Rating: 3 stars
Detective Ivan Bekkar is just coming off a drug bust gone terribly wrong when his captain asks him to go undercover on a mission known only to the two of them. Ivan is to report only to the captain while investigating a drug dealer because the captain says there is a mole in their operation giving information to the criminals they are investigating. Already reeling from having to shoot and kill a man during the drug bust and under investigation himself by IA, Ivan still agrees if it means his squad will be safer, including his partner still in recovering from his wounds in the hospital.
Ivan becomes the roommate of the man he is supposed to be investigating, Parker Wakefield, and soon is more confused than ever. Parker Wakefield is young and seems too innocent to be the hardened criminal his captain is portraying him to be. And the closer the two men become, the harder it is getting for Ivan to believe that Parker is part of the Russian mafia drug-trafficking operation. Unable to sleep or eat, Ivan’s own health is deteriorating under the stress of the operation and his own feelings for Parker. Then he finds evidence in Parker’s house that points the finger to Parker being heavily involved in the drug trade, and Ivan must choose between his job and the man he has come to love.
I had throughly enjoyed Cop Out, the first book in this series, so I couldn’t wait to read the sequel. Unfortunately, Cover Up does not come close to achieving the same level of enjoyment I derived by reading Cop Out. And it all comes down to one word – plausibility.
There is very little in this story that comes across as having even the remote possibility of the events being believable. Starting from the idea that a police captain would ask a bloody, brutalized officer to meet with him in his office, then command him to go undercover in an “off the books” investigation that reports only to him? Uh, no. And then that police officer, supposedly one of the best, agrees to undertake this ridiculous mission? Again, no. The rationale offered later on is that Ivan is suffering from PTSD, but that only pops up halfway through the book and in no way mitigates the actions of Ivan and the others who find out from Ivan about the secret detail he is on. In fact all of the police protocol here is on such shaky ground, that I am not surprised everyone was baffled right from the start over all the events that occurred within. The whole framework of the story is implausible from the get go.
The secondary issue I have with the story is one of characterization, primarily Parker Wakefield’s. Basically, he’s nice, he’s young, he’s attractive, he’s a doormat. And I have never been fond of doormats as main characters or romantic interests. Everyone takes advantage of Parker to some degree (his best friend almost whores him out to strange men at his parties). Parker just accepts it and goes on, albeit with some mental complaining. It’s later explained Parker is this way because he was fat as a child. Another instance where the reader is expected to suspend their disbelief. Really, it is one thing after another, A good cop, even one with PTSD, would have realized that Parker has the criminal instincts of a hamster early on. And once his fellow officers were clued into Ivan’s undercover work, even they realized how many rules and regulations were being broken, but did any of them act on it? Not really to any understandable degree that would give the reader satisfaction.
It was nice catching up with the two main characters from Cop Out and they are back in good form here. I did like Ivan, a nice character that had the potential to become terrific. But we are back to plausibility here with Ivan’s character too. In the end, Ivan and his actions, no matter the reason, don’t ring true either. Such a shame.
I like K.C. Burn’s stories. Whether it is Cop Out or her bald lavender hued aliens from the Galactic Alliance series, her stories were always entertaining and enjoyable. So I am going to just look at this as the pass all writers deserve and look forward to the next tale she conjures up. But if I were you, I would let this one go by.
Lovely cover but doesn’t really apply to the story.