A MelanieM Review: A Cut & Run Series Review (Crash & Burn #9) by Abigail Roux

Cut & Run Series Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Crash & Burn coverBook Rating:  5 stars out of 5 for Crash & Burn (Cut & Run #9) by Abigail Roux

In 2008, two authors – Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux – introduced two  complicated and dangerous men to the M/M readers all over.  Little did they know what had been born that day with Cut & Run, the first of nine main stories, multiple side stories and a side series, Sidewinders.

Here is the blurb for that first novel:

A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case. Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He’s cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he’s paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it’s hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliche: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer. Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again – this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer’s knife.”

 It was the first time that Ty Grady and Zane Garrett met and disliked each other immensely.  The glares flared, the snarkCut & Run cover flew, and the action accelerated the antagonism and attraction that sparked between them.  And the readers were hooked! Oh, man, were we hooked!  These guys were so dark, so complicated, so brilliant and charismatic that we had to have more.  Thank goodness, Abi and Madeleine were listening.

Already the comments were piling up and they all were sounding very similar:  “Love Ty, Love Zane, love the lines, the suspense, the action (oh, that action!)   And that was just book one.  Then came Sticks & StonesSticks & Stons cover followed by the amazing Fish & Chips (how I loved those titles).  Yes, just thinking about that book makes me run to start reading it all over again.  Ty and Zane masquerading as a gay couple on the high seas.  Here are a few lines from that memorable book:

Fish & Chips coverFish & Chips Quotes:

“When Ty was truly hot and bothered, it could be an amazing experience, like being mauled by a lion without the fuss of needing stitches after.”
― Abigail Roux, Fish & Chips

“Falling in love or just plain falling : they were both terrifying at any speed”
― Abigail Roux, Fish & Chips

Remembering now?  It was also the first time the L word was mentioned.  What a wild emotional journey that story was! A true leap to love and promise, however temporarily acknowledged, for them both.  This story was memorable for so many reasons and elements.  A large gem in a box full of diamonds.

From there we and Ty and Zane tried to move forward, always an iffy proposition with these two.  Nothing is every easy…its guns, and shootouts and physical trauma to go along with the emotional high stakes that kept pulling us in deeper and deeper.

Divide & Conquer coverThere was  Divide & Conquer (Cut & Run, #4)  which traumatized the heck out of me and kept me clued to the page through every heartbreaking scene.  This was Zane as we have never scene him before and hoped we never would again.  The fear for Zane and Ty was palpable all the way through.  This was also the last book that Madeleine Urban cowrote.  Now Ty and Zane become all Abigail Roux’s and the transition was as smooth as it could be for these two.  Abigail Roux truly made both men her own.  And ours.

Favorite quote: “First time I saw you, after I got over hating you, I knew,” he said, echoing Ty’s words, “I knew I’d fall in love with you”

 Armed & Dangerous coverArmed & Dangerous (Cut & Run, #5)  One of my favorites (ok, they all are, but this is high on a high list).  Ty and Zane separated but brought back together for a case that involves Julian  Cross, an enigmatic assassin?agent?man about crime? Julian is a puzzle that will keep on giving (read Warriors Cross) right up to the end in Crash  & Burn.  Loved Julian!  But it was the development in Ty and Zane’s relationship that made this story sing and resonate so with the readers.  The barriers were breaking down along with our hearts.

Armed & Dangerous Quotes:

“What do you want, MacGuffin, a duel?”
“No.” Julian held out both hands, one palm flat, the other held over it in a fist. “Rock, paper, scissors. Two out of three.”
Ty rolled his eyes and held out his fist, apparently willing to play. Julian hit his palm three times, and Ty kept time with his fist in the air. But when Julian threw a paper, Ty reached into his jacket with his other hand and pulled his gun, aiming it at Julian.
“Ty!” Zane said in exasperation from the front seat.
“Glock, paper, scissors. I win.”
“You are an ass,” Julian muttered.”

“I love you” Ty said, the quiet words devoid of any self-consciousness of his usual bravado. ” And I’ve never been able to say that before with such conviction. I can’t remember a time when you weren’t the first thing I thought of, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I don’t care what stands in our way.” —that noise is me sobbing away

Dine & Dash coverDine & Dash (Cut & Run, #5.5) a cute, free short story is followed by one I consider another foundation stone for Ty and Zane because we travel first to West Virginia and a close look at the Grady clan and its convoluted dynamics and then to Texas for an entirely new perspective on the Garrett family and Zane’s  background.

Of course, I’m talking about…

???????????????????????????????????????Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run, #6).  We had the well deserved calm in their relationship before an emergency blows it all to hell.  We get a determined tiger on the run, a knife throwing game of oneupmanship and so much insight into both Ty and Zane that at times I felt like my heart was bleeding.  But no  that was still to come.  Quotes?  A gazillion of them here but I chose only a few:
Stars & Stripes Quotes:

“I love you,” Ty said out of the blue, his voice almost sing-song.
Zane laughed. “You’re drunk.”
“I loved you before I was drunk.”
― Abigail Roux, Stars & Stripes

“Had a gay bull I had to sell last year. That was a damn nuisance. Gay son? That don’t cost me nothing.”
― Abigail Roux, Stars & Stripes

“She told me to wait,that I was going to lose a finger.” Earl looked toward the kitchen and back at Ty and Duece. He snorted. “I asked her, did she think I was stupid? Then a couple of snips later, whack. Off went the finger. And you know what that woman said to me? I said ‘Mara you cut my finger off.’ And your mother said to me, ‘Well Earl who’s stupid now?”
― Abigail Roux, Stars & Stripes

Yes, I had to end on a laugh.  I love those Gradys no matter what, and that includes Chester and his shovel.

