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