REVIEW: Kill Game (Seven of Spades Book 1) by Cordelia Kingsbridge
Book one in the Seven of Spades series Homicide detective Levi Abrams is barely holding his life together. He’s reeling from the fallout of a fatal shooting, and his relationship with his boyfriend is crumbling. The last thing he’s prepared for is a serial killer stalking the streets of Las Vegas. Or how he keeps getting thrown into the path of annoyingly charming bounty hunter Dominic Russo. Dominic likes his life free of complications. That means no tangling with cops — especially prickly, uptight detectives. But when he stumbles across one of the Seven of Spades’s horrifying crime scenes, he can’t let go, despite Levi’s warnings to stay away. The Seven of Spades is ruthless and always two moves ahead. Worst of all, they’ve taken a dangerously personal interest in Levi and Dominic. Forced to trust each other, the two men race to discover the killer’s identity, revealing hidden truths along the way and sparking a bond neither man expected. But that may not be enough to protect them. This killer likes to play games, and the deck is not stacked in Levi and Dominic’s favor. Word count: 78,500; page count: 304
Dear Cordelia Kingsbridge,
I had issues with the only book of yours I had read prior to this one (the one that was also published by Riptide), but I remember finding it compulsively readable and deciding to give this one a try.
I think the words “compulsively readable” applies to this story too, or should I say to the beginning of the story, because this is the first of five books I believe. Is it series?
I am not sure and to be honest with you I am very nervous to see whether the writer would be able to keep the tension up for five books. I understand this is just one story in five parts and what will be happening is the development of one investigation of the serial killings and one budding romance.
This is the part where their romance *just started*, strong attraction is there, but Levi just broke up with the boyfriend of three years whom he still has some feelings for and what they had besides attraction and being entangled in the investigation of serial killer is basically rebound sex. Speaking about sex – we only have one sex scene thank goodness, which made perfect sense considering that Levi was just out of the serious relationship and the sex scene started at 73 percent of the story or so, but did it have to be so freaking detailed, almost pornographic really? It was as if the writer was told, or decided on her own to make up for the fact that they were not having sex on every page with the length and explicitness of this one.
Sex scene aside, I really liked both Levi and Dominic. As much as I like the romance where both men are clearly alphas, I always worry that what I get with this type of pairing is GFY trope, and I had been consciously avoiding this one for quite some time now. Luckily, this was not what was happening here, not even close. Levi identifies as gay, we do not hear how Dominic identifies ( gay or bi, or anything else) or if we do, I missed it, except we do know that he does not think of himself as straight and definitely likes men.
I liked that the author kept their initial sniping to the believable amount of page space and a little bit of hostility in the beginning did not last during the whole book. Once they know they can trust each other in the work environment, they do so and I thought on the personal level trust was there too, even if as I said their romance is in the very early stages.
The serial killer investigation is just as important if not more important than the romance. We have the vigilante killer who seems to fancy themselves being able to do what law enforcement could not have done, because they seem to kill people who either escaped punishment or have gotten much lesser punishment than they should have done. That killer also took a weird personal interest in Levi and Dominic – at some point even protecting Levi’s life.
As I said before I was very engaged in the thriller/mystery storyline, but I also think that the killer was glaringly obvious and one major red herring was obvious as well. We shall see if I am correct in the next books.