’s skills and personalities contrast and compliment brilliantly.

Jaded has another slightly chaotic plot. Once agin, I don’t think it’s possible for readers to solve the mystery alongside the characters as several important clues are provided only after the action has finished. Like Italian Ice, it is never very clear which characters can be trusted and which characters are plotting against Reed and Trent. I love the suspense this adds to the story and the complexity with which supporting characters are developed.

I feel that Lynley’s writing improves with each book. I love the way Trent and Reed’s characters continue to develop as their relationship matures.

Sarah

FourStars

Again, this author impressed me with every attention to detail. I am fully invested in this couple. The author pulled me in with her words and Trent and Reed are fully embedded in my heart. I NEEDED to know how they are doing and what suspense awaited in the pages. The author did not disappoint. It was a bumpy, sexy ride and I held on with both hands.. well, most of the time 🙂 Like I have mentioned in all my reviews, the details, they just blow me away!!! Can’t wait to read the next one, 24-Karat Conspiracy.

Kimberley

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TWO 4 Star Reviews for Italian Ice (Precious Gems #2) by E.M. Lynley #MM #Suspense @Dreamspinners @emlynley

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Title: Italian Ice (Precious Gems #2)
Author Name & Publisher: E.M. Lynley (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 1, 2012 – 290 pgs

Synopsis

In this exciting sequel to Rarer Than Rubies, gay romance author Trent Copeland and former FBI agent Reed Action head to Italy for a Roman holiday. What should be a relaxing and romantic vacation is interrupted when Reed’s not-so-former boss asks for his help with a case. Trent’s shocked to discover in the six months they’ve been living together in LA, Reed hasn’t been completely honest about his “retirement.”

Reed heads for Sicily on the trail of a suspected antiquities-smuggling ring and to find Peter Isett—a former FBI partner he also hasn’t been completely truthful about. Stung by Reed’s dishonesty, Trent questions what else Reed might be hiding. But when he overhears something that tells him Reed’s life is in danger, Trent follows Reed to a remote chain of ancient volcanic islands off Sicily’s northern coast. Soon Trent is caught up in the smugglers’ web, and Reed must decide between his heart and his mission—a decision complicated by his past with Peter. Reed’s position is perilous: unless he can learn to put the past behind him, he risks destroying everything he’s built with Trent.

See Reviews for Rarer Than Rubies (Book One)

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Review

FourStars

Italy is beautiful, the food is magnificent and Reed and Trent are irresistible in the second Precious Gems book.

The men become true partners here, with Trent proving himself independent and very capable. Reese and and Trent are starting to work together and Reed is finally starting to value Trent’s skills.

Once again, the plot is pretty difficult to untangle as the story unfolds, but this time I understood everything by the time I finished the book. The villains are written more clearly as fully developed characters in this book and I enjoyed trying to work out which characters were friends and which were enemies in Lynley’s cast of shady secondary characters.

This was a well-crafted, exciting story featuring two wonderful lead characters that I’m growing quite attached to.

Sarah

FourStars

The writing was still impressive. The attention to details this author provides is incredible. You can tell by her writing that she knows what she is talking about and you are captivated by the story. Nothing is perfect and what I enjoyed about this story was that the author didn’t give them a sugar-coated relationship. Trent and Reed had real and valid difficulties in their relationship and that just endeared them to me even more.  It was a sometimes heart-breaking but enjoyable Journey with our two Hero’s! And very happy to have the next one in the series, Jaded!!

Kimberley

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4 and 3 Stars for Rarer Than Rubies (Precious Gems #1) by E.M. Lynley #MM #Suspense @Dreamspinners @emlynley

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Title: Rarer Than Rubies (Precious Gems #1)
Author Name & Publisher: E.M. Lynley (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 23, 2012 – 214 pgs

Synopsis

When Trent Copeland runs into Reed Acton at a Bangkok airport, he thinks the handsome American is too good to be true. Why would someone like Reed be interested in a quiet, introverted gay-romance writer? After all, even an obvious tourist like Trent can see that there is more to Reed’s constant unexplained appearances in his path than meets the eye.

