Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Chance Dumont. Marcus Prater. Zachary Carmichael. Wick Templeton. These four men have considered each other brothers, family by choice instead of by blood. They thought they knew everything about one another and they have been through the worst of times with each other. Or so they thought.
Now Wick has disappeared and won’t return their phone calls. And the remaining men are left feeling betrayed and angry over Wick’s absence and the events that caused it. Then the Twins, brothers from Wick’s past, turn up dead, killed in the same manner as other gay young men recently. The man they thought had been arrested for the previous torture and deaths of gay youth is out of prison. Could the killer be the same man who killed the Twins? The killings are starting to look personal, and when a meeting is called at Chances Are, everyone is expected to show, even Wick.
But someone is missing from Chances Are, someone unexpected. And soon its evident that one of their brother’s has been taken by force. Is it the killer? Or someone completely different with their own grudge? The remaining band of brothers must act and quickly before their family is shattered forever.
Four outstanding series, all on Scattered Thoughts Best of 2013, have been leading up to one explosive finale and Odd Man Out doesn’t disappoint! Each series in the Pulp Friction group (Chances Are, City Knight, Triple Threat, and Wicked’s Way) revolve around a strong, charismatic, and densely layered main character. In their own series, each man exhibits a magnetism and strength that sometimes push the other characters in their own series into the shadows. So I was curious as to how the authors would be able to find a balance among such compelling, formidable men. Would one overshadow the others when combined into one book? The answer is no, the men and their stories mesh as seamlessly as you would expect given their back stories and history together.
And when by seamlessly, I mean realistically. Because these alphas can spend their time in arguments, shoving, anger and hurt that is the result of letting others close, especially to this almost hermetically sealed off group of men. As all four series and their main characters collide, each man is in the midst of a personal upheaval caused by the introduction of a new love and partner into their lives. For some like Ben and Marcus, their acceptance of each other has been relatively easy, or as easy as it can get for a member of this tight-knit brotherhood. Chance and Rory, Zachary, Archer and Jeremiah too, have also recently settled into a loving partnership. Only Wick and Ned, well, Wick, is still fighting Ned’s new role in his life in a grudgingly humorous manner expected of Wick Templeton.
So much jostling of roles, so many new men to accept within the tight ranks of family. And it’s not just the original members but Ben, Rory, and Jeremiah who have formed bonds to each other. I love that as much attention has been paid to the links forming between the secondary characters as it has been to the main ones. Each author has kept all the threads of their series taut while weaving them into the other stories and the series finale. It is a testament to how well this group of authors know and like each other that their characters play so nicely and believably with each other.
Each man has some huge issues to work through as they race to save one of their own. And once again, these problems carry with them substantial emotional baggage that each man must examine before the somewhat broken bonds can be reformed between Wick and Zachary, Chance, and Marcus. The anger and hurt these men carry because of Wick’s actions resonate through each conversation and scene. It’s powerful, its authentic and we get it because we have come to believe in these characters and their love for each other. So when they break trust with each other, we feel the anguish as powerfully as they do. The four authors have presented the readers with four rock solid characters and made them real and their stories compelling. How can we not feel as they do?
There is also plenty of anxiety and anticipation to go with the white knuckle suspense of Odd Man Out. As the authors build momentum and suspense into the search for the missing man, we “hear” the thoughts of the captured man and his tormentor interspersed with scenes of the others gathering clues to help them pinpoint who and where their brother has been taken. It’s a heart pounding, pulse racing ride and you will be on the edge of your seat every step of the investigation and hunt.
I won’t give anything away but there are moments of humor and funny asides to go with the thrills scattered throughout this finale. Sometimes it used to alleviate the headache inducing tension that is building, other times it illuminates a man’s character, a means of hiding one’s true emotions behind a facade. Odd Man Out is really such a rollercoaster ride of emotions, events and turbulent relationships, a true E ticket (for those who remember them).
I loved this story and all the series connected to it. I hope this doesn’t mean we have seen the last of Wick Templeton, Chance Dumont, Marcus Prater and Zachary Carmichael. These characters pack a punch whenever and wherever they appear, whether they are together or separately. I have come to love them all and would love to see them again wherever their futures are taking them. They have plenty of stories to tell and I would love to read them all.
The Pulp Friction Series of 2013 are:
Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Way #1)
Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #2)
Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Way #3)
Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Way #4)
Wicked Truths (Wicked’s Way #5)
Odd Man Out (4 series finale, #6)
Chances Are (Chances Are #1)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #2)
Fifty, Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are, #3)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are, #4)
Chance in Hell (Chances Are #5)
Odd Man Out (4 series finale, #6)