???????????????????????????????????????Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run, #7) brought the boys to New Orleans and confrontations with their past and each others part in it. Never before have I so wanted to hunt Abigail Roux into the ground.  This book just plain hurt.  I cried buckets of tears, wiped out several shelves of tissue boxes and still couldn’t let this story go.  The story was stunning, the reverberation deep, lethal, and perhaps unforgivable.  If this is not the finest story of the group, I don’t know what is.  The writing was remarkable but more indelibly was the impression it left on our hearts and Ty and Zane.

Just one quote because the tears will start flowing all over again.

Touch & Geaux Quote:

“You told me one time that . . . I was your compass. I gave you direction when you were lost,” Ty said, nearly choking on the words. He glanced up, eyes reflecting like liquid in the low light. “Well, you were my anchor. You were something solid for me to hold onto. I wanted you to remember that.”

 Just two more to go and we couldn’t believe that soon it would all be over.  How was Abigail Roux going to pull it all together? There was a mole at the FBI, Ty and Zane weren’t sure who they could trust, their relationship was getting deeper and decisions needed to be made. So of course, Deuce, Ty’s brother, decides to get married on an island off of mainland Scotland.  In a storm.  With murderers on the loose and the targets not defined.  The Sidewinders are present and the air ripe for physical violence, emotional trauma and unforgettable goings on.   It was a wedding, for cripes sake.  Didn’t they know better than to invite Ty and Zane?

???????????????????????????????????????Ball & Chain (Cut & Run, #8), as I said, takes place on a private island in Scotland where Deuce and his fiance, and their child, will be married.  Everyone is along for the celebration and ceremony, including many participants with their own agendas.  Here, a spectacular murder takes place, albeit one that I wished had happened much earlier.  Never liked that man.  Or trusted him.  Roux should have killed him twice.  Not all fans were as crazy about this book as they were others.  Too many  other relationships intruded into Ty and Zane’s in this, the penultimate story.  But really, I don’t see how Roux could have gotten around that factor.  She had one more book to bring it all to a head and other people and their relationships had to be included at this point to make sense of it all at the end.  This book gets much better when you have read Crash & Burn because it fits this story more easily into the whole then when read at first.

Ball & Chain Quotes (more of them because hey, its almost over):

“Zane hurried to catch up. “Wait, Ty, you want to do that with her with us?”

“She’s a year old. She won’t understand death and destruction for at least another year.”

“If we ever decide to adopt, you’re a mute in any interviews.”

― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

“You’ve taken a lot of hits in the last few days, Ty. Let me take this last one for you.”

Ty stared at him, struck breathless, struck speechless. He snaked his arm around Zane’s neck and hugged him tight. He nodded, still unable to speak.”
― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

“Zane sighed. “I was so hoping this would be a normal vacation.”
Ty smacked him on the side of the head. “Don’t use bad words.”
― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

“You let me think I was being stalked by a ghost, you fuck nuts!”
― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

And here we are.  Book 9.  The official series finale, Crash & Burn.Crash & Burn cover  I sort of, really, absolutely hoped this day wouldn’t come but of course, it had to.    At some point Ty and Zane had to come to an ending, no matter how much we wished otherwise.  How was Abigail Roux to end the series?  Ty…oops tie  up all the loose ends?  And finally, make our guys and their relationship whole and as happy as it can get for these two.  And where are the kitties?  Ty needs his kitties.  Who didn’t cry with Smith & Wesson went home to Julian? Huh? Huh?  Nope, Ty needs a furball of his own because they don’t let people have tigers as pets in Baltimore.  I know this for a fact! So how did it all turn out?

Happily, wonderfully, totally satisfyingly kill those bad guys, kiss as though you will love each other forever again two thumbs up.  Or as much as it can be when I really don’t want to say goodbye.  So many people we have come to love over the nine books are present and accounted for. I will miss them too. We learn about the mole, (damn you!),  many  people die, some that you liked, Chester had a wild time with his shovel and, yes, there was another wedding much closer to home.  I wept more buckets, laughed a ton, and reminisced all the way through this story.  And I loved every word of it.

I know we reviewers try to remain objective but with Cut & Run, I just can’t. Ditto Crash & Burn.  Thank you, Abigail Roux for continuing on after Madeleine stopped writing and making Ty and Zane truly your own. For that’s how I think about them now. Thank you, Madeleine and Abigail, for two of the most loved characters out there. Ty and Zane?  What a great ride its been! It’s been eight wonderful, memorable years of love, sex, suspense and action.  What a saga and its one that will remain always high on my to be rec’d list and Best of Lists and Most Memorable Lists and whatever lists you can think of.  I’m betting its all that for you too.  The only thing I can hope for now?  Seeing them again in some of the other stories and hoping that all the books ended up published together in paperback so I can page through, over and over again and remember why I love them so.

So here it is.  The End.  And the final quotes, at least for this post.

Crash & Burn:
“You realize we’re looking at our future, right? Two of us in a retirement home, bitching about our catheters and heated blankets.”
― Abigail Roux, Crash & Burn

“Can I start calling you hubby?”
“Do it and die.”
“Snookums, then.”
― Abigail Roux, Crash & Burn

 and I’ll end it with this one, words that will send me running back to the very first story and start the ride all over again.

“- Some roads to love aren’t easy, and I’ve never been more thankful for being forced to fight for something. I started this journey with a partner I hated, and a man in the mirror I hated even more. The road took me from streets of New York to West Virginia, from the place I born to the place I found a home. It forced me to let go of my past and face my future. And I had to be made blind before I see. (…) I promise to love you until I die. (…) – I promise to never leave you alone in the dark, he whispered.”  
Abigail Roux, Crash & Burn

Here are the books in the order they were written and should be read and their sales links:

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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