Reed Acton has one mission and one mission only—he needs to get the map that was accidentally slipped into Trent’s bag and keep the mobsters who want the priceless artifact from taking deadly revenge. Trent Copeland is a delicious and damned near irresistible diversion, but Reed can’t afford distractions right now, especially if he wants to keep Trent safe.

From Bangkok’s seediest back alleys to the sacred north, the two men will fight to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and learn that the only treasure worth finding is… each other.

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Review

FourStars

This was my first time reading EM Lynley.  I LOVED….loved …loved the details the author provided about this whole journey.  As you are reading, you can picture every aspect in your mind. The attention to detail is captivating. It was a sexy, suspenseful Journey with Trent and Reed, that will keep your heart pounding until the very end. I couldn’t put this down and was very happy to have the next one, Italian Ice, at the ready!!!!

Kimberley

ThreeStar

This is the start of Trent and Reed’s journey, the moment when the romance writer and the undercover agent collide in Thailand.

I don’t think this is the best book of the series by any means. I found the character development sketchy – both men remain types, almost caricatures – Trent is a rich, high- maintenance Hollywood clothes horse while Reed is shady, resourceful and very butch. The men’s trust issues and relationship baggage become a little bit tedious over the course of the story.

Thailand is described beautifully. EM Lynley’s descriptions of the ambiance, climate, scenery and food are wonderful. But where the country comes alive, the plot remains wooly. I struggled to follow the action sequences and still didn’t fully understand what had happened by the time the characters had their fact clarifying conversation at the end of the book.

So this book is the start to a great series, but I didn’t feel it was a great story on its own. in later stories, Lynley’s characters become more appealing and her plots become more intriguing. Read this as a series introduction, but please don’t discard the series because of this book.

Sarah

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4 Stars for Six Degrees of Separation by Taylor V. Donovan #MM #Adventure @taylorvdonovan @Dreamspinners

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TitleSix Degrees of Separation (By Degrees #2)
Author Name: Taylor V. Donovan (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 22, 2015 – 350 pgs

Synopsis

FBI team leader Samuel Shaughnessy and bar manager Machlan O’Bannon are exploring a new phase in their non-relationship. The intention is to take it slowly, but power plays are still their favorite activity, and it isn’t long before lines begin blurring. After ending their friends with benefits agreement, no rules are left in place to guide them, and soon the only thing that’s clear is that neither man is fighting hard enough to reestablish the boundaries.

Their situations haven’t improved in the three months since their first encounter. Sam is still focused on his immediate family issues, and everything indicates Mac will have to go to war with his own family before he can reclaim his freedom. The last thing they need is additional complications.

But when the opening of a nightclub brings Mac to New York City and a break in the Leviticus investigation leads Sam to Houston, they discover how closely their worlds have been connected from the beginning. Hiding from the life-altering collision is not an option. They can take the easier road and go their separate ways or come to terms with their pasts and take a chance on each other.

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Review

FourStars

I probably should have started at the beginning of the series but I still really enjoyed this second story on its own. Agent Sam Shaughnessy and his team are still tracking the serial killer they’ve called Leviticus – and he is still killing gay men.

Sam’s lover, Mac, and his friends become entangled in Leviticus’ game as the agents rush to find the killer. I loved discovering the connections between each of the separate characters over the course of this book. But each connection also revealed the characters’ connections to Leviticus.

Sam and Mac’s relationship is fantastic. The book starts with the relationship being formally re-defined, but Mac still has secrets and Sam doesn’t let anyone too close – so this relationship will never be easy. But the chemistry is amazing and the sex is very hot.

A few new characters and connections were added in this book and I’m interested to see how things spill into the next book. I love the complexity of the Leviticus case and I’m excitedly anticipating the next installment.

Sarah

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