Saturday, April 6, 2019

Armed and Dangerous

Abigail Roux
Dreamspinner Press
Reviewed by Nancy
2 out of 5 stars


Left alone in Baltimore after his unpredictable lover bails, Special Agent Zane Garrett takes his frustration out on everything in his path until he is ordered to Chicago to back up an undercover operative. When he gets there, though, he finds himself face to face with his wayward partner, Special Agent Ty Grady. They have to deal with the uncertainty lingering between them while they work to retrieve their intended mark, a retired hit man and CIA wet-works operative named Julian Cross.

Ty, once a marine and now an FBI hotshot, has a penchant for being unpredictable, a trait Zane can vouch for. Zane is a man who once lived for his job but has come to realize his heartbreaking past doesn’t have to overshadow his future. They're partners, friends, lovers, and the go-to team for unusual cases. With Cross and his innocuous boyfriend, Cameron Jacobs, in tow, Ty and Zane must navigate the obstacles of a cross-country trek, including TSA pat-downs, blizzards, their uncooperative prisoners, CIA kill teams, a desperate lack of sleep or caffeine, and each other. Ty and Zane are determined to get Julian Cross to DC in one piece, but it’s starting to look like it might be the last thing they do.

My Review

I think I’m done with Ty and Zane.

In this fifth book of the Cut & Run series, it seems that one half of the author duo is now going it alone. And the other half has absconded with the Ty and Zane I loved in the earlier books.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy that Ty and Zane are now at the stage of their relationship where they have found a happy equilibrium. The problem is, their behavior is so out of character, especially after Ty’s sudden departure in the last book. Forgiveness happened a little too quickly for my liking, and the excessive declarations of love, the “oh, baby’s” and humming by most of the male characters made me want to stick a fork in my eye.

Number of hums
Ty Grady – 10
Zane Garrett – 6
Julian Cross – 5
Cameron Jacobs – 2
Nick O’Flaherty – 1
Richard Burns – 1

These guys are supposed to be badass. Instead, they are sitting around talking about feelings! I miss the verbal sparring and the snarky humor of the earlier books. The action scenes, though, are as ridiculous and unrealistic as always. While I was able to overlook that before, I am unable to do so now.

“Julian struck out at him so quickly it was easy to think it was imagined. He grabbed the gun and pulled the slide, his free hand moving in a flash, and the gun fell apart in Leatherface’s hand. Julian swung at him with the slide, hitting him in the temple and dropping him in a heap.”

This scene confuses me. No matter how scrappy Julian may be, I seriously doubt he would be able to disarm a rogue CIA agent, strip the slide off his pistol and knock him unconscious. If Julian grabbed the gun to pull the slide, wouldn’t the gun be in Julian’s hand? And while many guns may be designed to be quick and easy to disassemble, they don’t just “fall apart” in someone’s hand.

Unlike earlier books where the focus was on the main couple, we are introduced to two new characters, Julian Cross (the only witness to a contract killing) who Ty and Zane must bring to DC in one piece, and his milquetoast boyfriend, Cameron Jacobs.

The lengthy road trip undertaken by these four guys while Julian and Cameron were often restrained was excruciatingly slow. I quickly tired of their banter. I skimmed through the sex scenes, which were drawn out and repetitive. Julian’s cats, Smith and Wesson, were a nice touch. I hope Ty and Zane get permanent custody.

Since I have the next book on my Kindle, I’ll probably read it. But I don’t have high expectations.