A MelanieM Release Day Review: Cops and Comix (Murder and Mayhem) by Rhys Ford

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Rating:  3.75 stars out of 5

 

It’s all fun and games until someone leaves a dead body on the floor.

Life for comic book store owner Alex Martin usually runs to the mundane. Sure, he has a regular influx of geeks and freaks, but for the most part, it’s a familiar weird. That all changes when he opens up Planet X Comics one morning and finds a corpse in the middle of his shop.

When Detective James Castillo is called in to investigate, Alex is torn between wanting to climb the man like a tree and giving him a wide berth. Luckily for Alex, the handsome detective is just as interested in him—as a suspect in the murder.

I love Rhys Ford’s Murder and Mayhem series about former cat burglar Rook Stevens and Detective Dante Montoya.  In that series, one of Rook’s cousin’s and the only member of Rook’s family, outside his grandfather, he is close to, is a man  called Alex.  He and his boyfriend, a detective, not only get mentioned but get pulled into a number of scenes.  Alex just had a way of grabbing your attention and a piece of your heart.

So I was thrilled to see a short story about how Alex met his boyfriend, Detective James Castillo.  I was almost certain Rook played a part in it.  Color me shocked he was innocent….

At 38 pages, this is just cute glimpse into Alex’s life, his Planet X Comics store, and the tale of how he met James Castillo.  It has all the hallmarks of the other stories, including the same quirky, believable characters, wild situations only Alex (or a Rook) could find himself in, and a Detective there to help him (them) out of it.  I only wish for more pages and a longer resolution.  As always with this group, more is advisable!

This is a lovely, cute addendum to the main series.  I certainly enjoyed it.  Any fan of the series and cast of characters will too.  I definitely recommend it.

Cover Artist: Reece Notley.  Cover works great for the story and series.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, Second Edition, 38 pages
Expected publication: November 16th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781644051528
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tramps and Thieves (Murder and Mayhem #2) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Whoever said blood was thicker than water never stood in a pool of it.

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.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: September 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Tramps and Thieves
ISBN139781640800380
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Murder and Mayhem #2
Characters Rook Stevens, Dante Montoya

A MelanieM Review: Murder and Mayhem (Murder and Mayhem #1) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Dead women tell no tales.

Former cat burglar Rook Stevens stole many a priceless thing in the past, but he’s never been accused of taking a life—until now. It was one thing to find a former associate inside Potter’s Field, his pop culture memorabilia shop, but quite another to stumble across her dead body.

Detective Dante Montoya thought he’d never see Rook Stevens again—not after his former partner’d falsified evidence to entrap the jewelry thief and Stevens walked off scot-free. So when he tackled a fleeing murder suspect, Dante was shocked to discover the blood-covered man was none other than the thief he’d fought to put in prison and who still made his blood sing.

Rook is determined to shake loose the murder charge against him, even if it means putting distance between him and the rugged Cuban-Mexican detective who brought him down. If one dead con artist wasn’t bad enough, others soon follow, and as the bodies pile up around Rook’s feet, he’s forced to reach out to the last man he’d expect to believe in his innocence—and the only man who’s ever gotten under Rook’s skin.

With Murder and Mayhem, Rhys Ford rolls out another great series and another set of spectacular characters.  With storythreads convoluted as hell, and characters with pasts as twisted and hard to untie as wet sailor knots,  this is a story you just need to dive into and enjoy for the sexy, wild knuckle ride it is.

Starting with the fascinating character of Rook Martin, a high class thief trying to go straight, Rook has a background as startling as any you’ve might have come by.  I could go into it here by why spoil the pleasures that Ford has in store for the reader and Dante Montoya as he investigates Rook Martin’s background and stumbles into one shock after another.

So many pleasures here.  The characterizations are outstanding.  From the Cuban-Mexican detective Dante Montoya and his Uncle Manny, who I adore, his ginger haired partner Harry,  to the almost tangible heat that builds up between Rook and Dante, pulling them closer and closer until it ignites off the page.  And all the while a killer is loose, stalking a prey across the pages.  And the killer’s identity will keep you guessing right up until the reveal.

This is a marvel of a story.  I loved every minute of it.  The writing is smooth, action packed, vivid and everything I would want (and have come to expect from Rhys Ford, a go to author for me).  Grab this up and get reading.  You’re going to love it.

Cover art by Reece Notley is wonderful and works for the character of the detective

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  on sale now for $0.99| Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 236 pages
Published June 5th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
Original TitleMurder and Mayhem
ISBN 1634762231 (ISBN13: 9781634762236)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Murder and Mayhem #1
CharactersRook Stevens, Dante Montoya settingCalifornia (United States)

Literary AwardsLambda Literary Award Nominee for Gay Mystery (2016)