REVIEW: Risky Behavior (Bad Behavior #1) by 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?
Dear L.A. Witt and Cari Z,
I enjoy books packed with action, I am happy to read them even if they don’t have gay romance in it, but of course a romantic storyline is always a nice bonus to me so I was unable to resist clicking on your book.
The blurb mostly gives you the correct set up. After doing several years as beat cop twenty-eight year old Darren is ready to start his career as a detective. He is assigned to be a partner to Andreas, who has been on the force for twenty years, who seemingly cannot (and does not want to) keep a partner to save his life, and whom Internal Affairs has suspected of being a dirty cop for years even though they haven’t found anything on him. The Internal Affairs guy tells Darren to report anything he finds suspicious about Andreas. Darren and Andreas’ boss is either powerless to stop this arrangement or chooses to go along with it.
The book is narrated by both Andreas and Darren and we quickly learn that Andreas’ previous partners were also asked to spy on him, which is a big reason why he prefers to work alone now if he can help it.
The two have a rough start as partners but they are also attracted to each other. I thought the attraction part was well done, both men seemed to find the other attractive, but their brains did not switch from their jobs to constantly thinking about the other person. If we are to have the attraction at first site, that’s how I like it to happen. Professionally, Andreas still does not trust Darren and Darren is just not sure what to think.
Then they are assigned to their first case, and lo and behold Andreas does something that the blurb would probably call “borderline unethical” and I would call illegal (planting heroin in the apartment of low level drug dealer), Andreas wants this dealer to become an informant, after which he will put him in witness protection.
Surprisingly, Darren decides to trust his partner and not report what happened during the raid. I say surprisingly because he seems to buy Andreas’ explanation that he is not dirty, rather he is trying to catch really corrupt people and the correct methods were not working. All right then.
Andreas was speaking the truth. Some time ago he stumbled on unimaginable corruption which included city officials, judges, cops, you name it. People who were supposed to protect and serve were involved and apparently he decided that for a good, noble purpose some breaking of the rules was justified because it was the only way to catch these people.
I really liked the twisty action part of the plot – when the guys were investigating, their mind was primarily on the job and the corruption amongst the people of power went very deep and very high. I was entertained. But I have to note that I feel that it is fair to emphasize how much I disliked Andreas’ “borderline unethical methods”.
I feel that the writer of the blurb was getting too cute with this description – Andreas’ methods were not “borderline unethical”, they were very much illegal. For a good purpose everything goes, really? Okay fine, this case was unusual in the sense of what Andreas and his partner were up against, it is REALLY tempting to think that in this case his “bending the rules” (let’s be honest, he was breaking the law) was justified. But why the heck would he ever stop planting evidence in a suspect’s house or not “roughing up” his suspects if it worked, especially if he is so convinced that legal methods were not working?
I think the writers really missed a chance here to characterize somebody really complex, someone who is reflective and knew that for the sake of catching Big Fish and Smaller Fish he became like them in his methods. Andreas could have decided to do better next time around even if his purpose was achieved through illegal means. Of course I realize that here I am talking about the story that was not written, so its absence has no bearing on my grade, but I was just really disappointed in the character. The ultimate irony was that in the end the Internal Affairs guy was completely on his side (as he should have been, because his targets were involved in these horrible activities), but we know that Andreas has plenty of reasons to get his ass terminated and he knows it himself.
“Darren’s eyebrow rose. “‘ Informal interrogations’?” “Sometimes the end justifies the means.” “Right.” He drew back slightly, and the uneasiness in his eyes was palpable. I sighed. “Listen, no matter what IA or anyone else has told you, I’m not a dirty cop. Yes, I’ve done some things that could get my ass terminated, if not shot in a back alley. I’ve roughed up suspects when no one could hear us. I’ve threatened people. I’ve—” “Bought heroin from kids so you could arrest someone on false pretenses.” “Yeah. But do you understand now why I did that?” He stared down at his hands as he tugged a stray thread on his sleeve. “I get it. But goddamn, Andreas. There’s lines, you know?” “There are. And I tried to walk those lines for a long, long time.” I paused. “I’m not a dirty cop. You’ve got to believe me, Darren.” “You need me to trust you.” I swallowed. “Yes. I need you to trust me.””
The romantic storyline was secondary, as I said getting into bed was not on their minds all the time, and there was not much sex in the book. This made perfect sense to me because their investigation was their top priority. I liked how it was handled.
Now, I do realize that the book says book one on the cover, so it could be that Andreas will do some growth in the next book BUT I have no idea if the second book is even going to be about them or a completely different couple and for that reason I am presuming that this is the end of their story. If that’s not the case, then I will reevaluate later on.