Monday, May 20, 2013

Grime and Punishment

Author:  Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher URL:
ISBN/BIN: 9781623003111
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Jack Masterson's career as a firefighter ended when he was injured at a fire. Unable to return to the job he loved, he and his cousin Gabe started a job cleaning crime scenes.  It’s a way to still be involved with helping people and one call throws the past right in the face. His old flame Nick Foasberg has committed suicide.

Ryan Halloran tried to help his cousin Nick but couldn’t stop his death. He doesn’t know the entire history between Nick and Jack, so he doesn’t understand Jack’s claim they both need closure. Being a nurse doesn’t prepare him for cleaning up the crime scene but he still helps Jack.

The attraction between Ryan and Jack can’t be denied but when Ryan learns Jack’s secret, he doesn’t know if he can believe they have a future. Can these two men help each other move forward or will they be stuck in the past—apart?

Grime and Punishment is the first release in Z.A. Maxfield’s new series, The Brothers Grime.

While I enjoyed this story, it’s much darker than what I expected from Ms. Maxfield.  Both Jack and Ryan are carrying around some pretty heavy baggage and haven’t been dealing with the emotions that go with them. The author does a nice job of slowly handling these issues and as they do, the tone of the book lightens and seems to pick up speed. The personalities of both men are well developed and snippets of their histories explain the dark and depressing initial tone. Don’t misunderstand me. I wouldn’t change them. I like Jack and Ryan and appreciate their unique storyline. It’s not often an author takes a chance on an emotionally and physically wounded hero, like Jack. Then there’s the crime scene clean-up angle—totally creative and unique—another premise I haven’t seen before.

Surprisingly, despite the high levels of emotions and their pasts, Jack and Ryan getting together works. Yes, I wish their relationship had developed more slowly, especially since Jack had been seeing someone else when the book started. That transition could have been smoother. That brings the secondary characters to mind. Be aware that there are lots of them—I mean a lot, so pay attention. I expect we’ll be seeing more of them again in future releases. Enjoy.

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