REVIEW: Murder and Mayhem by Rhys Ford
Dead women tell no tales.
Former cat burglar Rook Stevens stole many a priceless thing in the past, but he’s never been accused of taking a life—until now. It was one thing to find a former associate inside Potter’s Field, his pop culture memorabilia shop, but quite another to stumble across her dead body.
Detective Dante Montoya thought he’d never see Rook Stevens again—not after his former partner falsified evidence to entrap the jewelry thief and Stevens walked off scot-free. So when he tackled a fleeing murder suspect, Dante was shocked to discover the blood-covered man was none other than the thief he’d fought to put in prison and who still makes his blood sing.
Rook is determined to shake loose the murder charge against him, even if it means putting distance between him and the rugged Cuban-Mexican detective who brought him down. If one dead con artist wasn’t bad enough, others soon follow, and as the bodies pile up around Rook’s feet, he’s forced to reach out to the last man he’d expect to believe in his innocence—and the only man who’s ever gotten under Rook’s skin.
Dear Rhys Ford, I have a complicated relationship with your books – I have read quite a few of them, but I got so tired of the extent of brokenness many of your characters demonstrated that I had to stop reading them for a while. I love me some hurt/comfort, but I realized that if I want to continue enjoying your writing I need to do in small doses. The blurb of this book, though, hinted at the redemption of the bad guy and I found it on Scribd, so I could not resist. Do I regret it? Not really, but I definitely had issues. And yes, Rook is a broken guy, but he was not nearly as broken as some of the guys in your other books, and he was not a victim of sexual assault, which I *really* appreciated.
As the blurb tells you, Rook is one of those thieves who will steal things but never kill people. When the book begins he is not a thief anymore, he has become an honest shop keeper. The only problem is that there is a dead body in his shop and the cops have arrested him as their main suspect. He found the body after all.
One of the cops, Dante Montoya (yes there are jokes about his last name in the book), has a very explosive history with Rook. A few years ago Dante and his former partner tried to catch Rook for theft, but they could not, and his partner was so upset that he tried to frame Rook for something he did not do and it did not end well for Dante’s former partner.
Oh, and one night they almost had sex in a club. It remains a debatable subject whether Rook knew who Dante was in all that darkness. Thank goodness that at least Dante did not hide all of this past history from Internal Affairs, and early in the book he shares it with his new partner Hank, who seems to be kind and supportive. Dante’s Captain is supportive too. To be honest with you, I would have liked him to be a little less supportive and take Dante off the case, but of course we cannot have that. At least the captain expresses his desire to do so, but in the end he does not do it. Dante knows he wants Rook, Dante has a bad history with Rook, and Dante continues to investigate this case. But at least Hank (Dante’s partner) makes a wise suggestion for Dante not to get into Rook’s pants until he is cleared of the murder charges. And I appreciated that Rook is at least cleared of being a murder suspect early in the book (around thirty percent of the story on my kindle). However, he remains a vitally important figure to the case – dead bodies keep piling up around him and it begins to look more and more likely that the murderer has at least something against Rook (personally or not remains to be seen).
So one of the lead detectives on the case is involved with a former suspect who is now a person who could become a victim. I know it is not a new plot device, but it such an annoying plot device to me all the same. Here, let’s hear from Dante’s partner again:
“Someone hit him with a car? Okay, so let me get this straight. Yesterday he was exonerated of murder, shot twice –“
“Not badly. But definitely creased.”
“Whatevers. More shot than I’ve ever been, and I’m walking around with a fucking gun. “ Hank waved away Dante’s interruption. “He then sneaks out of the hospital he’s supposed to stay in because he’s got some serious control issues, where he gets hit by a car on the way to a hotel he’d picked out years ago to rabbit to in case things went to shit for him. Got sick because he hadn’t eaten anything, then called you? Do I have that right?”
“Pretty much. Okay, I called him. But he’d been ignoring everyone before that”. He nodded. “From there, I took him to the ER, where they said he was fine but needed watching. Then I took him over to a hotel without insects living in its walls.”
“Where you fucked him senseless”. Hank’s laugh guttered in his belly. “Jesus, are you trying to get thrown off this case?”
So this pretty much says it all. Oh and of course we have passionate sex right out of the hospital because he was not that hurt…
I liked the hurt/comfort aspect of the book. Sometimes I am in the mood for a story like this and for theparagraphs like this:
“Pulling the covers up, Dante waited until the tenseness left Rook’s body before moving his arm down to cradle Rook back against his chest. Nearly a minute passed before Rook’s shoulders loosened, and Dante felt rather than heard the soft say when Rook finally let go.”
However everything else pretty much fell apart on me. There is a mystery in this book, which I am not sure what to think about. The good thing was that I guessed the murderer incorrectly – it was not a complete surprise because there were not many suspects, but I was surprised enough. The strange thing was that I was not sure whether the clues were there when I looked back. I really cannot explain it without going into a lot of spoilers and I do not want to do it especially about mystery subplot. I guess the motive was very real and easy to understand, but anybody, absolutely anybody could have had that motive. It felt like “Gotcha”.