Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
As former NSA, Dayton “Day” Ingram has national security chops and now works as a technical analyst for Scorpion. He longs for fieldwork and scuttling an attack gives him his chance. He’s smart, multilingual, and a technological wizard. But his opportunity comes with a hitch. His partner, Knighton, “Knight”, is a real mystery. Despite countless hours of research, Day can find nothing on the agent including his first name.
A former Marine, Knight crawled into a bottle after losing his family. After drying out, he’s offered one last chance: along with Day, to stop a terrorist threat from the Yucatan. To get there without drawing suspicion, Day and Knight board a gay cruise, where the deeply closeted Day and equally closeted Knight must pose as a couple. Tensions run high as Knight communicates very little, and Day bristles at Knight’s heavy-handed need for control.
But after drinking too much, Day and Knight wake up in bed together. As they near their destination, they must infiltrate the terrorist camp and neutralize a plot aimed at America’s technological infrastructure. If they hope to have a life after the mission, one that might include each other, they must learn to trust and rely on each other.
Day and Knight by Dirk Greyson was an enjoyable action adventure story, the first in a new series by this author. As I write this review, I am well into the third story, so I can happily report that the series and stories gets better with each novel. I jumped into the series with the audiobook and I’m delighted that I did. It’s an excellent version because Andrew McFerrin does such an incredible job with the narration that he became an automatic buy based on his superb voicing of the story and characters here.
This is the start of a partnership both on and perhaps off the job for two wounded men,Dayton “Day” Ingram and Knighton “Knight:”. At some point we will learn his full name but for most of the stories he is referred to as Knighton or Knight. It’s a cute concept and works well, except that nobody ever makes a crack about their names. Which seems exceedingly odd to me. I think the puns and wise remarks would be flying all over the place but nope, not at all.
Knight has just climbed out of the bottle after losing his wife and child to an assassin, the result of a job he did for the Agency. Day lost his parents when he was young and was raised by his older brother, a fact that left deep marks on him. Both men are marred by loss and grief, neither has moved on completely from their pasts when they are paired together, Day for his first time as a field agent for Scorpion.
Day is here and remains throughout the stories my favorite character. Knight feels the most “hidebound”, least disciplined, and so bogged down that I found it hard to believe that he was the Marine the author said he was. It took a while for the whole Day/Knight combination to win me over. The strength was in the working together on board to piece together the case that helped cement their partnership for me (and them).
The use of a gay cruise both highlighted the strong and weak points of this story. I thought the idea of traveling undercover using a gay cruise great. It was done perfectly by Ty and Zane on Fish & Chips (Cut & Run #3)
by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban. Day and Knight don’t quite live up to that here. For one, Knight is on a loop of guilt about his wife and son. And for every step forward he makes, he takes 20 back, which gets extremely tiresome here. We are supposed to empathize with him but after a while it just gets old.
Day is a delight of enthusiasm, smarts, and sexiness. He’s loving being in the field and eventually wins over his partner in multiple ways.
While the cruise works for many reasons (constant proximity to each other, launching pad to romance, gay identity), the idea of side trips to the ruins and the rest has a great deal of holes. I hate to say more because of spoilers but all that action taking place so close to the ship and within Mexican heritage sites? Well, I think more of the story went towards fast paced action thriller there towards the end and perhaps less on the well pulled together geographical, researched side. On the high side again? Lots of fast paced high action adventure! And another mystery to solve at the end.
This is going to be one of those slow, slow, slow burn romances. Sex is not equating with love here because of tons of guilt and lost family. Remember I said all those steps back, right? And both men are firmly in the closet with their families and at work and intend to stay that way. So Knight and Day aren’t so different after all. It will be a long haul for them both.
Which brings me to….
An element I want to address that bothers me. Not just in this story but appears in the second one as well (yes, I’ve listened to that one too). That’s the consistent use of outdated phrases that are, for the lack of any other term, sexist and demeaning to the women/the female gender. I know that they are/were overused stereotyping phrases heard growing up but to hear them here? Its disappointing and a little shocking. Listening to them come out of the mouth of an excellent narrator made it all the worse because I haven’t heard them in a while. All those “scream like a teenage girl, run like a girl, act like a….” Today if actually said in a crowd would get you stares and maybe an actual “asshole” or two. So what are they doing here in an LGBT series? Is the writer so out of step culturally or so insensitive that he can’t understand why such phrases should not only be left out but decried? Maybe I’m being overly sensitive here but I don’t think so. If you can’t go up to a little girl or teenage girl and say something like this to their face (and I don’t think you can), then it doesn’t belong here. In this book, spoken by LGBT characters who know what its like to be mocked. Maybe in a book, I could have glossed over it, but the narration highlighted it. Here Andrew McFerrin did too great a job.
And yes, that brought my total enjoyment of the story down each time a phrase popped up and I cringed in disbelief.
I don’t remember such glaring sexism in Dirk Greyson’s/Andrew Grey’s other works so I’m at a loss as to why they appear here. It turns out that Dirk Greyson is another name that Andrew Grey writes under, something that was recently brought to my attention. It did surprise me because I know he does research his stories and travels extensively, both of which aren’t really reflected here.
So without those elements, this story would have gotten a much higher rating. I really was into it and then kicked right out again. I liked it enough to head over to the next in the series and the one after that. It gets better. Enough to recommend the first in the series. I definitely recommend you seek out Andrew McFerrin’s other audio narrations. What an outstanding job. I will be doing the same.
Cover art: L.C. Chase. The models work well for the two characters and sets the tone and branding for the story and series.
Listening Length: 7 hours and 22 minutes
Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published April 12th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 4th 2015)
Original TitleDay and Knight
Series Day and Knight :