Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Amy Lane exceeded all my expectations with this series. She’s known for sweet romance and is also the queen of angst. Her humor is fantastic and she’s one of the best storytellers ever. But until this series, she’s not done the action, suspense, and chilling drama that she’s done here. This story, like the first one in the series, was highly complex, horror-filled at times, riveting, emotional (of course!), painfully difficult to read at times, and provided readers with a highly driven team of MCs who literally race against the clock to find and stop a crazed serial killer who happens to be a former cop and has gotten his hands on a fellow female officer.
The main characters are interesting and perfect for each other—the slender-built, introverted attorney (Ellery) who might appear stand-offish or snobby at first meeting to those who don’t know him. But he has a reputation for being highly skilled at defending the underdog, and that was proven in the first book when he successfully helped the firm’s sexy, bad-boy investigator (Jackson) get his brother-of-the-heart out of a murder conviction by finding not only the real criminal but uncovering a ring of murders who rape and torture their victims before killing them. And the worst? They’re cops. That Ellery and Jackson found each other and love each other—though that’s yet to be expressed as of the end of book one—is only icing on the cake.
As with book one, I was totally absorbed in the mystery within the first chapters and completely on board for the romance between Ellery and Jackson. Jackson is as prickly as his mean, snarling cat, Billy-Bob, but Ellery manages to tame them both. In the course of continually pulling Jackson out of scrapes with death and in between trips to the hospital for various injuries he suffers in the line of duty, Ellery learns that the latest victim is Jackson’s mother—the woman who gave birth to him, though she never nurtured him enough for him to consider her his beloved mom. That honor goes to his best friend’s mother who literally pulled him from the hell that was his childhood and saved his life.
Nevertheless, the action is intense and each time there’s a lull or a new lead comes up, a new facet to the mystery appears, and the guys are off and running again. Well, Jackson is off and running and Ellery is attempting to get him back—all in one piece, please.
The fast-paced final chapters and the heartbreaking and heartwarming events and character interactions, including dialogue between Jackson and Ellery’s mom who Jackson refers to as Lucy-Satan, are priceless. Add to that the intrigue that Owens didn’t just pop out as a manic serial killer—he had to have been groomed to the role—and who better to look at than Captain Karl Lacey, the military man who came all the way from Nevada to interview with Ellery, only to turn around and go back without imparting any news. It seems it was more of an exploratory mission of What do you know? than anything else and sets the scene for book three, which will hopefully come out within the next year. Oh and by the way, I finally realized why the names Ace Atchinson and Sonny Daye seemed familiar. Ms. Lane threw these two characters from Race for the Sun out early in this story as either red herrings or key characters in the mystery that will continue to unfold in book three. Can’t wait.
The author also provided four short stories – vignettes of action that takes place between books one and two; stories that originally appeared on her blog. This is a nice bonus read for those who love her work and this series specifically.
If you like action-packed, suspense-filled dramas from a master storyteller, don’t hesitate to pick up this book. It’s much better to read book one first, however, so put the series on your TBR. It’s definitely one of my top picks of 2017.
The attention-getting cover art by Reese Dante features a gold fish in a glass and a knife dripping with blood, both appropriate to the story. It’s also bright and colorful and similar to the cover of book one. Tagline: There’s blood in the water and death in the air.
ebook, 330 pages
Expected publication: August 4th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleRed Fish, Dead Fish
SeriesFish Out of Water #2