Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Retiring from stealing priceless treasures seemed like a surefire way for Rook Stevens to stay on the right side of the law. The only cop in his life should have been his probably-boyfriend, Los Angeles Detective Dante Montoya, but that’s not how life—his life—is turning out. Instead, Rook ends up not only standing in a puddle of his cousin Harold’s blood but also being accused of Harold’s murder…and sleeping with Harold’s wife.
For Dante, loving the former thief means his once-normal life is now a sea of chaos, especially since Rook seems incapable of staying out of trouble—or keeping trouble from following him home. When Rook is tagged as a murder suspect by a narrow-focused West L.A. detective, Dante steps in to pull his lover out of the quagmire Rook’s landed in.
When the complicated investigation twists around on them, the dead begin to stack up, forcing the lovers to work together. Time isn’t on their side, and if they don’t find the killer before another murder, Dante will be visiting Rook in his prison cell—or at his grave.
He’s back! That angst-filled, ready to run, totally addicting thief Rook Martin and the cop that loves him Dante Montoya in Tramps and Thieves, the second story in Rhys Ford’s Murder and Mayhem series. Damn, am I happy about that!
Picking up from the tenuous beginnings of a relationship for himself and Dante amid the broken building of Rook’s business in book 1, Murder and Mayhem, Rook dives headlong into trouble by trying to pull off a prank and ends up falling on a corpse instead. The complications and clues pointing back to Rook being not only involved in the crime but head suspect pile up immediately. That pulls in his boyfriend and local detective Dante Montoya.
And where’s there’s Dante, there is also his wonderful Uncle Manny who now works for Rook, Rook’s crazy rich grandfather who engenders ambivalent feelings of love, hate and more from Rook, all the many other Martins…lazy, losers, haters, a few loving cousins, and a rich city’s worth of characters that flow out of the head of Ford and into this carnival of lies, double twists and turns, smoke games and so much more. I love the way the author keeps us guessing along with Rook and Dante. Ford builds suspense and anticipation into every turn of this murder mystery, there’s so many layers here, made up of pain-filled pasts, twisted family dynamics and more.
But back to the superb characterizations. You can’t choose just one to highlight because Ford has crafted each so carefully. Doesn’t matter whether it’s Dante, or Rook, or Manny or the frightening grandfather. They have an authentic depth to them, they ooze passion and love and fear and yes, intelligence. I believe in these people. You will too.
Finally, Ford give a nod to one of my favorite books (if you haven’t read any of Dashiell Hammett’s stories do so now) and movies (Humphrey Bogart, I’ll say no more), The Maltese Falcon with an element here in the story. Be still my heart. It’s just perfect.
Can you read this as a stand alone? Maybe. But why would you? Go read the first story, Murder and Mayhem and then run and pick up the marvelous Tramps and Thieves. I can’t wait to see where Rhys Ford is taking this series next. It and it’s author are both highly recommended. But if I could put in a word for a romance for Uncle Manny please?
Cover art by Reece Notley. Again its Dante, not Rook on the cover. I miss Rook but he would be a hard character to find a match for. Dante is much more easily matched.
ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: September 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Tramps and Thieves
Series Murder and Mayhem #2
Characters Rook Stevens, Dante Montoya