Title: Murder and Mayhem by Rhys Ford
Murder and Mayhem Series Book One
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Erotic, Romance, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 236 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author
Murder and Mayhem: Book One
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 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 makes 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.
Murder and Mayhem is the first suspenseful installment in Rhys Ford’s new mystery series, Murder and Mayhem.
Ex-thief Rook Stevens is walking the straight and narrow now he has opened a collectible shop. So when he arrives to find the very dead body of former associate Dani Anderson in his shop, he is at a loss to understand who killed her or why. Despite his prior walk on the crime side, Rook is a genuinely kind, caring and compassionate man who goes out of his way to help those who are less fortunate than he is.
Rook’s relationship with his newly found grandfather, Archibald, is a work in progress. Rook and Archie take great pains to hide the fact that they care about each other and their scenes together are as funny as they are heartwarming. Archie has his grandson’s back no matter what but Rook cannot help but feel great remorse that his grandfather is smack dab in the middle of this increasingly dangerous situation. But Rook is not one to reveal his tender side, so he continues to keep everyone at arm’s length including the cop he has some personal history with, Detective Dante Montoya.
Dante and his former partner worked very hard to build a case against Rook several years earlier, and when their efforts came up empty, Rook became his personal white whale. Never imagining their paths would cross again, Dante does everything possible to ensure he and his new partner, Hank Camden, do everything by the book. However, this plan quickly falls by the wayside when his relationship with their chief suspect crosses over into very personal territory when Rock is very nearly killed.
By this point in the investigation, Dante has very strong doubts that Rook had anything to do with Dani’s death. When the body count continues to rise, he and Hank look to Rook’s past to try to figure out why Rook has been targeted and more importantly, by whom. Rook makes no secret of the fact there was animosity between him and Dani but since he gave up his thieving ways soon after their last job together, he can think of no explanation for her being in his shop. With Rook’s input, Dante interviews someone who gives him a possible motive for everything that has been happening, but has he discovered this information too late to save Rook?
Despite the circumstances of their unexpected reunion, there is no denying the sexual tension that underscores Rook and Dante’s interactions. Dante is a by the book detective who is upfront with both his boss and Hank about their history and he tries to ignore his attraction for Rook. The circumstances surrounding them giving into their mutual desire are a little unrealistic but there is no doubt there is more to their relationship than just sex. Dante is pretty much an open book with everyone and he has no reason to hide his sexuality. Rook’s default is to deflect and deny so he is not exactly onboard with admitting to himself, let alone Dante, that there might be more to their relationship than sex. Will Dante find a way to sneak past Rook’s formidable defenses?
With an intriguing mystery, plenty of action and a colorful cast of characters, Murder and Mayhem is a fast-paced and engaging novel. Rook and Dante are wonderful protagonists and their budding romance is an absolute joy to watch unfold. Their sex scenes are definitely on the steamier side but there is little doubt there is more to their relationship than sexual chemistry. Rhys Ford does an outstanding job with the mystery element of the storyline and the novel comes to a stunning, adrenaline-laced conclusion.