Monday, June 18, 2012

The Heart of the Jungle

Title: The Heart of the Jungle
Author: Jeremy Pack
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-61372-462-0
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Mystery, Suspense
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

Life hasn’t been easy for Chris James. His parents died in a car crash when he was young and now seven years later, the relationship with his partner is falling apart.  He doesn’t know how bad life can get until he arrives home to find Michael and their child missing and their house bathed in blood. 

Nearly a year later, Chris is devastated when the police close the investigation for lack of leads. He’s ready to end his life when FBI agent turned PI, Jason Kingsley turns up with some of the answers Chris has been looking for. It takes the two men on a path of deceit, leading them further into danger and teaching Chris the true meaning of fear and betrayal. As Jason and Chris race to save his daughter and discover why she was taken, their lives are threatened… and if they don’t discover the truth, they could both wind up dead. 

The Heart of the Jungle is the first release by new author Jeremy Pack and it’s a winner. Please do be aware that the backbone of the story is a complicated, action-filled murder mystery. If you’re expecting lots of romance and sex, this book isn’t for you. As for me, the story has so much intrigue and danger, and so many twists and turns—it didn’t matter. 

Chris. His life makes you want to cry. Emotionally he’s a wreck and Mr. Pack has done a great job developing and expressing his character. From the opening pages, you can tell that his life is ready to fall apart again and then it only gets worse, pulling you into the story and demanding you turn the next page. Then he meets Jason, who I wasn’t certain I was going to like but over time, I came to understand what made him tick. And he was a good guy—a protective, if flawed honorable man. Putting these two together is many things—unsettling, painful and filled with anger, sorrow and hope. 

The story is well-plotted. Mr. Pack skillfully weaves in the known bad guys but manages to keep me guessing as to the identity of the ultimate villain until almost the end. And let me tell you the personalities of these guys are nasty. All of the various threads work for me, with the exception of the one moment Chris became reckless, endangering his life. It might have pushed the plot forward but it’s not only foolhardy but totally out of character for him. Anyway. The ending is filled with excitement as Chris tries to save his child and Jason tries to save them both and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Watch for Mr. Pack’s next release, To Touch the Stars, coming in October.

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