Review: Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7) by Abigail Roux

Standard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

???????????????????????????????????????FBI Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have been relegated to desk and PR duties after their last case made them too high profile for undercover work.  With 20 years on the job, Zane is considering retiring and other major  life changing decisions when Ty gets a call from one of his old friends who is in jail in New Orleans. His friend  needs Ty’s help and fast.  New Orleans is the last place Ty should be considering going because of the time he spent there undercover as well as all the memories it holds and not just for him.  For Zane, New Orleans is a city rife with echos from their past.  But for Ty, loyalty is everything and both men set out to rescue Ty’s friend.

From the moment Ty and Zane land in New Orleans, the bodies start to pile up and danger hunts them at every street corner.  Once more Ty’s past has come back to haunt him and now it threatens to kill not just him but all he cares for, including Zane.  But the threat Ty and Zane face in New Orleans is not just physical, but an emotional threat to the heart of their relationship and the trust they hold for each other.

With criminals and the law closing in on Ty and Zane, all the last secrets that had been deeply buried come out. Will both men be able to withstand the resulting emotional and physical explosions or will they see everything they have worked so hard for destroyed.

I fell in love with this series in 2008 with the first release of Cut & Run (Cut & Run #1), then written by Madeline Urban and Abigail Roux.  From the moment we are introduced to Ty Grady and Zane Garrett, the reader knows that here are two characters so complicated, so weighed down with their past and inability to trust anyone other than themselves that if they were ever to get together the resulting fireworks would be memorable and glorious.   It would also take loads of work, painful work to make it happen which is how it occurred over the course of the next several books.  And for every step forward, the authors had our heros take two steps back.  And this intricate ballet happens while Ty and Zane are engaged in various cases that often threaten not just national security but their lives as well.

After the last book, Stars & Stripes, in which we found the pair mostly happy with their relationship and coming out to their families, I knew that such a happy time would be short lived.  There was just too much still happening around them, too many unresolved issues that had been glossed over and now we know why.  Abigail Roux has always struck me as a meticulous planner and researcher.  When her characters go on location, you can bet  Abigail Roux has spent some time there visiting the various locales, jotting down names of bars, streets, and other places her characters have spent time.  Now if she does that for just one book, what sort of planning would she do for a series?  For me, the answer is that the series would see the same attention to detail but on a much larger scale and with the end of the series already in place. In Touch & Geaux, I see elements that demonstrate, at least to me, that some of the events here have been in motion for some time.

It is hard to go into details without giving anything away, but the revelations that explode in this book caught me totally by surprise.  I never would have guessed them in a million years but now that I am thinking about them, the basis for these surprising disclosures start back in Cut & Run and pop up through every subsequent book in the series.  Things I maybe gave less attention to than I should have are now imbued with a deeper, darker meaning, their true purpose clear.  And it all points to some masterful planning by Abigail Roux.

If you are a true fan of Ty and Zane as I am, than just be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster, worthy of at least several boxes of tissues and then some.  If you are truthful with yourself, than you have to admit you knew this was coming.  Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are complicated men with dark, secretive pasts.  Both are very good at keeping secrets, even from each other and the ones Ty has been keeping from Zane will go right to the heart of each others issues.  Issues of trust, truth and self knowledge – it doesn’t get any more powerful than that.  All those things have haunted both men from the very first time they met each other, and have continued to do so for all the two years they have been partnered.  Actually their relationship in all its gritty,slow, painful, and  complex glory has always struck me as one of the most realistic things about this series.  I liked that the slow climb to a romantic partnership was equal in complexity to the men themselves and that a HEA is always in question.

There are things here that might make one scoff or at least pull back in disbelief.  LIke a motor bike ride from hell or a magazine shoot that seems unlikely for the FBI in Washington, DC or Baltimore even, but again we have seen Zane ride like that before, think back to another  wild  Zane ride to the National Aquarium.  And maybe even the FBI can loosen up enough to put out a calendar.  Who knows in these times?  But the real meat and bones of this story are Ty and Zane and their relationship, everything else is almost superfluous. Or enough it seems for me to overlook it on my way to the heart of these men and the status of their lives at any given point.

One of the things I often hear mentioned about the Cut & Run series is the switching POV that happens repeatedly throughout the books.  I know that each author wrote one character, right up until Abigail Roux took over writing the series by herself.  That fact most likely explains the POV changes in the series.  And once that pattern was set for the series it made perfect sense to me that Roux continued to write the books in the same manner in which they were started.  I actually love hearing the thoughts of each man and it has contributed to the  intimate connection I feel with both Ty and Zane that I might not otherwise have achieved.  And that connection is a strong one, attained through outstanding characterization, snappy, memorable dialog, and scenes that have me howling in laughter or in tears, sometimes both at the same time.

This is perhaps the finest book of the series yet, it was certainly a return to the darker, tumultuous times when Ty and Zane were on unstable ground in almost every way.  This book is necessary because it brings back home to us that so much still had to come out, that there was still so much that Ty and Zane had to work through for a real partnership to succeed.  As it was for them, this path is a painful one for us too. But what a journey we are all on together.  I can’t wait for the next book to arrive.

I believe I read somewhere that Abigail Roux has 9 books planned for the series, perhaps 10.  You can go and preorder Cut & Run #8 right now as I  have already done.  Considering how I felt, still feel,  about the end of Touch & Geaux, I needed that promise of a resolution hopefully to come for all involved, including the readers.  So I think I will pass the time by going back to the beginning and rereading the books in order.  I think that with the knowledge I now possess many events will take on an entirely new look and context.  I can’t wait to see what I will find.  In the meantime, here is the buy link for Cut & Run #8.  It is available at a discounted price until April 14, 2013.

The cover by LC Chase is another is a great branding style, the voodoo doll figures prominently in the story. Great job.

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

Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7)

Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run #6)

Armed & Dangerous , #5 –  by Abigail Roux

Divide & Conquer #4, Fish & Chips #3, Sticks & Stones #2, Cut & Run #1 – all of these written by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

And a big congratulations to Stars & Stripes and Abigail Roux. DABWAHA Champions.  Stars & Stripes just became the first ever M/M romance to win the DABWAHA tournament!