Monday, July 21, 2014

CROSS & CROWN by Abigail Roux

Publisher:               Riptide Publishing            
Published:               June 9, 2014
ISBN:                     978 1 62649 132 8
Genre:                   Mystery, Romance, M/M
Book Format:          E-book
Obtained via:          Publisher
Reviewed by:          Helena Stone,

Rating:                   5

This is the second Sidewinder story.

The crime couldn’t have come at a worse time. With his boyfriend and former Recon Teammate Kelly Abbott about to join him in Boston, the last thing Nick O’Flaherty needs is a crime to investigate. For a short while he’s under the illusion that things are going to be fine; there’s a surviving witness to the crime. When Nick discovers the man suffers from amnesia and doesn’t even remember his own name, never mind the crime, Nick knows he should just have applied for vacation time.

Almost immediately Nick’s hands are more than a little bit full. Getting Kelly to assist him on the case means they at least get to spend time together, but that time is fraught with danger.
The witness is being followed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman who seems to have his own reasons for wanting to get his hands on ‘JD’ as Nick has decided to call him. To complicate matters further, JD appears very attracted to Nick and Nick finds it hard to ignore that attraction.

It soon becomes clear that the roots of their mystery lie in the past. And they’re not the only ones looking for answers. After several attempts on their lives Nick is forced to turn to old enemies for support and answers.

This is going to be a completely spoiler free review. Apart from the three paragraphs above I won’t be saying anything else about the story-line. Trust me, you want to read this book with as little prior knowledge as possible.

I have quite a few things I want to and can say though. Let me start by stating that I loved the story and find myself getting more attached to Nick and Kelly with every book they feature in. In fact one of the things I liked best about this book was the opportunity to get a better insight into these two men and the way they are together. Much as I adore Ty and Zane, I relished this time with Nick and Kelly. I am grateful that these two and the relationship between them, are very different from Ty and Zane. Nick and Kelly have known each other for years, have faced death and trauma together. This gives their relatively new relationship a depth most couples would only achieve after years together.

The mystery in this book was fascinating and well plotted. I was intrigued from the very first page and held my breath as the story unfolded and secrets were revealed.

History plays a huge part in the mystery in this book and I was fascinated by it all. It is clear the author has a deep love and endless amounts of respect for historical fact. Her depth of knowledge (or research) gives this story the ‘this might actually be true’ quality that always gives books added value for me.

As I’ve come to expect, there is an endless amount of humour in ‘Cross & Crown. My husband gave me numerous quizzical stares when I burst out laughing while reading. When Abigail Roux writes dialogue I can hear the characters voices and imagine their facial expressions even when they’re not described.

“No ID, no memory, shot in the head in the middle of a gunfight outside a robbery of a used bookstore. What. The. Fuck.” – Nick

The banter between Kelly and Nick had me smiling and laughing on numerous occasions.

“Romantic, but are you sure this isn’t just a history nerdgasm you’re having right now?” – Kelly

While the depth of their feelings for each other was swoon-worthy.

“I love you (...). Has nothing to do with the circumstances, or our history, or how close to death we’ve come together. I would love you in any incarnation of yourself.” – Nick

My final quote is from Julian Cross. I’ve come to like this enigmatic man more with each subsequent book he appeared in and enjoyed encountering him again here, even if he was more of a secondary character in this story. His calm in the face of pending disaster and his wry sense of humour never fail to impress me while a glimpse of his more vulnerable side made him that much more relatable.

“If you would let me finish before you get your knickers in a twist, this would be easier.” – Julian Cross

This really is all I can say about this book without spoiling the story. I could easily have turned this review into a love fest featuring lots of detail. For the sake of those who haven’t read the book yet I won’t. Some books are best read without any prior knowledge. I’ll just end this post by saying that I can’t wait to see where Abigail Roux will take the story and her characters next. Needless to say, where ever that may be, I’ll be close on her heals.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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