A MelanieM Review: A King and a Pawn (Leader Murders #3) by Liv Olteano

Rating:  4.75 stars out of 5

A King and A PawnBert Cooper’s life used to be great, until his sister turned out to be a traitor. Now Bert feels the whole pack looks on him with doubt and suspicion. To prove his loyalty, he volunteers to be the first ambassador at Fey Court, gathering information to finally solve the Leader Murders and punish those plotting against the Council and community. At least, that was the plan….

When Bert meets Sir William Matthew Sims, Court Interrogator, and one hell of a sexy man, life becomes a balancing act. And when the Fey King is assassinated, things become really messy.

Pack politics, fey politics, treason, suspicions of treason…. Bert has to choose between being ruled by his fears or standing up for what—and who—he believes in. And it might just break his heart.

Liv Olteano’s Leader Murders series caught my eye from the first book, A Tooth For a Fang (Leader Murders #1) with its unusual take on the mate bond and its the potential for abuse normally not mentioned in other shifter fiction.  The author runs this theme throughout the two books that follow, throwing in multiple supernatural beings, political plotting and of course, murder mysteries that need to be solved all the way to the end. In each story  there’s a major couple linked heavily to each other in a memorable way.  In the second story A Counselor Among Wolves (Leader Murders #2), we ended with Bert Cooper, the somewhat pudgy beta to the wolf Alpha Weiss devastated by a betrayal and trying to deal with the consequences.  A King and a Pawn (Leader Murders #3)  picks up immediately after the events have taken place.

Bert is one of those characters readers flock to emotionally like geese to water.  He’s vulnerable, full of self doubts, loving, loyal, capable of being so much more than he thinks he is.  He’s overweight but instead of feeling bad about himself, he accepts it.  He likes it in fact…because in truth he will never give up his sweets or the fact the he adores cooking.  The model on the cover?  A perfect representation of Bert Cooper…chef, beta, manny, and werewolf.  Trust me there is no way not to fall in love with this character.  He’s fully fleshed out, anxieties included and watching him fall in love and find his strengths here is such a joy I intend to sit back and read it all over again.

Sir William Matthew Sims?  The Fey Court Interrogator?  Another gem of a character, along the lines of a hard diamond.  The history Olteano has created here for the Fey and the families is nothing short of nightmarish.  And believable as narrated by Will to Bert.  From their initial meeting to all the revelations about Will’s character and background…well, its a stunner.  And I never enjoyed anything more. For Will and Bert to become a couple requires them to overcome not just a Mount Everest of distrust but battles at court and more things then I  can go into here without making some major spoilage noise.  But the storylines are many and rich, you’ll never be bored and there is a sideline with families that hooked me completely.  I really hope Olteano considers revisiting this world at some time to check in on all the couples here to see how they are progressing.

And yes, all the other couples make appearances here as do minor secondary characters.  Plot lines get tied up,  the fat lady sings, true love wins out, and the ending is everything I hoped for and more.  Really I adored this book and series.  If you love shifters, or even if you just love romance, you will too.

Need a new series?  Love romance?  This isn’t a stand alone…so read all three!  I highly recommend them all.  But this is by far my favorite.  Oh, Bert Cooper!  How could Will not fall in love with you!

Cover art by Angsty G is absolute perfection.  Rarely do I say that when it has characters on it but Angsty G’s idea for Bert and Will mesh completely with mine and the story’s.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 234 pages
Published June 17th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163477342X (ISBN13: 9781634773423)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series: Leader Murders  – add to Goodreads here

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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