Rating: 4.75 stars out 5
Series Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Wick Templeton, private investigator and all around pain in the ass, receives an email on his private account that only his friends have. The problem? It’s not from any of his friends, but from that enigma from his last case, Ned Harris. There is a serial killer on the loose, murdering prostitutes and both men are out to stop him. From Ned Harris’ point of view, it’s all about procedure and legality. For Wick Templeton? Not so much. Wick has always done things his way and Ned is about to find that out. As the two mens investigations intertwine, so does their interest in each other. Wick and Ned are playing head games with each other as the killer taunts them from behind a maze of clues.
Who will find the killer first? Or will the killer have the last laugh and turn the tables on Wick and Ned?
Wicked Bindings is the second installment in the Wicked’s Ways series, a series that just gets better by the book. We pick up shortly after Wicked Solutions ends. In that story, Ned and Wick part, each thinking they got their own way in the resolution of that case. As Ned leaves Wick’s office, Wick tells Ned:
“You have no idea what I’m capable of, Ned. Don’t begin a game you can’t finish.”
With these men, a threat is as good as a flirty come on and neither man is very good at resisting either one or each other. This is how it all starts again in Wicked Bindings:
Wick chuckled and turned back to his computer, tuning out his overnight guests’ babblings. He brought up his private email and his curiosity piqued once more; he didn’t recognize the sender. Since he didn’t use this email for anything except his closest friends, it never received any type of spam.
The subject line contained one three letter word: tag.
And with that one word, the game is on once more. There is an investigation into the deaths of several prostitutes that pulls both men in and now they have a murderer to catch. And there will be a clash or two as the sexual sparks fly and their methods of investigation collide on each side of the law.
Without consciously doing so, his hand moved the mouse and his finger depressed the left button when the pointer hovered over that small word.
“Want to come out and play with me again? If you are interested you’ll have to take a turn for the worse, but remain brave and don’t worry—I’ll protect you. Ned.”
So much attitude and characterization is packed into that piece of dialog. Havan Fellows has created two wonderful characters in Wick Templeton and Ned Harris. These men ooze vitality and sex appeal. They are witty with a love a gamesmanship that they deploy at every possible moment and the reader gets to come along and experience the fun and sometimes terror.
In each new book, the author uses the interpersonal interplay between Wick and Ned to reveal more of their characters and their history. Of the two, Ned continues to remain more of an enigma. Wick (and the reader) is not sure exactly what branch of the government Ned works for, and Ned continues his own personal investigation into Wick’s past and circle of friends. Through this approach, Fellows creates a level of tension between the men is not strictly sexual. Is Ned trustworthy? What is his real intensions towards Wick? Friend or foe? As their head games continue, the murder investigation adds another layer of tension and apprehension on top of the existing doubts about each other. It’s a delicious feeling and the reader can’t help but smile while cringing in dread as the men close in on the killer.
Havan Fellows does a tremendous job of creating a scene that contains comedy and terror, both occurring at the same time. It’s a wonderful ploy to keep the reader engaged at several levels. You are laughing even as you fear for the safety of two men you have come to love. And yes, I loved every minute of it. I admit it. I am addicted to Wick and his Wicked Ways. You will be too.
These are short stories, under 50 pages or so. And while these are quick reads, they all have the feel of a much longer story. The end is wrapped up nicely while still leaving us with a clue to the continuing growth in the relationship between Ned and Wick. The book did not leave me wanting, while the two men made me crave so much more. Like a certain food item, you can’t have just one. You want more, so much more.
Havan Fellows has promised that the mysteries will continue with more of Wick and Ned past these four books. That’s a promise to cheer about. If you are new to the series, start with the first book, Wicked Solutions and work your way forward.
Here are the books so far in the Wicked’s Ways series. Read them in the order they were written and released in order to understand the characters and the developing relationship:
Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #02)
Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Way #03)
Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Way #04)
Cover art by Laura Harner does a good job of branding the series while losing the opportunity to make a great pulp fiction cover.